Former primary school teacher-turned-writer Alison Mott says ‘Loughborough University has been part of my life forever. As a child I watched the buildings grow against the skyline from our front room windows and played in the grounds around its edges, scrumping the odd apple and avoiding the security men at all costs. Later, I’d walk up to meet my mother from her job as a cleaner there, and I worked as a secretary in two different University departments.” From 1988 to 1991 Alison studied at Loughborough for a BA in English followed by a PGCE in Education. “Almost twenty years later I came back to study part-time for an MA in Creative Writing. You could say that Loughborough University has helped develop my career at almost every stage of my working life.”
Alison enjoyed her years in teaching. She says, “I had twenty-one fantastic years teaching primary children. My last role in education was promoting inclusion and supporting the achievement of ethnic minority pupils, interests which very much evolved from concepts I first encountered way back when I studied for my BA. Alison’s interests have continued to develop, including her passion for writing: “I now work as a writer and freelance creative, and will soon also be working part-time as a researcher in the heritage field. Someone complemented me recently on my research skills. I would never have developed them to the level they are now without studying for the Masters.”
Writing isn’t a new passion for Alison, but something she’s always aspired to do, although she didn’t know whether she could make a living from it. She says, “I’ve wanted to be a writer for as long as I can remember but never gave it a serious try, thinking the options were either to be a bestselling author or to starve.” Studying for the Creative Writing MA at Loughborough changed her perspective on this. “Within a month of starting the course we’d met writers who were neither bestselling nor starving, but managing to earn themselves a decent living. Within six months I had a rough plan of the way I wanted my creative life to pan out.”
Alison has embraced her new career as a writer and is enjoying success already. She says, “so far, things are going well. I have a commissioned piece of writing coming out shortly which will be sold worldwide, a number of creative projects with young people coming up and my own writing project is developing well. It’s been hard work but fantastic fun. And the continued advice and support I’ve had from the University has been invaluable.”
Alison certainly recommends Loughborough as a place to study, develop and gain a critical edge in future careers, especially those requiring creativity. “A degree in English can take you anywhere with a bit of creative thinking, and English and Drama students have creativity in bucket loads! But success is about more than just gaining a qualification. It’s about the personal development you go through on the journey you take to get it.”
Article published on Loughborough University website’s English and Drama ‘Meet our graduates’ page, January 2014.