Doctor Who Writer Takes up University Post

The man who brought Doctor Who’s most famous foe back to the small screen is to become writer-in-residence at Edinburgh Napier University.

Robert Shearman, who memorably reintroduced the Daleks to the BAFTA-winning first series of Doctor Who starring Christopher Eccleston, will take up his post in September.

The multi-award winning fantasy writer will provide advice to students on the University’s groundbreaking MA in Creative Writing course as part of the role, which was previously held by Scottish novelist James Robertson.

Shearman has successfully worked as a writer for television, radio and the stage, and was formerly the resident writer at the Northcott Theatre in Exeter.

His ‘Dalek’ episode for the hit BBC sci-fi show – which gave the intergalactic despots the power of flight – was nominated for a Hugo Award, while he has also made award-winning contributions to the Doctor Who audio range.

The London-based writer, who will spend an average of two days a week at the University, has published two acclaimed collections of short stories, Tiny Deaths (2007), winner of the World Fantasy Award for Best Collection, and Love Songs for the Shy and Cynical (2009), winner of the British Fantasy Award.

His third collection, Everyone’s Just So So Special, will be launched later this week, and he will be working on his debut novel while in post at the University.

Edinburgh Napier’s MA in Creative Writing course embraces science fiction, fantasy, horror and crime writing and was the first in the UK to offer a specialist module in writing for graphic fiction. It also eschews traditional workshop-based teaching for one-to-one mentoring and has piloted a unique reader-in-residence post.

Mr Shearman said: “One of the hardest parts about writing is the isolation. The sense of 'so what?' that creeps over you every time you stare, alone, at a blank computer screen. What the students at Edinburgh Napier are offered is a sense of community, an answer to that 'so whattery’.

“I'm just as plagued by that as anyone else, and whilst my post as resident writer will mean I can encourage fellow writers, I can't wait in turn to be encouraged by them, to find a new context to my prose and scriptwriting, and to bounce off their enthusiasm. I feel enormously honoured to be attached to such a wonderful course.”

The programme is run by former literary agent Sam Kelly and acclaimed screenwriter and author David Bishop, a former editor of UK comic 2000AD.

Ms Kelly said: “We’re incredibly excited to have Rob joining us as writer-in-residence. We’re firm fans of his work, and his love of genre fiction, enthusiasm for experiments and professional success across a whole range of narrative forms make him the perfect match for our unique course. 

“With the influence of his boundless creative energy, this is definitely going to be a memorable year for us and our students.”

The writer-in-residence post at Edinburgh Napier was created in 2010 after funding from The Binks Trust and is a 12-month appointment.

Contact: Patrick McFall
Phone: 0131 455 6314