Sunday, 23 October 2016
Before Ten Little Astronauts was launched by Unbound - submarine promo video and all - it formed the bulk of my work for an MA in Creative and Critical Writing at the University of Winchester. The way the course was weighted, that one project was just about as important as every other module combined. On top of that, in a move that I can only assume was intended to keep postgrads up all night to finish the thing, that final project would dictate the upper limit on your results. You could hand in the greatest works of literature ever devised for the smaller modules, then still end up disappointed on results day if the big one didn't measure up.
Well, on Friday I graduated with Distinction.
Second from right: me. Also pictured: some of the greatest writers I've ever met.
It's been a long time since I actually got my results. The ceremony was held in Winchester Cathedral - the largest medieval cathedral in the world still standing - and the University can only use it so many days each year. Given that it takes a while to mark all those novella-length projects, we didn't get our results in time to graduate the same year as we handed them in. Still, good things are worth waiting for, and I'm pleased to have already had some success with Ten Little Astronauts in particular.
Collecting ten points for Ravenclaw. Just kidding, that's Alan Titchmarsh.
Alan Titchmarsh has been Chancellor of the university since 2014 - about a year before I began studying there - and from what I can tell he's a pretty neat guy. He's probably best known for presenting Gardeners' World, but he's also written several novels. It's always good to know that the person giving speeches as part of the ceremony has some real experience in that field.
Although this doesn't change anything as such - I've had my results for months and obviously things have moved along quite a bit since I was studying - it's a great push to get out there and make sure I make everything I can out of Ten Little Astronauts. By my reckoning the campaign is literally just 20p off the 20% mark, at which point I'll be releasing an audio version of the first chapter (already recorded and edited). If you know anybody you think might be interested, now would be a great time to tell them about it, and if you'd care to upgrade your own pledge for extra rewards, now would be a great time to do it!