Ever Dundas from Edinburgh graduated with a first class BSc (Hons) Psychology and Sociology from QMU in 2009.
Why did you decide to study at QMU?
“I had a terrible time in high school and didn’t do well academically. After leaving school, I ended up in various soul-destroying office jobs. I read voraciously, both fiction and non-fiction and would describe myself as self-taught – I got much more out of reading than I did out of high school.
“In my early twenties, my sister encouraged me to do Open University courses – for the first time in my life I loved studying and did well. This gave me the confidence to apply to university and I was so pleased when I was accepted at QMU, if a little terrified.”
What were the highlights of your time at QMU?
“Despite doing well on my Open University courses, my school experience stayed with me and I was worried I wouldn’t cope at university, but to my surprise I kept getting good grades. When I graduated with a first class degree, it was one of the best moments of my life.
“I loved studying sociology and my favourite class was Queer Theory with John Docherty-Hughes, who’s a Senior Lecturer in Sociology & Social Policy in the Psychology and Sociology Division at QMU. He’s a brilliant, astute, encouraging and funny teacher.
“I also volunteered for the Edinburgh Self-Harm Project (a branch of Penumbra), running a weekly Art Group over the summers of 2006, 2007 and 2008. In 2009, I won a Santander Universities award for my volunteer work.”
How has your QMU degree helped you progress your career?
“My Psychology and Sociology degree has fed into my creative writing, particularly Queer Theory, which forms the backbone of my work. Queer Theory was born out of LGBT activism, but it isn’t only about sexuality – it’s about problematising what we consider to be ‘normal’. Ben Okri sums up my aim in writing: “The novel constantly challenges us to see that the way that we're told the world is, is not the way the world is."
What is your top tip for future students?
“Because of my problems at school, I never thought I would get to university. My advice would be don’t waste the opportunity. Being at university is a privilege.”
What have you been doing since graduating from QMU?
“After I graduated from QMU in 2009, I went on to do a master’s in Creative Writing at Edinburgh Napier University. I graduated in 2011 with a Distinction and won the class medal. Since graduating, I’ve had various short stories and non-fiction published in anthologies and online and my work been shortlisted for awards.
“My ambition was to be a published novelist since I was seven years old. Because of my trouble at school and lack of confidence, it took me a long time to pursue this ambition. It feels so strange that my childhood dream has finally been achieved.
“My novel, Goblin, was published in May 2017 and won the Saltire First Book Award 2017. My publisher describes Goblin as: ‘Ian McEwan’s Atonement meets Guillermo del Toro’s Pan’s Labyrinth in this extraordinary debut.’
“In 2010 I fell ill with fibromyalgia (chronic pain, exhaustion, cognitive difficulties), though I wasn’t diagnosed until 2013. I had to give up my part-time office job, but the flexibility of a writing career means that I’m able to manage this illness and work around it, although it’s difficult to do the myriad of things most writers do to make ends meet and travelling can be stressful.
“Creative Scotland has awarded me funding to finish my second novel, HellSans, a sci-fi thriller with disabled and queer protagonists, which will be finished December 2018.
"Since graduating, I’ve had various short stories and non-fiction published in anthologies and online and my work been shortlisted for awards."
Story Published in 2017