Award-winning journalist Melanie Reid MBE is the writer of Spinal Column, a weekly column about life as a disabled person following a horse riding accident. She shares her memories of happy times spent in a beautiful and mysterious Edinburgh as an undergraduate studying English Language & Literature.
MA Hons English Language and Literature
|Year of Graduation||
Your time at the University
I came to Edinburgh in the 1970s. Cold, austere, dark, Presbyterian Edinburgh, where the pubs only served half pints to women and shut at 10.30pm, and the pavements were not crowded year-round with tourists.
I’ve never been happier; and I felt so lucky living in such an architecturally beautiful, mysterious city.
I came to Edinburgh in the 1970s. Cold, austere, dark, Presbyterian Edinburgh, where the pubs only served half pints to women and shut at 10.30pm…I’ve never been happier.
Tell us about your Experiences since leaving the University
What a springboard Edinburgh University offered, though of course I took it for granted at the time. In 1980, I was offered three graduate schemes on the university milk round: trainee saleswoman with Gillette Razor Blades; trainee production manager with lingerie firm Loveable Bras in Leighton Buzzard; and a place on Mirror Group Newspapers (MGN). (This despite never having had anything to do with student journalism – I must have bluffed well on the application form). You can maybe guess which I accepted. Before I started with MGN I was also offered a place on the Scotsman scheme (these were the days when it was a prestigious national newspaper) and I decided to stay in Scotland.
Over the years I held senior editorial posts on the Scotsman, the Sunday Mail and the Herald and in 2007 became a writer and columnist for The Times. In 2010 I fell off my horse at a jump and broke my neck, since when I’ve charted my life in Spinal Column in The Times’ Saturday magazine.
I was Scottish Journalist of the Year and Columnist of the Year in 2010, UK Columnist of the Year in 2011 and in 2014 won the Edgar Wallace Award for Journalism and an Editorial Intelligence Comment Award. In 2015 I was awarded an MBE for services to journalism and disabled people.
Life is far, far shorter than it seems. Don’t put off doing stuff.