SUISS is hiring new tutors for 2016

SUISS is seeking to appoint experienced and dynamic tutors for all three of our courses in 2016: Text & Context, Creative Writing, and Theatre & Performance.

Text & Context tutors must be postgraduate students or postdoctoral tutors/researchers from one of our 7 affiliated universities.

Creative Writing and Theatre & Performance tutors do not necessarily have to come from our affiliated universities, but should be UK-based.

To inquire and/or apply, please see the details of the job postings here:

Text & Context: British and Irish Literature from 1900 to the present

*Please note, for Text & Context, our tutors only teach a single two-week module, from either Modernism, Scottish Literature, or Contemporary Literature. We do not hire tutors to the full six-week course.

Creative Writing

Contemporary British and Irish Theatre and Performance


The Summer School Students’ Song

*This is a guest post by one of our 2015 Creative Writing students, Maire Kashyap, from Australia:

If I were to write a fringe show, that’s what I would call it. Edwin Morgan’s “Sssnnnwhuffffll?”s and “doplodovok”s would be replaced by our own snippets of nonsense; “Forrest, you’re just like Marcus!”, “tiny, tiny Friday”, “crisps? Chips! Chips? Crisps! Chips. Crisps?”, “Man legs. I’m fifty-six.” Like another Morgan poem, “The First Men on Mercury”, it would end with the moment we switched cultural languages, as Jackson egged Emily on to “skol” her drink, while I sat next to him chanting “chug, chug, chug,” having swapped our Australian and American drinking vernacular over the four weeks we had spent together.

In this alien city of Edinburgh, we exchanged more than our words though. We exchanged stories; opinions (sometimes a little too enthusiastically); recommendations of films, galleries, authors, places; bewildered looks as we were ceremoniously presented plates of haggis, neeps and tatties at our “Burns Supper in July.” Importantly, we exchanged Facebooks and phone numbers, so we could be sure our parting farewells weren’t forever.

Surrounded by inspiring, creative people, and provided with platforms to write, discuss and learn from each other, I’ve taken up a few opportunities unique to these exceptional circumstances. I’ve played Romeo in a contemporary interpretation of Shakespeare, ground-breaking enough to rival Calum’s performance poetry. I’ve written flash fiction on a Wednesday, and with the help of my tutor Defne, edited it ready to perform to my peers at open mic night on Friday. I’ve driven to Skye and back in half the time it’s supposed to take to drive there because apparently “German” is a synonym for “drives too fast.” Or maybe that’s just Stina. I’ve been dangerously close to setting off a smoke alarm in the medicine building while carrying a cake with twenty-one candles for Maurisa’s in class birthday celebration. I’ve listened to more ideas in workshops, performances and masterclasses than I could possibly have imagined. And probably a similar amount sitting in pubs and dorm rooms from late nights to early mornings.

Whether it be expressed through raps exalting Professor Terry Eagleton, cringe-worthy “fashion shows”, personal essays, earnest renditions of Canadian folk music, or time lapse photography of the sunrise from Arthur’s Seat (kindly shared with those of us too lazy to make the hike at 3:30 am), I know that everyone else appreciated their time here just as much as I did.

“Have you taken something?”, my concerned boyfriend asked, when I got home and called him on Friday night after the farewell party, talking at a rate almost as fast as Stina’s driving. “No!” I replied, “I just have so much to tell you.” It had only been two days since we last talked, but so much had happened in that time, so much that meant something to me, so much that I wanted to communicate. And to inspire (almost) coherent strings of words like that is the best thing a writing course could do.

-Maire Kashyap

A Farewell Poem from Rosa (Modernism 2015)

At the Farewell party for this year’s modernism course, our student Rosa Schwenger from Germany shared a brilliant poem she wrote about her experience at SUISS. The poem was a hit – Rosa was thanked with an enthusiastic standing ovation, and there were a few teary eyes in the crowd. She has graciously agreed to share the poem here with you as well. Anyone who has studied on our modernism course will probably relate to her words as much as her classmates did. Thank you, Rosa!








