Creative Writing Students Spend Summer in Scotland

Photo of Creative Writing students in Scotland

This summer, 18 creative writing students from Eastern Kentucky University joined Edinburgh’s rich history of literature as participants of the Master of Fine Arts in Creative Writing Program’s 2011 Summer Residency.

Literary legends such as Sir Walter Scott, Robert Louis Stevenson, and J.K. Rowling have made Edinburgh, Scotland, one of the premier literary destinations in the world. Edinburgh is also home to an international festival of books and has been designated by UNESCO as its inaugural City of Literature.

During the month-long residency, students lived, attended workshops, and wrote within the facilities of Napier University, located in the heart of Scotland’s capital. In addition to their coursework, students experienced an array of cultural events such as castle and literary tours and nightly readings at the infamous Voodoo Rooms in the company of local and international writers.

Previous summer residencies were held in San Miguel de Allende, Mexico, and according to Program Director Dr. Young Smith, the experience in Edinburgh was so positive that EKU students will be returning next summer.

Bill Mullen, an English lecturer at EKU and MFA student said: “Edinburgh is the perfect new location for the summer residency. It's like a castle town, and it seems to be designed to inspire writers, whether they are inspired by history, culture, scenery, or by being in a place that loves and respects writers and writing. As an example, a monument to Sir Walter Scott towers over much of the city. Add the welcoming cool weather in the middle of summer, the castles, and the cathedrals and I would say that I certainly had a memorable and productive experience.”

The MFA program at EKU is unique among the dozens of other graduate creative writing programs around the country. All coursework is online, but the workshops (where students discuss and critique one another’s writing under the guidance of faculty) are held live using state-of-the-art online conferencing technology. This approach combines the best of distance learning with the intimacy of a real classroom experience. Applications for 2012 are being accepted now. Visit www.english.eku.edu/mfa for more information.

Published on August 17, 2011