Meet our team: Sarah Marks & Elizabeth Eagan – Communications Managers

#NapierBigRead ‘Meet Our Team’ is back. This week we’re talking to postgrad students Elizabeth Eagan and Sarah Marks about what they do and why you should be excited for the release of Detective McLevy’s Casebook. We’re also revealing how you can get involved and even offering a few lucky people the chance to get your hands on a copy of the book before it’s been released.

Describe your role in the Big Read. What do you do?

Both: We manage Communications for #NapierBigRead. It is our responsibility to keep track of the activities and progress of each team and to keep everyone well informed. Being a small team, this requires effective planning, coordination, and sometimes, deadlines! Our main tasks involve liaising between teams and departments, scheduling and planning, and keeping an updated database of Big Read contacts. As the Big Read is a collaborative project, we are also members of #NapierBigRead’s Social Media Team, regularly engaging with our followers on Twitter.

Why did you decide to volunteer for the Big Read scheme?

E: Dedicating time each week to support the Big Read scheme, and contribute to the promotion of this year’s book Detective McLevy’s Casebook was an easy decision for me to make. I am enthusiastic about the scheme’s aim to inspire and bring together students and staff in the university through reading, creating a sense of community. I share the Big Read’s belief in the power of reading to positively impact people’s lives, and I thought it would be a great way to get to know and work with my fellow students.

S: Having the opportunity to get hands-on experience with projects like this is one of the reasons why I chose to study at Napier. It’s really rewarding to work as a team towards a tangible goal and it gives us as students the chance to explore different roles in publishing before we leave university.

What are you most excited about for the Big Read?

E:  I love the fact that anyone in the university can participate and enjoy this reading scheme, not just the typical booklover. This is a fantastic chance to be a part of something in the wider community of the university and to get to know other students and staff also reading the book. If you live in Edinburgh and enjoy exploring, then this is also your opportunity to visit some of McLevy’s old haunts, and some truly interesting spots!

S: Detective McLevy’s Casebook is right up my street. I love reading about real life historical characters and can’t wait to share that with other people! It’s amazing getting to see what old Edinburgh was like through the eyes of the #RealSherlockHolmes. Plus, I love the sassy lady thief that McLevy describes in the first chapter, you can tell he secretly admires her ingenuity and skill!

Why do you think this project is important for the university?

Both: The shared reading experience that this project represents holds so much potential for students and staff. It’s a great icebreaker and an easy way to get people talking across departments. It also provides international students with an engaging means of getting to grips with the city, its history and culture. And of course, the close ties to Arthur Conan Doyle’s Sherlock Holmes have definitely helped us garner a really enthusiastic response to the book so far. It’s all very exciting!

How can students get involved?

Both: Students can get involved by engaging with our various social media platforms. Find us on Twitter, Instagram and Facebook @NapierBigRead. This is where you will hear about #NapierBigRead related events and the eagerly awaited release date of the book.  Of course, we’re also very open to potential collaborations. If students in other schools within the university are interested in working on the project with us, then simply get in touch with your ideas. We’ll be happy to chat with you!

We’d also love to know what you think about the book. So if you just can’t wait to get your hands on #DetectiveMcLevy’sCasebook then get in touch via Facebook, Twitter or Instagram and tell us why you should be given pre-release proofs and the chance to review the book before it hits campus!

Just for fun, what are you reading just now?

E: I’ve only just got around to starting The Wiseman’s Fear by Patrick Rothfuss. I love a good fantasy book and really enjoyed The Name of the Wind, the first novel of the series, so very happy to get stuck into this one.

S: I’ve actually just finished reading Pat Barker’s Regeneration which is set, coincidentally, here in Edinburgh – at Craiglockhart actually. It’s the story of a psychologist working at the hospital there during the First World War and features Siegfried Sassoon quite heavily. It’s a great book, one that negotiates the issue of war in a really sympathetic and interesting way.  

Meet our team: Bethany Kyle – Social Media Manager

With this year’s #NapierBigRead well underway, the Big Read team has been dedicated to promoting this year’s book, Detective McLevy’s Casebook. Our Social Media Manager, and current MSc Publishing student at Edinburgh Napier, Bethany Kyle, gives us an insight into her role and tells us why we should get involved in #NapierBigRead

Why did you decide to volunteer for the Big Read scheme?

I volunteered for the Big Read because I was excited about it! Not only does it offer the chance to receive a free book – every booklover’s favourite thing – it offers the chance to get to know people outside of your course. In my last university, we didn’t have a community event and it is exciting to now study at a university that offers that.

Describe your role in the Big Read. What is it that you do?

My role is the Social Media Manager. Some of my management duties include liaising with my team to ensure each page is equally promoting the Big Read, engaging with tweets and analysing the statistics these tweets reach. As a team, we are keeping up to date with posting, liking, following – this is achieved through developing a social media strategy. It’s also my job to remain alert to what is going on with sites such as Twitter, or to anything that relates to #NapierBigRead, and then engage with that thread or trend. This means my phone needs to remain close to me, which isn’t usually a problem!

Why should students be enthusiastic about the Big Read?

We should be enthusiastic because this year’s book is based right here in Edinburgh, one of the most beautiful cities in the world. We can become literary tourists as many locations are mentioned and then we can visit. The Big Read is inviting people to fall in love with literature again. In a world that is fast-paced, books provide a sweet escape to relax from the pressure of life. They are a time-out zone.

What value do you think this project holds for the university? Why should people get involved?

This project holds so much potential for the Edinburgh Napier University. It puts it on the map as being a university that not only loves literature, but the city it lives in. And Edinburgh is recognised as a city of literature! Therefore, people should get involved, because you’ll be a part of something big.

How can students get involved?

Follow us on social media! We have a Twitter, Facebook and Instagram account. Here you will be able to see the latest updates on what is going on, such as events and you can follow our hashtag #NapierBigRead. Look out for information on the screens around campus, even ask your lecturers what they know about the Big Read.

How do you find time to read for pleasure as well as keeping up with a full university timetable? Do you have any tips for other students?

I set aside some time each night to read a couple of chapters before I sleep. It helps me to unwind after being in class all day or completing assignments. Currently, I’m making way through Little Women by Louisa May Alcott and really enjoying it. So, my tip for those wishing to read but have a full-on course is, read little and read often. Pick up a book in your study breaks rather than your phone.