Rosa Hits Enter At A Lot Of Random Places

Disclaimer: All mistakes are done on purpose, obviously.
All misplaced, superfluous or lost commas are my intention.
All weirdly worded ideas are exactly what they are supposed to be.
Everything is on purpose when the purpose is to be

thrown into the cold grey weather waters
not knowing what to make of anything.
Waves of clouds clashing, whirls of winds dashing
at the periphery of our expectations,
their meaning being entangled like a knot of rain, wind and trees
while gloomy buildings watch all of our cautious steps through the seas.
And if not now then at the end we
will have fought through this jungle of modern isms and survived,
if we all follow the same threads or not.
A physical journey posed Arthur’s Seat
and from up there
the two-weeked future mysteries of an unknown world unfolded in front of us
the excitement is palpable
(who is he even?),
you can feel the suspense in the air
(never heard of this guy, to be honest),
we saw moments of greatness not only flicker but maybe burn
(or got it trust upon us)
just shortly before lots of anger aimed at structures and codes,
though not at the play at hand,
and then
the lighting of the rainbow coloured ceilings, walls,
diverse and overflowing as

all the colours of the voices of Dublin
we tried to understand.
And yes, you can watch your language
when what’s said is so vivid that it doesn’t matter
which sense makes sense
at a time

is space, space is time
when chaotic confusion reached its peak
with elusive allusive Eliot.
when you‘re having fun-
damental thoughts and stuff.
We have no idea what we’re doing
but surely some revelation is at hand
(not to use the word with E).
Instead of inhabiting a waste land
we danced in a stuffed hall
shapeless formless
but unparalyzed and with
rhythm and direction
in not one but many voices which led us around the intangible center of trauma.
Our plunging was more of a stumbling
search for the clearest sound, the sharpest memory.
We will buy this heap of broken flowers ourselves
paying with coins that are more confusing than any stream of semi-conscious ideas could ever be.
When opening this door to prose experiments
In the literary middle – literally the middle – of our journey

we yearn for poetry even though we may not confess it, so
make me king as we march towards a
new wor(l)d order
in India. But this could be anywhere, really
where unknown people meet people they know even less
and politics and fear do the talking.
Prepared like this we visited the parliament
but exhaustion often surpasses political ambitions as we
slouch towards the edge of the end of modernism.
In soft entropy and gyre-ish shapes
we examined the terrible beauty of
words, but also trees and grassy patches
greyscale mazes and empty melting landscapes
in colours which shine with an absence of brightness

so that you dont know if to say
good morning, midnighters,
or good day, children oft he light.
I AM NOT your window to a reality normal people can’t see,
I AM NOT the truth behind.
I am the total distortion of time space meaning
of ‘when have I eaten showered talked to somebody last?’
of being unpleasantly surprised to still be alive but
what to do what to do
what ever is there to do.
I tried to measure out the evenings mornings afternoons
but what means measuring
what means –
It is not that I do not want to be happy
but I cannot remember what wanting means, or happy for that matter;
emotions are not even up for debate when they become the most foreign words of all.
I would gladly set these words on fire
and all my other ones
and those I haven’t written yet
if this could keep the imminent permanent constantly calling
waves of sticky black tar at bay
which suffocate me, and no matter how hard I try to breath I will drown

Writing this today I cannot now what tomorrow might bring
but neither did Orwell nor Huxley and did they let this stop them?
This is just to say:
we will fare one another well
(whatever that means, words are so weird, have you ever looked at them?)
and then will be catapulted into a future of undefined dimensions
and –isms yet to be explored.

© Rosa Schwenger, 2015
This work remains the property of the author.

Creative Commons License
Rosa Hits Enter At A Lot Of Random Places by Rosa Schwenger is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution-NonCommercial-NoDerivatives 4.0 International License.

Publishing and Membership Opportunity – University Of Edinburgh Journal

JournalThe University of Edinburgh Graduates’ Association is an organisation sponsored by the University of Edinburgh, which acts as a means of communication between the University and its alumni, and between alumni themselves, wherever they may be in the world. It does this by publishing the University of Edinburgh Journal twice a year. The Journal acts as a platform for alumni to publish serious articles and creative work for the University community to enjoy. The Association also offers a programme of attractive events including lunches with guest speakers, our Annual Reception and Buffet with a guest speaker or special entertainment, our biennial St Andrews Night Dinner, and many more.

Founded in the wake of the First World War, the University of Edinburgh Graduates’ Association has recently published a special Commemorative Issue of its 90-year old University of Edinburgh Journal and, as a special supplement published by the Association and the University, the Roll of Honour 1939-1945 which remembers and honours the members of the University who died by enemy action during the Second World War.

The Graduates’ Association invites you most warmly to subscribe to the Journal and, by so doing, to become a member of the Association. New subscribers applying before 30 September will receive copies of these publications as part of their subscriptions.

The Journal itself is produced in June and December each year, in printed and in digital formats, and is sent to all members of the Association as part of their subscription. Its 46 completed volumes have become an indispensable archive on the University, its life and history; they may be consulted in the University Library, and will soon be accessible online in a searchable digital format as part of membership subscription; the digitisation process is well under way. By becoming a subscriber and a member of the Association, you will be helping us to continue this work.

