National Trust unveils publishing partnership with Falmouth University

National Trust unveils publishing partnership with Falmouth University

The “first collaborative publishing venture of its kind” between the National Trust and Falmouth University has been unveiled.

The project includes a specially-commissioned story from novelist Wyl Menmuir and aims to “encourages fresh perspectives and makes connections between the [publishing] industry and students”.

The “darkly atmospheric” 5,000-word ghost story follows a young couple on honeymoon who set out to explore Cheddar Gorge, the limestone gorge in the Mendip Hills, only to find themselves separated from each other as the caves close in around them.

In Dark Places included input from 10 Falmouth students across commissioning, editorial, illustration, production and marketing. The students also helped market and publicise the book, which will be launched at the National Trust’s South West Outdoors Festival in Cheddar next month.

The paperback book includes illustrations from Falmouth student Emma Butcher, retailing at £5, and is the “first collaborative publishing venture of its kind” according to a National Trust spokesperson.

(from left) Falmouth University’s Luke Thompson, Anna Kiernan, National Trust publisher Katie Bond, writer in residence Wyl Menmuir, student, Falmouth University’s Niamh Downing, student and SW Outdoor Festival event director Patrick Kinsella. 

National Trust’s publisher, Katie Bond, devised the scheme with Dr Niamh Downing, head of English & Writing at Falmouth University after Menmuir joined the faculty’s writer-in-residence programme earlier this year.

Bond, who was previously Bloomsbury’s director of trade marketing and publicity, hopes the project will introduce young people to the "lifeblood of publishing".

She said: “I’m delighted to be working with Falmouth University English Literature students to publish a brilliant short story by Wyl Menmuir and introduce them to  the mutual pleasure and pride in creating a wonderful book – the lifeblood of publishing."

Bond hopes the project will inspire change across the industry and encourage a wider demographic to join. She said: "I believe this collaboration is the first of its kind in the industry but I hope it will inspire many more. It opens up publishing to a wider student demographic than the restrictions of work experience in London publishing houses."

Bond joined the National Trust in 2014 to help the conservation organisation develop in "exciting and creative ways". She has written more about the project in a blog for The Bookseller here.

In Dark Places will be launched at the South West Outdoors Festival which runs from September 8th to 10th.