Whether it’s publishing their own books, organising a charity drive for homeless readers or launching a university-wide reading event, our students are always in the middle of the action when it comes to publishing.

For two years in a row the Masters students have encouraged their peers across the University to take part in the Napier Big Read, which sees hundreds of free copies of a chosen book distributed across campuses to get staff and students alike discussing the same book, sharing insight and bringing people together.

It started in 2016 with Matt Haig’s novel The Humans. The following year, Edinburgh Napier students took the event to the next level by choosing Detective McLevy’s Casebook – a book they published themselves!

Hundreds of free copies of Detective McLevy’s Casebook were distributed around the University today. The collection of short stories is based on true crimes investigated by Detective McLevy, who is credited as being the real-life inspiration for Arthur Conan Doyle’s Sherlock Holmes.

Avril Gray, programme leader of MSc Publishing, said: “I’ve been working at Edinburgh Napier University for some time and what continually strikes me is how this University really celebrates the work and achievements of our students.

“Other students are getting the chance to read it, to discuss it, and to use it to shout about the great work they are doing. I’ve loved making new connections with other staff and students, and finding out about what students on other programmes are achieving.”

Sarah Marks, MSc Publishing student and Napier Big Read communications manager, said: “The Napier Big Read is an incredibly rewarding project for us to be involved with. It offers us a chance to put our learning into practice and explore different roles in the industry.

“The whole team is really excited to be able to finally share this great book with students and staff. We hope Detective McLevy's Casebook gets people talking and helps to foster a sense of community across the university.”

We are truly amazed by the number of donations from students and staff. Their generosity shows how giving unites us all, and there's something very special about giving a book.

Avril Gray

Programme Leader, MSc Publishing

The Napier Big Read event also saw students get involved in a book campaign for a local homeless charity. They organised a donation drive in aid of streetreads, an Edinburgh charity aimed at giving books to homeless readers. Kind-hearted staff and students from Edinburgh Napier placed their old books in collection stations across the University campuses in Sighthill, Merchiston and Craiglockhart, donating almost 1,000 books for the cause.

After the collection, streetreads founder Rachel Cowan visited the Merchiston campus to pick up some of the books and was delighted by the effort.

"This is a wonderful amount and we are incredibly grateful for the donation," she said. "All of the students who kindly helped organise this - and of course, Avril Gray - are to be commended for their enthusiasm and generosity. Our homeless readers will benefit a huge amount from this project."

Rachel went on to explain how important the project is and said: “It began when a homeless girl who I was supporting a bit told me that books sometimes are more precious than food. It astonished me. I asked her to introduce me to some of the homeless guys and discovered that lots of them were readers. 

“I’m told and I’ve seen with my own eyes that it’s a terribly important thing. A book is solace for the soul, it’s an escape from the terrible life homeless people are leading. It has all sorts of impact, even with literacy – it helps people who are not perhaps great readers if we can give them something that will help them.”

Avril Gray said: "We are truly amazed by the number of donations from students and staff. Their generosity shows how giving unites us all, and there's something very special about giving a book. When you read a book, whether you enjoy it or not, you absorb it, it helps to shape your ideas and perhaps provides insight and even empathy with others.”