Subscriptions range from £28.00 for annual membership and a printed copy of the Journal, to £10.00 annually for fully electronic membership. If you are interested in becoming a member of the University of Edinburgh Graduates’ Association and in receiving the University of Edinburgh Journal, please contact the Assistant Editor of the Journal, Mr John Sutherland at

Rizwan Akhtar, Pakistan, Class of 2014

10706607_10203723166732521_2039756186_nRizwan Akhtar teaches at the Department of English, Punjab University, Lahore, Pakistan. His poems have appeared in Poetry Salzburg Review, Poetry NZ, Wasafiri, Postcolonial Text (Canada), decanto, Poesia (US), Exiled Ink, Pakistaniat : A Journal of Pakistani Studies (US), Solidarity International, Orbis, The Other Poetry, Planet; The Welsh International, Wolf, South Asian Review, Gutter: New Scottish writings, Open Road Review, ScottishPen, tinfoildresses (US), and in Bloodaxe anthology Out of Bounds (2011).

Here is his poem inspired by his time in Edinburgh…

Edinburgh Calls

On granite structures
wooden walls creak as words escape
outside rain sneaks silence
like language it has pauses
cinching vows in smattering sounds
hooded plodding I mount city’s hills
imagining holes in windows
covering my splaying gait
like a sentence needing extra support
after living mistily on pages of history
and a full stop to stare and look around
for a map everywhere alleys creep
on kidney stones a cobbled-pinch
runs through legs
there is some charm in getting tired
nursing crackling bones on benches
alone with a wet pigeon
shouldering luggage the unpaid postman
of dark evenings emerging
from the hazy basin of Froth’s estuary
over Queensferry Bridge
quivering on cables
stroking winds anti-clockwise
a metallic North Sea
spooks primitive music
buses plow through wet spaces
you miss one and wait for the next
out of geographic love.

A. L. Kennedy returns to SUISS!

A L Kennedy visits SUISS

What a night!

Readings from A. L. Kennedy have been highlights of our previous Summer Schools, and so we were particularly excited to be hearing from this esteemed and prolific writer on this mild mid-August eve. Expectations were deservedly high, and Kennedy surpassed these with grace and good humour, reading from All the Rage, her recently published collection of short stories, before answering questions from students.

As anyone who has heard Kennedy speak will know, it takes very little prompting for this effortlessly articulate speaker to commence regalement. And so we were entertained, educated, and absolutely enthralled as Kennedy spoke on the maudlin public images of creative people, the desperate need to improve prison libraries, and the often mystifying decisions made by those designing her book covers!

Kennedy stayed long into the evening to talk to students and sign books, and was even happy to pose for a few photographs! Linden and I were all too happy to take advantage of this…

A. L. Kennedy is just one of the marvellous authors who come to speak to our students at SUISS. This year we also hosted (in order of appearance!) Rodge Glass, James Robertson, Liz Lochhead, Michael Pedersen,  Zoë Strachan, Robert Crawford, Anne Donovan, and David Greig.

Burns Supper and Ceilidh Capers!

Burns Night at Edinburgh's Ghillie Dhu pub

SUISS Burns Night at Edinburgh’s Ghillie Dhu pub


This summer heralded the beginning of a brand new event for SUISS – our inaugural Burns Supper!

Here in Scotland we have a long-established tradition of celebrating our national bard, Robert Burns, on his birthday.  This falls on 25th January, and Rabbie is toasted in time-honoured fashion, with plenty of good company, song, poetry, drink, and tasty food.  Here at SUISS, we think that the ploughman poet deserves to be remembered all year long, and so, during our Scottish Literature course, we enjoyed an unusually summery Burns Supper in the gorgeous surroundings of the Ghillie Dhu – one of Edinburgh’s finest traditional pubs.


Haggis at the SUISS Burn's Night supper

One o’ the puddin’ race, lookin’ sonsie

The night began with a kilted bagpiper addressing the haggis:

‘Fair fa your honest, sonsie face,
Great chieftain o the puddin-race!’



After this, we tucked in to some seriously delicious haggis, neeps and tatties, and heard one of the directors toast the immortal memory of Burns.  Students and the two directors sang and recited a selection of Burns’s poems and songs, as well as the work of some other, more contemporary poets.  Well done to all!  You certainly got us in the mood for some very energetic Scottish traditional dancing! Have a peek at this picture of our ceilidh moves…

SUISS ceilidh on Burn's Night

Ceilidh moves from the SUISS team


We rounded the night off with a hearty rendition of Burns’s song of friendship, ‘Auld Lang Syne’.  Many thanks to the Ghillie Dhu for a lovely welcome, delicious food, beautiful surroundings, and a great place to dance!  And thanks also to our fantastic folk band.  We can’t wait for next year’s Burns Night.

