Studies inspire English graduate's book launch

More Below
An English degree at Edinburgh Napier can be a springboard to getting your book published – that’s what undergraduate Andrew Barr discovered during his studies.
Andrew chose the English & Film degree because of the diversity of subjects involved in the course, so he was able to pursue his interests and develop both his knowledge of literature and current affairs as well as his writing skills.English & Film graduate Andrew Barr

He graduated from Edinburgh Napier in July 2014, mere months before the historic event of the Scottish Independence Referendum. His interest in the events as they unfolded inspired him to write a book about the experience, which was picked up by a publisher and released two years later.

Looking back at his journey from student to published author, Andrew reflects how his undergraduate studies helped propel him to achieve his goal.

“Writing has always been my passion and studying at Edinburgh Napier gave me the drive and understanding to pursue it after graduation,” he said. “The English & Film course first appealed to me because of the diversity of subjects involved. I was particularly interested in the emphasis on broader cultural studies as a way of grounding literature in its political and social contexts.

“The course is also quite flexible and gives you the freedom to pursue your own interests, especially in the final two years. There are some really fascinating module options. I particularly enjoyed Post-colonial Fiction, the Twentieth-Century Scottish Novel and Cities Real & Imagined.”


My time at Edinburgh Napier helped nurture a broad cultural understanding which I believe can be applied to many avenues and vocations, and I’d certainly recommend the course to prospective students.”

Andrew Barr

English & Film graduate

Graduating only two months before the Scottish Independence Referendum, Andrew was then surrounded by inspiration for his writing.

“It was a really exciting time for young people to get involved with the world around them and I think my studies at the University contributed to my curiosity for new ideas, my critical faculties and my understanding of current affairs in the cultural context”, he said.

“My studies in Scottish literature in particular grounded me in the knowledge I needed to understand events as they were unfolding across the country and I completed my studies by writing a dissertation on the poetry and politics of Hugh MacDiarmid. I also enjoyed the literature we studied from all corners of the globe, charting many different struggles and experiences through theory, novels and poetry.”

Andrew’s book, ‘Summer of Independence: Stories from a Nation in the Making’ was published in 2016 and he was pleased to discover he still had the support of Edinburgh Napier after graduation.

“I was delighted when the book featured amongst The Scottish Review of Books’ picks of the year,” he said. “It was great to see one of my lecturers turn up to the book launch even though it had been two years since I’d left the university. I think that’s a good example of the kind of support and encouragement you can find at Edinburgh Napier.”

Now, Andrew is focusing on new projects and believes that other students can follow in his footsteps with a degree in English.

“I’m currently working on a new book which I hope to see published in the coming years,” he said. “My time at Edinburgh Napier helped nurture a broad cultural understanding which I believe can be applied to many avenues and vocations, and I’d certainly recommend the course to prospective students.”