Meet our Writer in Residence 2019-2021
Tracey S. Rosenberg chats about sharing her writing expertise with students across the University, and about why Edinburgh is such a great place for creative writing.
Dr Tracey S Rosenberg joined the School of Literatures, Languages and Cultures (LLC) as our Writer in Residence in September 2019.
A writer of both poetry and fiction, Tracey’s publications include The Girl in the Bunker (Cargo, 2011; Italian translation, Atmosphere Libri, 2017) and the recently-published poetry collection Secondary (Red Squirrel Press).
As a former Fulbright Scholar in creative writing, the recipient of a number of prizes - including a New Writers Award from the Scottish Book Trust - and of three grants from Creative Scotland, she brings a wealth of knowledge and expertise to her two-year role, which involves student mentoring (including the From Arthur’s Seat team), co-ordinating our Visiting Writers Series, running our annual writing prizes, and more.
Speaking about why she decided to apply for the role, Tracey says: “One of the most appealing things about the post of Writer in Residence is that it’s a very informal position. I don’t do any teaching, but I interact with students on a daily basis [when on campus; the role is part-time] and get to work with students from all across the University.”
“One of the great things about it is that it’s a two-year position, and that way the University can get different people in with different ideas.”
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Keeping things fresh
As part of Book Week Scotland, the Scottish Book Trust’s annual week-long literary celebration, Tracey welcomes her second Visiting Writer - the historical novelist Elizabeth Wein - to LLC for an ‘in conversation event’ on Thursday 21st November 2019.
As the Visiting Writer Series co-ordinator, Tracey can select writers whose work she admires and from whom our students can glean valuable inspiration and advice by way of readings, question-and-answer sessions, talks, meetings, and workshops.
She explains the benefits of the Series as “a way to keep things fresh; it’s not just the same writers you’re always going to see around Edinburgh.”
“The students have the ability to talk to, and hear, new voices and get more opinions on what it means to be a writer, advice on how they should be doing it… so there’s a nice kind of cross pollination that’s possible”.
Yes, you can
Tracey is passionate about the importance of the office hour, wherein students can drop in to see her on campus to discuss all things creative writing.
Regardless of whether they’re writing for assessment, for external publication, or simply pleasure, students can approach her to bounce ideas around, receive informal feedback or get other advice.
“In some cases, it’s not about the actual writing at all, sometimes it’s just needing someone to say yes, you’re allowed to be a writer, you’re allowed to do this”.
“Whether that’s a voice in your head, or the people in your life… Sometimes it’s that mental barrier that just needs someone else to be able to say no, it’s OK, if that’s what you want to do, go ahead and do it. And here are some things to think about…”.
A wonderful plethora of opportunities
Tracey first came to Edinburgh to do a PhD in English Literature but stayed for the creative writing community, as well as the city's beauty and walkability. In her time here, she has worked as a tutor (English and Scottish Literature, and our former online MSc in Creative Writing), a Research Assistant on the Carlyle Letters project, a Student Support Assistant for the Student Disability Service, as well as for the Edinburgh International Book Festival and Blackwell's bookshop on South Bridge.
She feels that, as a city, Edinburgh can sustain the huge number of literary events it has on, sometimes simultaneously; “it has that many writers, and that many people interested in writing. There’s such a wonderful plethora of opportunities here”.
“The University itself is amazing, the English department is remarkably strong [and] the Creative Writing team is great… there’s a real depth of experience.”
“It’s just such an amazing city for creative writing that, at this point, I couldn’t imagine living anywhere else”.
Are you interested in Creative Writing in LLC?
Based in the first UNESCO World City of Literature, our one-year, full-time taught masters programme is tailored towards your practice in either fiction or poetry. Highlights include our annual industry event, The Business, and lots of opportunities to share your work, including ‘From Arthur’s Seat’ and a range of writing awards.