Third book published by MA student writers

4 October 2023
Time to read
4 minute read
Copies of the three books, Suffolk Reflections, Suffolk Arboretum and Suffolk Folk, arranged on a display on a table
The three books published by MA students

MA students at the University of Suffolk have become published writers with the launch of the University’s third anthology of short stories – this time on the theme of lakes, rivers and waterways in Suffolk.

Suffolk Reflections joins Suffolk Folk and Suffolk Arboretum in the collection of original short stories by the University’s MA Creative and Critical Writing students, published by the English department’s in-house publishing company, The Talking Shop Press.

The latest volume, which features tales by 26 students, takes its inspiration from real waterways and rivers in the county, including Orford Ness, the River Waveney, Neptune Quay in Ipswich, the River Stour, Trimley Marshes and the Orwell Bridge.

Uniquely, each story also features directions to the water it is based on, making it possible for readers to take the book with them and read the story in the environment that inspired it.

An interactive map has also been developed so readers can find out more about the landscapes featured in the book.

MA student Amber Spalding, who contributed stories to the first two volumes and graduates this month, helped sub-edit the latest instalment, which included copy-editing the stories and working on the podcast channel and interactive map.

Amber said: “It’s been wonderful for me to be a part of the process over the last three books. It’s a really good opportunity for MA students to be a part of the process – you learn and develop yourself and get the work experience that jobs want.

“I am looking to get into marketing and publishing, and it has been really useful to say I have sub-edited an anthology. Sometimes it can be difficult to get that real life experience but this has been a foot in the door to the industry.”

MA student Jeni Neill, who contributed a story to the new volume, said: “It was great to work as part of a team on this, and to know that it is one of a number of volumes that charts the journey of this MA course’s development.

“I love Suffolk and to be able to introduce other people to this beautiful county is quite an honour. I wrote about Pin Mill as it’s a place that has a real pull and I get a lot of inspiration from the lapping water and stillness there, so to create a story based on that place was an unexpected and most welcome opportunity.”

The writers were joined by guests at a special book launch event on Tuesday evening at the University, including Simon Peachey, site manager at the National Trust at Flatford who has written the book’s foreword.

In his foreword, Simon said the book is “allowing us to travel to all corners of Suffolk through many centuries of history” and encourages readers to make their own journeys along the local waterways.

Suffolk Reflections is the third anthology written by students which takes inspiration from the county. The first, Suffolk Folk, celebrates folk tales and legends from this part of the world and Suffolk Arboretum shines a spotlight on the county’s trees and woodlands.

The team is already working on the fourth volume, which currently has the working title of Suffolk Haunts, which will feature new original stories inspired by the legends and landscapes of East Anglia.

Dr Amanda Hodgkinson, Associate Professor in Creative Writing and founder of The Talking Shop Press, said: “The book launch is a fantastic opportunity for us to share the amazing work of our students on the MA Creative and Critical Writing.

“The anthology series offer our students a unique opportunity to engage with and understand all the processes of professional publishing and publication, including editing, publicity work via BBC and community radio, public readings, podcasts, and representation in other media and online.

“The anthology series is such a fantastic project and Suffolk Reflections is quite simply a beautiful book.”

Suffolk Reflections is available to buy now from bookstores nationwide.

A photo of the three books, Suffolk Reflections, Suffolk Arboretum and Suffolk Folk on a display table with a University of Suffolk logo banner
The three books published by MA Creative and Critical Writing students
A group photo featuring the students and staff involved in the Suffolk Reflections book at the launch evening
Students and staff who worked on Suffolk Reflections at the book launch
A photo looking down on the Suffolk Reflections book launch event in The Atrium. Simon Peachey is giving a speech to the guests gathered around
Guests gathered at the Suffolk Reflections book launch event
A photo of the editing team for the Suffolk Reflections volume at the launch event of the book standing by a banner for the school. From left to right is Lindsey Scott, Amanda Hodgkinson and Amber Spalding
Lindsey Scott, Amanda Hodgkinson and Amber Spalding, who edited the book

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