We learn more about five alumni authors from a range of subject backgrounds and writing genres: from non-fiction and popular science to mystery novels.
Many paths to becoming a writer
This month's featured alumni are all published authors, but they've each taken a different path to arrive at this point.
Ronan Ryan's MSc in Creative Writing was a catalyst for improving his skills, whereas Elizabeth Mundy took writing classes on holiday, years after graduating in English Literature.
As for Bill Hare, Natalie Starkey and Peter-James Miller, it was their respective expertise in art history, comets and veterinary medicine that led to writing books.
Elizabeth Mundy began writing creatively not during her English Literature degree, but on a yoga holiday years later with the encouragement of Stephen King's UK editor.
I absolutely loved my degree: it not only changed how I read books, it also changed how I viewed the world. The lecturers were fantastic, the books varied and stimulating and the literary theory fascinating.
Adventurous fieldwork trips and a supportive supervisor were a highlights of Dr Natalie Starkey's PhD studies. She's now working as a science communicator and has published her first popular science book, Catching Stardust.
[My supervisor] even persuaded me to take a few months break from my PhD to work as a volcanologist on the tiny Caribbean island of Montserrat for two months. This was an experience I will never forget; active volcano monitoring by helicopter is an opportunity not to be missed.
Having attended university as a mature student, Bill Hare has since carved out a varied career in the arts involving exhibition curation, teaching and writing on Scottish modern and contemporary art.
As an Edinburgh working class lad in the 1950s I had no academic ambitions at school, so it came as a bit of a surprise to my family and friends - as well as myself - when I finally got to University in 1972.
During his MSc in Creative Writing, Ronan Ryan found it both comforting to be surrounded by people who shared his obsession and fascinating to hear perspectives shaped by a variety of backgrounds.
The course gave me a much-needed shot in the arm and, by the end of it, I was a stronger reader, editor, and writer.
New York native Peter-James Miller is grateful for his veterinary education. Having been in private practice in Florida for almost 19 years, he has recently published his first novel, which draws on his career.
I have always toyed with the idea of writing a book, and last year I finally published my first novel: “Cute Poodles, Sweet Old Ladies, and Hugs.” It’s a comedic look at my veterinary journey, as well as interesting cases and clients.