The Students

We’re a publishing house based in the North of England involving students at every stage of the publishing process. Whilst the publishing house is run by Debbie Williams (Director) and Hazel Holmes (Publisher), UCLan Publishing empowers students to “learn on the job” with students in BA Publishing and MA Publishing based within the company and working on producing books as part of their course. Students enjoy first-hand experience of negotiating with buyers, conceiving and running innovative high-level events to leverage sales and running a content creation business enterprise.

The Story

As part of their assessments, the students produce a book as part of their major project. Some of which are selected for print and go on sale on the open market. Two of our bestselling titles, Cold Bath Street and Letters to Africa, started life as student projects.

They are often produced collaboratively working with students from many disciplines and organisations, global communities, charities, authors and artists. The titles produced have been shortlisted for and won significant awards as well as being profiled in the national and international press. 

Our approach to business and teaching has been recognised on both sides of the fence; in industry and also academically. We have won the prestigious Times Higher Award for Innovation in the Arts (2018) and the Independent Publishing Guild’s best newcomer award (2019). As our business continues to grow, so too does the experience our students have upon entering UCLan Publishing and being a part of our unique enterprise and continuing success story.

Cold Bath Street Case Study

Graduate Sam Johnson worked on the project during his MA and has been nominated for a London Book Fair prize as a result.  He said: “Getting regular feedback from a professional author was amazing. His, and my lecturer’s comments, helped pinpoint my areas for improvement as a designer and I learned a lot about using industry standard software.”

In total, four publishing students and one illustration student worked on Cold Bath Street with AJ, who is also an Honorary Fellow of the University.

AJ commented: “It has been a great experience, especially since so much of the editorial work and layout has been done by students, which is really exciting. It received a level of attention few books get with major publishers so I feel very fortunate.

“The illustrations capture the mood of the book very nicely. We looked at a number of different artists early on and I immediately took to Janet’s work because it had a real atmosphere to it. The book is quiet and eerie, so I wanted illustrations which would capture that, but would also be both dramatic and evocative. They do that really well.  It’s a beautifully made book.”

MA Fine Art student Janet Pickering illustrated Cold Bath Street and has since won the Undiscovered Voices Award for illustrators and writers.

AJ returned to his home city for Cold Bath Street’s official launch event at UCLan along with the five students; Laura Collie, Brionee Fenlon, Sam Johnson, Josh Moorby and Janet Pickering.

UCLan Associate Professor of Publishing and Head of the Publishing House Debbie Williams said: “This has been a really exciting collaborative venture. I’m really proud of the students for working so professionally with AJ to produce such a beautiful book which has its heart firmly set in Preston.”

The book was also launched at Foyles in London as part of AJ Hartley’s book tour.  AJ is a bestselling writer of mystery, thriller, fantasy, historical fiction, and young adult novels and is currently the Robinson Professor of Shakespeare studies at the University of North Carolina, Charlotte.

“It has been a great experience, especially since so much of the editorial work and layout has been done by students, which is really exciting. It received a level of attention few books get with major publishers so I feel very fortunate. The illustrations capture the mood of the book very nicely. We looked at a number of different artists early on and I immediately took to Janet’s work because it had a real atmosphere to it. The book is quiet and eerie, so I wanted illustrations which would capture that, but would also be both dramatic and evocative. They do that really well. It’s a beautifully made book.”
A.J. Hartley
Author
“AJ asked me to draw a menacing scene suggesting something sinister without actually showing it. It was a great experience to try a different style and ultimately inspired the piece I submitted for the award.”
Janet Pickering
MA Fine Art
“Getting regular feedback from a professional author was amazing. His, and my lecturer’s comments, helped pinpoint my areas for improvement as a designer and I learned a lot about using industry standard software.”
Sam Johnson
Graduate
“This has been a really exciting collaborative venture. I’m really proud of the students for working so professionally with AJ to produce such a beautiful book which has its heart firmly set in Preston.”
Debbie Williams
Head of Publishing House

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