Francesca Tristan Barbini

MA (Honours) Religious Studies

Francesca Tristan Barbini

Please give a short description of your current job.

Currently, my working life is divided between running Luna Press Publishing and Acting Principal Teacher, teaching RE in a Scottish secondary school.


How did you get your current job?

New College was pivotal in accessing my teaching career. My tutors and teachers opened my eyes to different realities and spiritualties. My love of history and anthropology were certainly appeased. My main focus was the Ancient Near East and I did my dissertation on 'Women in the Dead Sea Scroll', under the expertise of Professor Timothy Lim. It was also in New College that the first steps towards funding Luna Press Publishing were taken. It took a few years but eventually in 2015 I began trading. We focus on Fantasy, Dark Fantasy and Science Fiction, in both fiction and academia. We publish PhDs, we do an annual Call for Papers and we publish research, all under the roof of Academia Lunare.


What do you enjoy most about your current role?

Both jobs are truly in tune with me: I'm always on my toes, challenged by young minds and surrounded by talented writers and artists. I am constantly developing both leadership and managerial skills, and this brings a great sense of accomplishment.


What experience do you feel helped you get you where you are now? 

My MA Hons in Religious Studies at New College followed my PGDE at Moray House, were essential for my teaching career. I have also volunteered around the world since I was a teenager, and that allowed me to appreciate different cultures and faiths, which is why I chose that degree. The Academic skills have also helped me develop Academia Lunare, the academic arm of Luna Press. I couldn't have done that without my years in New College.


What general advice would you offer students making career decisions today?

I would say two things: You can be more than one thing, and follow your heart. Work takes up a huge amount of our lifespan - you owe it to yourself to do something that makes you feel good, happy and accomplished. See when Monday arrives and I hear people complaining about their week ahead? I simply don't understand them. We have the power to direct our lives and to follow our dreams, often with sacrifices, sure. Pick your path, commit to it and go to work with a smile! When was the last time you felt excited to go to work? If you can't remember, I'd reconsider your options.


What is your best memory of your time at New College?

The building itself brings so many memories: socialising in the Rainy (Harry Potter, as we called it) Hall, and looking for books in the underground of the library. Many students never came back...  


Children's author

Her first science-fiction book for children, Tijaran Tales: White Child (July 2011), has been well received, and she is already working on the second instalment of the story. Both spiritual and scientific, White Child is also, according to initial reviews, a rip-roaring good read. Francesca herself describes her book as “Harry Potter meets the X-men in Star Wars”.

In White Child, Francesca's love of fantasy fiction has combined with her experience of teaching teenagers to produce an out-of-this-world story which nevertheless deals with some very real-world issues. The protagonist, 12 year old Julius McCoy, not only must do battle with an evil Queen, but must also undergo the usual trials of growing up. As the adventure progresses, he discovers the joy of friendship, and learns to stand up for the right.