Alumni Memories

Students from over 45 different countries attend our courses in British and Irish Literature and Creative Writing. Some have travelled from neighbouring cities, while others have crossed the globe to spend their summers in Edinburgh. Our Alumni map documents the favourite SUISS memories of some of our students.

Highlights From The Map

Neesha

From : India
Attended SUISS : 2013
Currently : Masters in Comparative Literature

Although everything SUISS is dear and close to the heart, there is one memory which always makes me smile. It is by no means the most special, but for some reason it appeals more to me at the moment. In the Edinburgh Lit. Fest. we attended a poetry reading by Carol Ann Duffy. She had brought along with her a man who specialised in horns and flutes and pipes from all over the world; from China to Ireland. He played many of these instruments, telling us a little about each instrument before playing them. It was wonderful compliment to the brilliant poetry of Carol Ann Duffy.
In Bengal, India, we have a great poet, whom many all over the world know by the translation of his works or know of him as a literary giant of colonial India, Rabindranath Tagore. Among the many tunes the flute-player played, two were old Irish folk tunes that were adapted by Tagore and paired with Bengali lyrics. I remember sitting among the audience and being the only one to excitedly hum the tunes that I have grown up with and so loved. I later sang one of those songs in Bengali at the farewell.


Sotiria

From : Greece
Attended SUISS : 2013
Currently : Studying at the Aristotle University of Thessaloniki

A wonderful experience at a great university, very organized but at the same time allowing space to make my own explorations. Edinburgh, a fascinating city that exhales a sense of history and culture rooted deep in the past, but contemporaneously includes each and every detail that would characterize it a modern place. Amazing people, amazing Scotland.


Nisha

From : India
Attended SUISS : 2009
Currently : I’m a freelance writer, researcher & book-editor | www.bpbweekend.com/delhi

Nights out at The Forest with Maria Milisavljevic & Kate Elri, impromptu poetry recitals by the amazing Ryan Van Winkle, climbing Arthur’s seat, being hugged by Neil Gaiman at the Edinburgh Book Festival!


Paromita

From : India
Attended SUISS : 2011
Currently : Grad school in the US

My favourite memory of SUISS is meeting Neil Gaiman at the Fringe Book Festival! The Creative Writing students were to attend a book reading and meet Gaiman for signings afterwards. I was not in the Creative Writing program, but I loved his books and I was determined to find a way to attend the event! I pestered Konstantina for days, hoping to find a spare ticket. Finally, two days before the event, she quietly informed me that someone had turned down the invitation, which meant she had one extra ticket!! It was absolutely thrilling for me to meet one of the moguls of fantasy fiction and my literary idol! Gaiman gave an excellent talk about speculative fiction as a genre and later signed my copies of Coraline and American Gods and agreed to have his photo taken with me!


Dominique

From : Lebanon
Attended SUISS : 2012
Currently : Marketing Manager in a five stars resort

One of my most vivid memories is when we gathered one night above the cafeteria at Pollock Halls and danced Ceilidh. We all had that sparkle in the eye like children on Christmas eve, and that laughter that couldn’t fade away. We switched partners like a girl switches dresses and once our feet got tired, we sat on the floor and sang ‘call me maybe’.


Deb

From : Australia
Attended SUISS : 2010
Currently : Studying for a PhD in Creative Writing

Being away from home enabled me to focus wholeheartedly on my writing and making writerly friends with whom I still share drafts. One memorable workshop session helped me to write about the devastating bushfires we had experienced the year before–at home in Australia I was too close to the events to be able to write about them. It was a cathartic and rewarding experience.


Mary

From : USA
Attended SUISS : 1972
Currently : I am retired after a 30-year teaching career

1972 seems like a million years ago now, but some memories of that summer in Edinburgh remain sharp. Dr. Angus MacKay was the very personable and welcoming director who made our student lives comfortable, interesting and academically challenging. I recall attending an afternoon at the Highland games with him and his family and enjoying his explanations of the events. He was wonderful to all the students.


