UCLan’s MA Students host Mad Tea Party

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By Ellie Sutcliffe- Reporter


Let me pose you a riddle. Where can you be greeted by the White Rabbit, served tarts by the Queen of Hearts and drink tea with the Cheshire Cat? Why, UCLan of course!

A group of MA Publishing students recently hosted an exciting event in Wonderland, or more precisely Scholars, for a very Mad Tea Party. Author Cathy Cassidy attended, treating guests to a reading of her new book ‘Looking Glass Girl’.

The book features a new twist in the tale of Alice in Wonderland, placing her in the 21st Century and into the world of the modern teenager. Cathy’s Alice is a schoolgirl and a loner who is savagely bullied by her peers. The story begins as Alice is injured following a cruel prank at a party where Alice is knocked unconscious and wakes up in a very familiar place, Wonderland.

Cathy explained that the book felt like a very organic process and, as a lifelong lover of Alice’s Adventures, she knew that she wanted to tell a very different type of story while paying homage to Lewis Carroll’s original creation. The book had a lot of meaning for Cathy personally and she said that she put a lot of herself in it.

Guests were treated to a feast of sandwiches, cakes and prosecco while Cathy read the first chapter of her book. UCLan also generously provided a copy of the book to all guests, which Cathy kindly signed.

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The event was organised as part of a project within the MA Publishing Programme designed to showcase the skills required for a career in publishing. Skills such as event management, publicity, PR and, most importantly, looking after your author. Similarly, another group of MA students held a Q&A event earlier in June with a panel of professionals from publishing houses such as Random House, Manchester University Press and Harper Voyage who discussed the varied careers available in the field.

Both events were hugely useful for me as a first year Creative Writing student. Cathy’s book signing gave me a first-hand glimpse of the world of a published author. Similarly, the Q&A was also hugely informative, particularly in learning of the many different career paths available and the competitive nature of the job market.

It will certainly be an area of consideration for many as they head towards the end of their degree.

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