Most university degrees require lots of writing and some people might find that doing essays and exams is quite enough, without doing even more as a hobby. But for those who are looking for chances to get their work published at university, student societies and journals offer plenty of opportunities to see your name in print and enjoy the thought of someone other than a marker reading your work. In this article, Verity profiles a few of the options for publication at the University of Edinburgh, so you can get a sense of where you can submit your work, whether you’re thinking of writing as a future career or just as something you enjoy in your spare time.
The Student is one of the University of Edinburgh’s most recognisable student publications, as well as being the oldest student newspaper in Europe. Founded in 1887 by Robert Louis Stevenson, The Student has grown from a small magazine to a fortnightly newspaper that includes sections on news, lifestyle, culture, sport, science and more. The award-winning newspaper has a good reputation for investigative journalism and is published in hard copy and online, with copies of the newspaper being distributed for free around the university campuses. If the speed and variety of journalism appeals to you and you’d like to see your name in print, The Student would be a great place to gain more experience and take your first steps towards a career as a reporter.
On the other hand, if you’re interested in current affairs but would like to analyse political issues in more depth, Leviathan might be the ideal journal to host your writing. Leviathan is a peer-reviewed journal published under the auspices of the Edinburgh Political Union. Two or three editions of Leviathan are published each academic year with articles organised in regional sections. Each journal has its own theme and writers pitch for each edition, so you don’t need to be a regular contributor. Leviathan also has roles for students as editors, copy-editors and graphic designers, as well as for postgraduate students as peer-reviewers. If you want to develop your research skills, then you could consider pitching your work to Leviathan and working with the editors to produce your very own article.
If current affairs are not your area of interest but you still enjoy research, you might like writing about historical topics for Retrospect, the journal associated with the History Society. Retrospect recruits a pool of writers each year and you don’t need to be taking a history degree to get involved. Again, there are positions available for editors, copy-editors and illustrators if you’re interested in the process and aesthetics of publishing rather than the actual writing. Retrospect publishes features and academic articles of varying lengths, as well as some interviews and historical fiction. It also offers great flexibility because you can either apply to be part of the pool of regular fortnightly writers or you can submit your work on an ad-hoc basis.
Last but not least, the School of Social and Political Science offers an opportunity for publication in Re:think, which is a peer-reviewed interdisciplinary journal that is run by a collective of student editors in collaboration with members of the school’s teaching staff. It publishes a variety of articles, from academic essays to reflective pieces to photo-essays, and usually comes out once a year. The journal’s unifying characteristic is that all its articles are based on ethnographic research conducted by the author, but aside from that the contributors have considerable freedom in what they can write and how it is presented, so it is definitely worth considering if you’ve done some original research you’d like to see in print.
There are a host of options for University of Edinburgh students hoping to see their work in print, whether you’re interested in the social sciences, history or politics, prefer to write short articles or long essays, have a single flash of genius or want the challenge of writing regularly. There are opportunities too for those who would like to learn how to edit, design or administrate student publications. Whatever your interests, there’s nothing more satisfying than seeing your name in black and white above your own work!