The Book

You may have wondered who created this edition of Travel Light. The answer is simple – it is the product of a team of postgraduate students who wanted to bring an undiscovered classic back to life. The project was carried out by the staff and students of MSc. Publishing at Edinburgh Napier University within the Scottish Centre for the Book (SCOB).

Over the course of the year-long Masters programme the students learned all about the publishing industry, and even had a taste of what it is like to work in this creative and exciting environment. They developed design skills and examined individual companies and their operations to give them a better understanding of the marketplace. One project on which the students worked was Buzz magazine, with their learning expanding from theory to practice. For their other live project, the students were given the challenge of re-launching an existing title. The book you now hold in your hand is the end product of that journey.

Travel Light is a wonderful, exciting book. The students hope that you will read and re-read it, passing it on to friends with the same sense of excitement. It was unanimously chosen from a shortlist of books. Everyone felt that this book could be as popular as titles such as Lord of the Rings and Harry Potter. The students also wanted to bring a talented Scottish author to the attention of new generations of Scottish readers.

Naomi Mitchison was born in Edinburgh in 1897. She wrote over 90 works, more than 70 of which were novels, their genres ranging from history to science fiction. She was an avid traveller and was influenced by other cultures in her writings. She even became a tribal mother to the people of Bakgatla (a tribe in Botswana). Since her death in 1999 (at the age of 101) she has remained in print but her reputation has begun to fade. It was one of the students’ aims to ensure that her work continued to be read by new readers.

Once the book had been decided upon, the students conducted market research. The results showed that Travel Light should be targeted at P6 and P7 pupils. The students then sent sample pages to primary schools, asking for feedback from both teachers and pupils, in order to determine the most suitable format and design for this age group.

The text of Travel Light has been edited to ensure that it is as accurate as possible and any obscure words, including those relating to Norse mythology, are defined in a glossary. The striking illustrations on the cover of the book and its inner pages were contributed by a number of young Scottish illustrators. The students chose the best image for the cover to convey the nature of the novel and to appeal to a young readership.

Travel Light is the first children’s title to be produced by Merchiston Publishing. The students decided that it needed a different look from that of its predecessors in order to appeal to a new market. So they altered its size and format. The students also had to negotiate a fee for the copyright. They are grateful to the publishers at Kennedy and Boyd for their unwavering support.

As the production process developed, the students requested quotations from a number of printers and chose one on the basis of value for money and quality. Finally, they had to present the new Travel Light to their lecturers and industry professionals as part of their assessment. The readers, however, are the real judges of any book and we hope this one receives your positive approval.

This project has been supported by the Edward Clark Bequest, which has its origins in the will of Edward Clark. He was the Chairman and Managing Director of R. & R. Clark Ltd of Edinburgh – an important printer in its day serving all the major publishers and authors of the late nineteenth and early twentieth centuries. Edward Clark wished his legacy to be used specifically for the benefit of students involved in printing and publishing. We are grateful to the Trustees for honouring his wishes and offering financial support for the production of Travel Light.

The publishing courses at Edinburgh Napier University began in 1967 and their graduates now hold key positions in the publishing industry worldwide. There is a strong sense of tradition here at Napier but we also pride ourselves on our innovation and creativity. If you wish to learn more about what we have to offer or about the production of Travel Light, please contact us at Merchiston Publishing, New Craig, Craighouse Campus, Edinburgh, EH10 5LG or by e-mail at scob@napier.ac.uk

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