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Being involved in Edinburgh's literary scene

We talk to MSc Creative Writing student, Sonali Misra, about her experiences of the programme and her literary projects.

Sonali Misra has been involved in a range of literary projects during her time on our MSc in Creative Writing.

As well as serving as this year's Editor-in-chief of the annual anthology, 'From Arthur's Seat', she has also co-founded a new online literary journal, The Selkie. 

In this interview, part of our Spotlight on Creative Writing, Sonali talks to Róisín MacFarlane (Web, Communications and Social Media Intern) about her motivations behind applying for the programme.

She also reflects on her experiences of working on differing literary platforms, and how her studies have influenced her. 

'Creative writing is a passion of mine'

Reflecting on her decision to study the MSc programme, Sonali says: "I've always wanted to study in the UK and creative writing is a passion of mine. Obviously this university is really well reputed - so is the course - and Edinburgh is a great place to be involved in the literary scene."

In addition to her studies, she has been involved in several extra-curricular writing and literary projects throughout her time on the programme. 

"I’ve undertaken quite a few projects this past year, but the highlights were being the Editor-in-chief of 'From Arthur’s Seat', and having my story ‘A Crack in the Wall’ published in it, co-founding The Selkie and interviewing the publisher of Scholastic India and the CEO of Hachette UK for it, and receiving payment for the first time for my writing by having my story ‘What She Is’ published in Scholastic India’s #Horror."

A photo of MSc Creative Writing student Sonali Misra
Sonali has had her work featured in both print and online publications.

"Although I’ve worked in publishing before, 'From Arthur’s Seat' was the first time I managed every aspect of a book, from commissioning the pieces, managing an entire team of editors and liaising with the publisher, to organising a cover-art-designing competition in Edinburgh College of Art (then working closely with the winner), organising the launch at Blackwell’s, and helping set up book sales."

"I believe I operated in the manner of a small publisher, and thus learnt more about the business and process. It was also the first time I got a chance to put together a book with such diverse writing - we had contributions from writers from multiple countries and I worked with a diverse group of editors as well.”

"The Selkie was co-founded by my classmates and I, and I believe the reason they wanted to work with me was because they’d seen my work on and passion for 'From Arthur’s Seat'. The co-founders are diverse – Cuban-American, Pakistani-British, Scottish, and Indian – and this reflects in the spirit of our online literary journal."

"We want to provide a platform to voices that don’t receive the chances those from privileged sects of society do, and prove that good literature can be found in these marginalised spaces as well. We’ve been online for about a month and have already received some great feedback, and are excited about the various projects we have planned for the future."

'The course has inspired me'

Since beginning her MSc, Sonali has been both encouraged and challenged by the range of experiences she has had. 

"The course has given me structure, I believe, and it's inspired me to put out my work more often.  So I do send my work for submissions whereas I was not that confident regarding that before."

"My confidence gained a boost regarding both my knowledge of publishing and my own creative writing skills. I could be a bit shy approaching strangers before, but now I believe I can talk to just about anybody and make them feel at ease as well.

"What I found most rewarding was standing in front of a packed Blackwell’s and talking about 'From Arthur’s Seat', hearing everyone’s positive feedback about the book and seeing my classmates’ own excitement at having their work out in the world."

"I believe in making the most of every opportunity that comes my way. While I took on too many responsibilities this past year, and as a result scrambled about a lot of the time, I don’t regret it one bit. Feeling creative and productive, like you’re putting something worthwhile out there in the world, is one of the best feelings ever. And I would do it all over again."

Are you interested in Creative Writing in the School of Literatures, Languages and Cultures?

Our Creative Writing community is currently comprised of postgraduates studying on campus and online, though we will be moving to on-campus only from 2020. Highlights include our annual industry event, The Business, and lots of opportunities to share your work, including the online showcase and ‘From Arthur’s Seat’ anthology.

Find out more about our MSc in Creative Writing

Related Links

Visit The Selkie website

Order 'From Arthur’s Seat' on the Egg Box website

See contributors to 'From Arthur's Seat' read extracts from their work on Facebook