Alumni Services

Russell Jones

The UK’s first Pet Poet Laureate, Dr Russell Jones, is a two-time Edinburgh graduate. Working as a writer and editor, he has published five collections of poetry and three writing anthologies to date.


Russell Jones


MSc and PhD in Creative Writing

Year of Graduation 2007 and 2014

Your time at the University  

UK Pet Poet Laureate 2018-19 Russell Jones reads to a kitten.
Russell Jones is the UK's first Pet Poet Laureate. Photo courtesy of Blue Cross.

I came to Edinburgh to study creative writing, having just finished working in Japan. It was so beautiful that I never left! Edinburgh’s thriving literary communities, well respected university and literary festivals made it an ideal home for a writer.

Your experiences since leaving the University

Since finishing my PhD I have been working full time as a self-employed writer and editor. I have published five collections of poetry, written four novels and a novella, and found a literary agent. I edit Scotland’s only sci-fi magazine, 'Shoreline of Infinity', and run monthly sci-fi live events. I have edited three successful writing anthologies: 'Where Rockets Burn Through – Contemporary Science Fiction Poems from the UK', 'Umbrellas of Edinburgh – Poems and Prose Inspired by Scotland’s Capital City', and ‘Multiverse: an international anthology of science fiction poetry’.

I am the UK’s first Pet Poet Laureate. This involves writing 10 pet-themed poems over a year, helping to promote the positive impacts of pets on our human lives. The first poem, 'A Tempest' was inspired by a cat (Ella) and her kittens. Ella was abandoned but her kittens were rescued by pet charity Blue Cross, and eventually they were all reunited. I was interested to find out that 'Ella' actually means 'beautiful fairy' and so I was reminded of Shakespeare's 'The Tempest' and all those cast-aways seeking better lives.

Alumni wisdom

Aside from study, allow Edinburgh to influence you with its cultures and histories. It’s one of the greatest cities in the world, so don’t restrict yourself to the back room in the library.

Poem for World Veterinary Day 2019

To help the University's Royal (Dick) School of Veterinary Studies mark World Veterinary Day on 27 April 2019, Russell wrote a poem highlighting the importance of animal vaccination.

Read the syringe-shaped poem entitled 'In Human Sanctuaries' below or view the transcript at the end of the page.


'In Human Sanctuaries', a poem by Russell Jones
'In Human Sanctuaries' by Russell Jones, 2019.

Poem transcript

In Human Sanctuaries

stick to the point

of a needle, shrill tip,

quick nip, longer story:

declining dog – raging, slathered, distempered

feeble feline – crimson eyes, tainted milk, hard to breathe

hoarse horse – unstable, lock-jawed, equine sneeze

parasites bucking

guts like broncos

hypodermic cattle

calves, kids


spine arch


eye roll




to see


of fish


serene &


bird brains

bright &




& fields











a part

of this system

& solution

Related links

Russell Jones's blog (external link)

MSc in Creative Writing

PhD in Creative Writing

The Royal (Dick) School of Veterinary Studies

PhD Horizons Careers Conference - 17 June 2019