Alumni Services

Roland Gulliver

Roland Gulliver, Programme Manager for the Edinburgh International Book Festival, talks Medieval Poetry and wandering from Charlotte Square Gardens to the Royal Mile.

Name Roland Gulliver
Degree Course MA Hons English Literature
Year of Graduation 1999
Roland Gulliver

Your time at the University

I already had friends in Edinburgh and they seemed to be having a great time! I grew up in Glasgow but wanted to study away from home so Edinburgh was perfect.

I really enjoyed it my time at the University. It was an amazing four years of discovery. It wasn’t without its ups and downs but I had lots of fun, made lots of friends who I still keep in touch with after all this time. Basically, I got to read books for 4 years, that was a pretty special thing.

My favourite lecturer would be a tie between Ronnie Jack teaching medieval poetry and Randall Stevenson teaching Thomas Pynchon, and favourite memories include the city on a bright crisp sunny morning; drinking with friends and staying up far too late; reading books and discovering authors I had never heard of but who then changed my life!

Tell us about your Experiences since leaving the University

When I left University I went to work in Belgium for the British Council. Initially for work experience but then as an event organiser. I went for six months and stayed for six years! The last 3 of those was as Arts Manager for the British Council.

When I moved back to Scotland, I worked for a year creating the Glasgow Programme for the Six Cities Design Festival and in 2007 became Programme Manager at the Edinburgh International Book Festival.

At the time I graduated I don’t think I fully realised what I had learnt whilst at Edinburgh. It was only in the following years that I realised the extent of the creative and critical skills I had learned; alongside the intellectual knowledge.

I think I am most proud of the fact that I have a career that is linked to what I studied and because of my studies I have been able to work with great people on a range of inspiring projects. Producing the Book Festival each year is immensely rewarding, to create 18 days of events where thousands of people are inspired and entertained is quite mind blowing!

I work in Edinburgh but one of my favourite things to do is to walk from my office in Charlotte Square Gardens through Princes Street Gardens and up the side of the Castle on to the Royal Mile. To have so much green space and history in the centre of the city is amazing. And I love, when you reach the top, that you can see out of the city to the sea.

Alumni wisdom

Don’t worry, enjoy it, make the most of it. If you are doing English Literature, read as much as you can, those books are important!