Placement Proceeding

I feel a bit behind others who are already up and running, but my placement at Sandstone Press in Dingwall is now all sorted, to start on 18th February. I’m really excited, especially having looked at their site and seen some of their great books. I’m interested to see Cameron McNeish there, an outdoorsy person after my own heart – although he literally walks the walk, while I tend  to talk the talk. I’ve also been promised an interview with Moira Forsyth, the editorial director, as she wears her other hat of author of five novels. It feels good to have things on the move.

Hania Allen interview by Chris Hodghton

I interviewed the fabulous crime writing author Hania Allen at the DCA this morning. If you’ve not read her novels … I would certainly recommend them. Her latest ones, The Polish Detective and Clearing the Dark are gripping and layered with detail. They are set in Dundee. I now just need to get a map as a non-Dundonian and find the settings for the scenes… 😊

Edits, Drafts & Rock ‘n’ Roll- Interning With New Haven Publishing Ltd.

I never thought I’d be working for a cool, international publisher, but here I am!

The first of my two internships/placements is with New Haven Publishing Ltd. New Haven is an international publisher which focuses primarily on music and entertainment publishing. New Haven has over 100 active titles from 55 authors, including some of the coolest names in the media industry such as, rock icon Suzi Quatro and pop idol turned actor Luke Goss.

This virtual internship began at the start of the year when I spoke with Teddie Dahlin,  N.H.’s owner, managing director and first author. Teddie set up N.H. in 2012 to publish her book about her friendship with Sid Vicious of the Sex Pistols – I know, cool, right?!

Although the company is quite young, N.H has become a large international publisher with authors from across the globe and an equally widespread distribution. While Teddie is based in Norway, N.H. is a UK company. She has two other companies, New Haven US and Phoenix Press, which is dedicated to crime writing and also in the UK.

New Haven also has a press dedicated to crime writing.

So, you can imagine my excitement when Teddie agreed to have me on board. It seems both of us are treading on new ground, since she has never had an intern before, let alone a virtual one.

In the first few weeks, I’ve learned the basics of how N.H. acquires its authors; from submission, to signing the contract and sending a raw manuscript to Teddie.

This is where I come in.

My first job for Teddie was simple but crucial. She asked me to read a raw M.S. for clarity and give my opinions on it. In this case, she suspected it needed an editor and she was right.

Another book published by New Haven – ‘Fast Living – Remembering The Real Gary Holton’ by Teddie Dahlin

It was a great way of easing into things, but now it gets more interesting. New Haven also publishes e-books so, my next task is to prepare a completed manuscript for digital publication.

My first thought is, “Oh god, how do I do that?”

But there’s plenty of support at N.H. and I’ve been given a template to follow. Despite the nerves, I’m excited to learn and pick up some handy new skills. Fingers crossed it goes well!

Come back in a week or so to see how I’m doing…

If you can’t wait to read more of my work, head over to my brand new website.
It looks pretty slick if I do say so myself!

H.M. Hussain

Pub B – Caithness

Caithness Work Placement – Publishing B

28 Jan 19: What a journey it has been just to start bringing my work placements together and the logistics of email conversations. I have spent about ten days researching and planning what dates I can do; what I can do at the venues and various other pieces to ensure I get the fullest experience in the North of Scotland. So, one thing that I can reflect on is that planning and logistics is a time-consuming process!  I am super excited to be going to a great venue in March in the delightful North (see map below). You can have a little sneak peek here if you want to know more about Caithness Horizons

I also just signed up to their newsletter. If you plan a little trip to the North one day, it may be good to know the venue is there to visit.

Keep an eye out for further updates as I get more confirmations in the next few days.


Old Books and Found Objects – Vaulted Marvels

Hi all

Been rather busy with my interview out the way and have visited London on Friday 25th January for the Impress Publishing day. I got some interesting insight into Kickstarter and will be writing up about this to pass on to you all. I also helped Rhoda finalise the social media and if you see her post all the links are working and the facebook link is active for those who love to FB.

I updated my older blog entry  to show the move to “Vaulted Marvels” as we are covering a range of books in the archives and not the Brechin Collection only. Also, this morning I donated to the PayPal link as it is active to take any amount large to small! Paypal to me is the best option because 100% of the money you give will go to the project.

Rhoda is fully set as the social media mogul and my job is done in that area. I will now focus on my role in Caithness in March.

Rhoda’s update can be found here:



#FlashFictionFriday coming soon!

