Notre Dame’s students were treated to a talk from freelance writer Richard Smyth on May 18.
Richard is the author of eight books of non-fiction as well as two published novels and an impressive number of short stories, including Maykopsky District, Adyghe Oblast, which was shortlisted for the BBC Short Story Award. He writes features, reviews and comment pieces for publications including The Guardian and The Times Literary Supplement. His crosswords appear regularly in a variety of publications, and he’s been part of the team that sets questions for BBC Mastermind.
Richard began his talk by explaining how his career progressed to the point where he became a freelancer. He stressed the importance of meeting and talking to as many people in the industry as possible to build a strong network of contacts, and the need to be resilient and open minded, as well as good at what you do.
As several students in his audience were part of the Notre Dame student newspaper team, Richard told them this experience of journalism would help them develop the skills, quality of work and integrity needed to pursue a related career. He also told them to aim high in terms of where they submitted their work, as editors appreciate good writing delivered on time.
He explained that being a freelancer means he has control over the work he does, and gets to be part of unexpected projects, so it’s an enjoyable and interesting way to make a living.
College librarian Dan Giddy said, “Richard's talk about his experiences working as a writer were of great interest to our students. They had lots of questions about his freelancing work, how the journalism and publishing industries hire authors, and how to approach their own writing. Our students were engaged and enthused at the event. We will certainly be inviting Richard back next academic year to talk to our newly enrolled students, plus looking to invite other writers and speakers throughout the year.”
We hope this will be the first in a series of events offered in the Notre Dame library.