Arthur’s Seat Hike!

SUISS students ascending Edinburgh's Arthur's Seat

SUISS trek up Arthur’s Seat


I have now the pleasure of presenting my readers with an original document of a most singular nature, and preserved for their perusal in a still more singular manner. This brutish little scrap, printed on neon paper, laminated, and with a whistle attached, was discovered in atop Arthur’s Seat by happy dogs. I offer no remarks on it, and make as few additions to it, leaving everyone to judge for themselves. And so:




The Private Memoirs and Confessions of a Justified First-Aider:

Written by Himself.

Fideli certa merces.

My life has been a life of trouble and turmoil; of change and vicissitude; of anger and exultation; of health and of safety. My sorrows have all been for a slighted First Aid manual, and my vengeance has been wreaked on its adversaries. Therefore, in the might of Heaven, I will sit down and write: I will let the wicked of this world know what I have done in the faith of the promises, and justification by grace, that they may read and tremble, and bless their gods of horseplay and running with scissors, that the minister of the Triangular Bandage was removed from their sphere before their tears-before-bedtime were mingled with their sacrifices.

The morning of the hike presented us with weathers most disagreeable, indeed, it seemed that our proposed perambulation might suffer that most tragic of fates: cancellation! Yet, as the noon turned to us, we saw open upon her face the hints of a smile, which broadened presently into the sunniest of grins. We commenced our hike to the top of Arthur’s Seat at around four o’clock in the afternoon. And oh how that sweet sun did blaze! Thus, the only inclement precipitation oozed from within: a dreadful sweat clinging to even those hikers hailing from the most infernal of climes. And yet, reader: I hurried them. Since my swift and easy birth at precisely midday upon the due date, I have always prized timekeeping as the highest of virtues, for surely this is what separates man from beast, and at the midpoint we were a good three minutes behind schedule. And again, reader: I hurried them!

Here then, I reveal my life’s most diabolical shortcoming, that which desiccates my happiness and grinds it to a flour most loathsome. We sped up that rock, blasted by heat, and I discovered to my great dismay that I carried no water! No water, reader! What manner of First Aider neglects adequate hydration? A dreadful poor First Aider, to be precise! Me! Admittedly, most of the students had brought their own water, and nobody was particularly bothered as we were up and down the Seat in forty-eight minutes. Indeed, the students were perhaps most disturbed only by my, yes, slightly alarmist and overly animated reactions to discovering, at the peak, no full bottles within my knapsack. And yes, everyone involved got a great view of this fair City, got to know each other a little better, and generally had a really lovely time.

But the WATER! This torment shall weigh me down for the rest of my bedevilled existence!

Edinburgh from Arthur's Seat

View over Edinburgh from the summit


Here ends the wretched narrative. With regard to the work itself, I dare not venture a judgment, for I do not understand it. I believe no person, man or woman, will ever peruse it with the same attention that I have done, and yet I confess that I do not comprehend the writer’s drift. It’s probably some sort of a silly joke about a lovely SUISS day out…

Tom Farrington.

James Robertson speaks to SUISS!

James Robertson reading

James Robertson visits SUISS


In week one of our SUISS programme this year, we were absolutely delighted to welcome back one of Scotland’s finest contemporary writers, James Robertson.  James is the author of five novels, including The Fanatic (2000), Joseph Knight (2003), and The Testament of Gideon Mack (2006) – a firm favourite in the SUISS office, and the last text on our Scottish Literature reading list.

James is a well-kent face here at SUISS!  He has read for us a number of times, and is always brilliantly entertaining.  This year he kept us enthralled with a reading from his 2013 novel, The Professor of Truth, and he answered lots of our questions on topics ranging from creative writing, to Scots language, to Scotland’s independence referendum.  Thanks for being so generous with your time, James!

If you feel like reading some of his work, you’ll find a link here to a poem that James read to us at SUISS.  We loved it – we hope you do too!  James Robertson’s ‘The Heron’

Tal Griffit, Israel, Class of 2014


A big thanks to Tal, one of this year’s Text & Context students, for allowing us to post his wee poem about Scotland and the conflict occurring in his homeland.

Tal GriffitState of Conflict

We land,
On the cobbled stone
In a bright old day, a newly born;
With the numerous few, who had walked
Here before,
Wee land, we land;
we sore, Wee sore.