My first full day at Glasgow Women’s Library is in the bag!  An interesting and varied day began with an introduction to the library, its history, value base, scope of projects, policy framework and overview of the team and who does what.  Thankfully,  I was also given a crash course in Twitter.  I’ll be using this platform in coming weeks as a vehicle for the flash fiction project and I’m a rookie when it comes to the ways of the Tweet!

After lunch I sat in on a planning meeting for the 2019 Open the Door festival, the library’s own literary festival which aims to put women’s writing to the fore and break down barriers between writer and reader using an innovative format.  It is named after Catherine Carswell’s novel published in 1920 and is now in its third year.  Discover more about the exciting programmes offered in previous years here:

Open the Door


It was fascinating to listen to discussion of ideas for the 2019 festival, which will take place on Friday 17th and Saturday 18th May.   I’m already thinking I’d like to catch some of the literary action that weekend!  I’ll post more details here as they are formalised.

Hot on the heels of this meeting, I caught up with with Samantha and Jasmin, two post-graduate students on the Museum Studies Masters course at Glasgow University.  They are involved in supporting the GWL Decoding Inequality project which will apply a feminist interpretation to a collection of objects from the library archive to create a  new body of innovative object interpretation and a temporary exhibition.  The exhibition will be launched on 6th March to concide with the pop-up exhibition at the library of Self Portrait as Saint Catherine of Alexandria by Artemisia Gentileschi 

Rare Artemisia Gentileschi Self Portrait to Tour to GWL in March 2019

There will be an accompanying community learning programme, outreach handling resource and an online digital collection and interpretation resource.  Friday 15th March sees  the launch of the sectoral report at a Decoding Inequality event, sharing this equalities-led approach to object interpretation with museum and archive colleagues in the sector and beyond.

My final activity for the day was to make a foray into the archive with Hannah to identify some objects which can be used as writing prompts for #FlashFictionFriday over the course of my placement.  With limited time available today we unearthed a few possible items ranging from 1950’s annuals for girls to women’s roller-derby artefacts.  Next week I hope to discover more intriguing materials to stimulate the creative imagination and to prepare the ground in readiness for our first flash fiction submissions .

For those unfamiliar with Glasgow Women’s Library, lots of information about the library, the archives, current projects, programmes and activities available here:

About Us



Reshuffle, or RE: Shuffle

I got word yesterday that the name we’d been blithely calling the project  which we are diving on in the Archives, was not acceptable to all. So, the old name of the “Brechin Collection” had to go,  a new name be concocted, week old accounts updated or closed, new accounts opened, etc.

As the Cabinet of Curiosities or Wonder Room is our developing format for writing up our distillations, I would have gladly used either term for our new name, but it might surprise you to know just how popular the idea is. It’s popular enough that neither name was available. Notwithstanding the danger of sending browsers into Superhero Expectancy (not a proven illness), Vaulted Marvels is the nearest I could come to the other two terms and also fit into Twitter’s character limit.

With Michele’s invaluable help, Twitter, PayPal, and Facebook are now operating. I have still to set up the gofundme page, which I intend to do tomorrow.

Here are some links:                                                                                                                                            Facebook–

Twitter–                                                                                          PayPal–

Hope those all get you to where you want to go.

In other related news, in the last ten days I have met with Caroline Brown, Archivist; the University Printer and Artist Wrangler, Tommy Perman; the Winter Simpson rep, Jim Brown, who will be bidding on our envelope/book cover; and am due to meet with Rebecca Brown, tomorrow, who is interested in making a film of our collaborative efforts. Also, meeting with Gail to discuss the timeline.

Hope it’s safe to say:                  Thunderbirds are Go!

In pursuit of Vagabonds in Ibrox!

After a quiet December over-indulging on Netflix, mid-January is witness to a wee bit more street activity with me taking the Glasgow subway (underground railway to the uninitiated) from Partick to Ibrox to make the acquaintance of Allan Cameron, owner of Vagabond Voices, a small independent publishing house in Govan. Over the coming weeks, I’ll be spending my internship with Allan learning about the various aspects of the business – from commissioning new works to marketing strategies.  In the meantime, I have been tasked with the job of writing a blurb for a new anthology of prisoners’ writings so right in at the deep end with this one!  Watch this space! TV OFF!!!

