Writing Advice from a Royal Literary Fund Fellow

A free, confidential service to help you improve your writing skills

RLF fellows are professional, published writers placed in universities throughout the UK to advise students on their academic writing.

We are privileged to have two RLF Fellows working with us here in SLD.

Undergraduate and postgraduate taught students in any College can make an appointment with either Fellow to talk about their academic writing and editing.

Sessions are for 50 minutes and take place on campus during term time.

It’s best to visit the Writing Fellow some way ahead of a deadline, so you have time to apply any advice you might receive.

You may see a Writing Fellow as many times as you need, but only make one appointment at a time. 


Students from across the UK talk about their experiences of working with RLF Fellows

Dr Vanessa Collingridge

Dr Vanessa Collingridge is a broadcaster, journalist and writer, specialising in science, history and the environment. She has spent the last 30 years working in television and radio in all seven continents on earth. Her first book - the bestselling biography Captain Cook (Ebury Press/Random House, 2002) - was made into a multi-award-winning drama-documentary series (which she co-wrote and presented) and screened around the world. Her other books include the biography Boudica: The True Story of Britain’s Warrior Queen (Ebury Press, 2006) and the illustrated popular history The Story of Australia (Carlton Press, 2008). She has contributed to a range of books on exploration, history, mapping, and landscape, including The Great Journeys in History (Thames & Hudson, 2006) and The Great Explorers (Thames & Hudson, 2010), alongside academic books and journal articles on everything from travel writing to fake news and feminism.

Alongside her broadcasting, writing and academic work, Vanessa works as an impact coach helping people to improve the clarity and impact of their written and spoken communications. She is also a TEDx Speaker Coach and teaches impact and communication skills at universities and business schools around the world.

Vanessa is happy working across both the sciences and the arts, and enjoys de-tangling muddled writing to find its true narrative line. She believes all writing should be clear, concise and compelling. Her maxim is that good structure - and storytelling with a purpose - is at the heart of great writing.

Jim Carruth

Jim Carruth is a poet, editor and awards and events programmer. His first pamphlet, Bovine Pastoral, came out in 2004 and was followed by a further four chapbooks which formed the Haltered Chronicles sequence. Killochries, a verse novella published in 2015, was shortlisted for the Saltire Scottish Poetry Book of the Year, the Seamus Heaney Centre for Poetry prize and the Fenton Aldeburgh prize for first collection. Far Field (Polygon, 2023) was the final book in the Auchensale trilogy following Black Cart and Bale Fire. The three books explore the changing rural landscape and the experiences of those who work there.

Jim has collaborated with several musicians and artists. The fruit of his ongoing partnership with sculptor Andy Scott can be seen in the works Lifeline (2007), Arria (2011) and The Kelpies (2014). He was awarded a Robert Louis Stevenson Fellowship in 2009 and has been the winner of the McCash poetry prize, the McLellan poetry prize and the Callum Macdonald Memorial award.

Jim has extensive experience in learning across the fields of science, health, business and the arts and is keen to help students across the university with their writing.

In doing so he is happy to provide support with everything from understanding the question, planning, essay structure and building the argument through to the use of language, punctuation and sentence construction. He believes clarity and flow are key to keeping the reader engaged in any kind of writing.

Information about the Royal Literary Fund Fellows and their work in Higher Education.