2011 Creative Writing graduate Rachel Wood started Rare Birds Book Club - a book subscription service and online book club that focuses on women writers and protagonists.
MSc Creative Writing
|Year of Graduation||2011|
Your time at the University
I'm from Canada, but have family in Scotland - even as a child, I loved visiting Edinburgh and knew I wanted to spend more time here. So coming to the University of Edinburgh was kind of a no-brainer for me when it came to choosing a place to study. It was a world-class school in an amazing city and the programme was a great fit for me.
Being surrounded by other people who cared about the subject as much as I did and who could challenge and encourage me was a great feeling. I have many good memories of our workshops - sweating it out while everyone gave you their feedback - and then after class going over to Teviot and spending the rest of the day chatting and debating.
Your experiences since leaving the University
A degree in Creative Writing is a funny thing - I think many people assume you'll go on to be a writer or novelist, but there's actually so many ways you can apply what you've learned to your work.
I started Rare Birds Book Club - it’s a book subscription service and online book club that focuses on books written by women and featuring female protagonists. I found something that's exactly in my element. I'm reading all the time and recommending books I really love to people, and surrounded by others who love reading and writing, too. There's a lot of writing involved in this job, too - I'm writing reviews of the books and lots of other materials for the website and beyond.
I can honestly say that without coming to the University of Edinburgh none of this would have been possible. First of all I started the business in Edinburgh because I fell in love with the city so much I just never left. The skills I gained from the Masters course - reading critically, writing, thinking about the value of stories and storytelling - all that goes directly into what I do now. I would have never had the confidence to do it otherwise.
I found something that's exactly in my element. I'm reading all the time and recommending books I really love to people, and surrounded by others who love reading and writing, too.
Try everything! I probably received that advice when I first started university and it's exactly the kind of thing you might ignore because it's so simple. But it really is the best advice.
There's no better place to just try things you're interested in. It's a safe place to pursue your interests and a great place to make mistakes (both in and out of the classroom!).
You learn so much both from the things you try that work but also from the things that don't work. At the time, all the little things I was doing and trying didn't feel important - but looking back now I can see how many of those things helped me get on the path I'm on today.
Rare Birds Book Club (external link)