A grand day out in Glasgow and Susan Calman’s Hat

HO, HO, HO ….the festive season approaches and Semester 1 draws to an end. I have a hurried e-mail conversation with Hannah at Glasgow Women’s Library about my prospective internship in Semester 2. Let’s meet, we agree. Early in the new year before everything gets too busy. Brilliant. We put a date in the diary. I’m feeling very organised and it’s not even Christmas yet.

I ring a friend. “Do you fancy a day out in Glasgow? I’m going to the Women’s Library.”

“Oh please, I’ve always wanted to go. It’s been on my list for years.”

“That’s settled then. Don’t forget your bus pass.”

With Twelfth Night behind us and Semester 2 looming ahead, we arrive in Laundressy Street and are made most welcome at the library. As my friend explores, I meet with Hannah to discuss the detail of the forthcoming internship. I shall spend the next ten Fridays here and my focus will be #FlashFictionFriday – encouraging women to submit short pieces of fiction online using prompts to be sourced from the library archive. This is great news and I try to contain the urge to babble with excitement.  I don’t want to alarm Hannah.  Instead, I focus on taking in the unique atmosphere here. The lending library consists mostly of donated books and free copies of significant texts blagged from publishers. The siren shelves sparkle with the stripey spines of Women’s Press Fiction and glow green with Virago Modern Classics. It feels comfortable and familiar  and  I want to stay all day,  looking at books. But there is much more to see and discover about this space which celebrates the lives and achievements of women whilst championing their contribution to Scottish Culture. Hannah gives me an overview of the many projects undertaken by GWL – events, groups, activities, learning programmes, outreach projects but then asks if I would like to see the archive. And would my friend like to come along? I search for her and find her devouring information about Women’s Heritage Walks.  We must come back and investigate some of these, she says.

Waves of wonder and nostalgia sweep over us as Hannah guides us through the stacks, randomly opening boxes to reveal the treasures within. Members of the public donate much of the archive materials so there are are boxes of photographs and memorabilia relating both to individuals and to social, civic and community groups. Also here are complete back collections of feminist publications like Spare Rib and Harpies and Quines ( oh, the memories!….) We look at some placards made recently by a group of female prison inmates as part of a women’s history project and spy a lone top-hat sitting on one of the shelves.

“Oh…that’s Susan Calman’s hat from Strictly Come Dancing,” says Hannah, “Susan is a regular donor.” We are impressed.

Do they ever refuse donations, we wonder? Hannah tells us they’ve had to politely turn away more knitting patterns as there is limited space to store them.

My friend and I resist the urge to stay all day. We thank Hannah and I tell her with complete sincerity that I can’t wait to come back. We venture forth to search for lunch in Bridgeton. As we eat, we ask ourselves how a pair of ageing feminists have managed to avoid the lure of the Women’s Library for so long. We have no idea but agree that we’ll both be back.

Diving on the Archives

The first “dive” of the Brechin Book Project is tomorrow!

I met with Archivist Caroline Brown last Friday and got a quick preview of what we’ll be seeing, feeling, etc. The collection is impressive, to say the least, and expansive in that it covers not just subjects theological, but everything from Anatomy to Botany to Politics and Society (as in the Tatler) of the day. And that’s the contents. There are many, many cloth bound books but equally many rather lovely (and some stunning) leather bindings together with coloured engravings that will make you go, “Ah!”

But I don’t want to jinx your experience with the Brechin Collection, by gushing any more. Here’s a photo of what sort of thing to expect.

(As we’re allowed limited amount of space for Media in this blog, hope that’s enough to whet your appetites.)

In news of the same vein, a few people have asked where we’re actually meeting tomorrow and how to find it. How to find Archives: Downstairs in the Tower Building. There are signs pointing you away from IT and toward Archives (left turn at bottom of stairs). Easy peasy.

Michele and Brenda are meeting the 11:00 crowd in the Library Coffee Shop at 10:30. If you can’t make that, you can go directly to the Archives reception at 11:00.

For the 12:00 batch, I thought it would be easy to meet in the Lobby at about 11:50 and go down together, but again, you can also turn up at the witching hour in the Archives themselves. For variety’s sake, I will be in the Tower Café from around 11:20 for anyone who want to meet up there first.

Finally, a wee reminder as to who signed up when:

11:00-12:00: Nicole, Hammy, Michele, Brenda, Chris, Kai

12:00-13:00: Loreta, Geraldine, Sue, Elaine, Rhoda, Jane, Ian, and Hannah.

Jeannie is the only person I haven’t heard back from.

Look forward to seeing you all tomorrow, if only in passing!