Jelena

From : Croatia
Attended SUISS : 2013
Currently : I am finishing my graduate studies in English language and literature

It is so hard to write about one memory from SUISS when there were so many. From the stunning view of Arthur’s Seat from my bedroom, the sound of bagpipes waking me up in the morning, the meeting with the fox at Pollock Halls, the amazing food from the restaurant, hanging out with fellow SUISS-ers at pubs and playing board games, visiting the house of Robert Louis Stevenson and other memorable places, to getting a lifelong memento, a thistle tattoo, SUISS was an experience I will always cherish and remember.


Bilyana

From : Bulgaria
Attended SUISS : 2011
Currently : PhD

I remember those long sunny (!!) days, full of inspiring classes and seminars in which we shared our views about the readings, we laughed, had biscuits, put on weight, went to the theatre (god bless Fringe, the book festival and Edinburgh international festival, and the pubs in Edinburgh!), danced ceilidh (!!), and get to know so many people from so many corners of the earth. I loved it, all of it. Thanks.


Theresa

From : USA
Attended SUISS : 2011
Currently : Member of ESU, English Teacher, Filmmaker, and Family Historian

Best memory -On the way to see Wu Hsing-Kuo’s version of “King Lear” at the Royal Lyceum and seeing Liz Lochhead (who has given a reading at SUISS) on the opposite side of the street on her way to see “Tempest”. We paused for just a bit as there was the theater to get to, and after I crossed the street, it occurred to me – I just gave a friendly hello to the newly appointed Makar of Scotland!


Margot

From : France
Attended SUISS : 2013
Currently : Writing

There’s this street at the back of the school covered with graffiti, rust, moss on brick walls and uneven pavement, shadows of leaves cast on the stone, and a bird on a branch, taking flight.


Brittany

From : USA
Attended SUISS : 2011
Currently : I’m in graduate school at Wesleyan University

I went to the Royal Edinburgh Military Tattoo on my 21st birthday at the Edinburgh Castle, and they played the score to Harry Potter for a few minutes. I felt like I was in the movie, which we had all gone to see at midnight a few weeks prior. The whole experience was amazing, but at that moment I truly felt like I had been transported to Hogwarts.


Felicia

From : USA
Attended SUISS : 2009
Currently : 3 University jobs: Teach English/Writing, CFO’s Exec. Coordinator, Writing Tutor

Waking up every morning in a room with its own bath, no husband, children, or pets in sight, and listening to the sound of my own literary thoughts in tune with bagpipers below was a treasure. However, it paled in comparison to walking down to Carissa’s room (Love our Thelma & Louise Award for Friendship) and then joining our mates for breakfast. The friendships that still last, the lessons learned, the beautiful aesthetic of the city, along with the tutors and organizers, and Nan mean the world to me. I have been transformed from the fun and excitement, and the creative energy that was awakened and then heightened from the experiences there. The festivals and the writers we met, the performers, the camaraderie and conversations amid fellow writers from across the globe have made me a better person, teacher, mother, and writer. Watching my tutor grow since then, along with friends like Carissa, Aruni, Iggy and others has made me recommend the program to others, and with no sense of irony, I have found that they too loved the experience and were grateful for the recommendation. I can never thank you enough for the experience!!


Dan

From : USA
Attended SUISS : 2012
Currently : I’m a high school teacher and a poet

My writing teacher, Claire Askew, who was excellent, gave her students a chance to read some poems at a poetry event she was organizing at a great old pub not too far from the Royal Mile. Reading along with some of my fellow students and some outstanding local Scottish poets was the highlight of my time at SUISS.


Olesya

From : Ukraine
Attended SUISS : 2012
Currently : Writing PhD thesis

I remember my time with SUISS as the best two weeks of my life! It was a truly wonderful experience.


Taru

From : Finland
Attended SUISS : 2011
Currently : I’m a translator, interpreter, and tourist adviser

Hiking and jogging all over Arthur’s Seat together with the white-bottom bunnies. Laughing, drinking beer at the local pub, performing live for the first time. Gaining so much. Rediscovering myself.


Tom

From : Israel
Attended SUISS : 2011
Currently : Graduate student at Tel-Aviv University

Other than tasting a deep-fried Mars bar for the first time, the most resilient memory – out of many amazing ones – was of the final evening performances, both from the participants and the advisers. It was a uniquely sublime evening and hilarious to boot!


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