Interview with Daniel Boswell
By uczcmsm, on 8 December 2017
The blog team thought it might be fun to use this opportunity to find out more about our lovely lecturers! So, first up: Daniel Boswell!
Don Quixote de La Mancha – Of all the classics this is my favourite. Arguably the first ‘novel’, certainly one of the earliest examples of the form, I don’t really think it has ever been surpassed; themes of love, hope, ambition, ageing, class and comedy all seamlessly interlinked. It’s a book about a bibliophile who takes his passion a little too far. Publishing students take note. If you can read the original, not in translation.
How did you get into publishing?
Getting into publishing was as much about getting out of a series of successive industries I didn’t belong in after I finished my first degree. Life assurance was a low point. However, I’d always been around writers, my father was a journalist. The direct answer is that I attended a panel discussion at the Edinburgh Book Festival in the mid 2000s about changing trends in genre fiction and ended up having a very long and interesting conversation with, Marion Sinclair, the director of Publishing Scotland. She encouraged me towards some postgraduate study which led me to the Scottish Centre for the Book (SCOB) at Edinburgh Napier and the rest is (21st century) history.
How do you interact with your chosen field?
Publishing Studies is a small and developing field. This has pros and cons. The challenge is being able to draw diversely on a established body of contemporary academic sources. On the other hand, as a developing discipline, most academics working in this area know one another, at least in passing, and we have a wonderful, friendly network for collaboration. Over the past few years we have been gathering in Florence for a developing, publishing focused conference called ‘By the Book’, which is helping to ground this network. At the level of teaching, all of the UK Publishing courses are members of the Association for Publishing Education (APE) and we meet on a regular basis.
Favourite piece of research you’ve been part of?
Well, I should probably say my PhD thesis, a comparative analysis of industrial dynamics in Scottish and Catalan Publishing fields, but I also really enjoy the editorial and development side of journal and special issue publication, and have been involved with pieces for Book 2.0 and Scottish Comics that were fun. And a few MA dissertations that I’ve supervised stick in my mind as well.
What advice would you give a Publishing MA student?
Don’t Panic (That’s an SF joke)
A fun fact about yourself.
I collect pink elephant related paraphernalia.
A book that we might be surprised you have read?
Oh wow, that’s a doozy of a question. How am I to interpret this – would you be surprised because it’s not something you would expect me to like, or do we simply mean the sheer perseverance of a long, difficult text, or is this more about introducing the unfamiliar? Is the question designed to propel me towards confessing some inner shame or should I reinforce the idea that there is no such thing as a guilty pleasure? Hmm… I hope this will do…
As far as supervising dissertations go, when students want to consider particular genres or authors I do try to make sure (as far as possible) that I am familiar with the material as well (this does not stretch as far as Harry Potter, do not push me) I did read all of the Hunger Games, Maze Runner, and Divergent YA dystopian series in order to be more familiar with these for studies. I thought the Hunger Games series was quite good.
Shame confession – I managed 20 pages of fifty shades, what’s all the fuss about?
Thank you to Daniel for giving some time to these questions amongst a busy term and lots of marking! If any of his answers have interested you, I’m sure he’d be happy to talk about them further!
Finally, here are the answers to the literature quiz:
1) The Catcher in the Rye
3) Harper Lee
4) Harry Potter and the Goblet of Fire
5) Stephen Hawking
6) Bridget Jones Diary
7) The Adventures of Pinocchio
8) Roald Dahl
9) A Hegdehog
10) Yann Martel