Kirkcaldy poet uses crowdfunding in bid to secure Cambridge place

Michael Grieve is appealing for help
Michael Grieve is appealing for help

A Kirkcaldy man has almost fulfilled a dream by securing a prized place at Cambridge University...there’s just £6000 standing in his way.

But Michael Grieve has hit upon a novel solution - he’ll write you a poem if you pledge him some cash. Just don’t ask for an epic!

The 21 year-old, who hopes to take up an M.Phil in English Studies (Criticism and Culture) after the summer, started a crowdfunding campaign last week which has already reached £3250.

It’s a fantastic start for the St Andrews University student who’s due to graduate with a first class honours in English soon.

He admitted he was amazed by the response.

“The reaction in the first few days was astounding,” he said.

“Val McDermid has even chipped in and pledged £100.”

The former head boy at Kirkcaldy High School applied for the postgraduate course at Cambridge last year and was genuinely surprised to be accepted.

The course costs £9468 but Michael was unable to secure a scholarship and, being Scottish, couldn’t apply for a postgraduate loan.

Furthermore, Cambridge bans students from undertaking paid work while studying and asks for full course fees upfront.

Michael managed to save some funds while working as a childminder and also saved some of his Fife Dux award. He’s also a seasoned poet and performs with St Andrews University’s improvised comedy group, Blind Mirth so wasn’t afraid of going public to raise the shortfall.

In fact, if Val McDermid wasn’t moved by his heartfelt online plea, she might have been persuaded by some random alligator-inspired hilarity towards the end of the crowdfunding clip...

“The speech was the primary driving force but that alone could have been a bit saccharine,” Michael admits, laughing.

So far he has 88 backers yet only a handful have taken up his offer of a bespoke poem, which he promises to write regardless of whether someone pledges 50p or £50.

“Yeah, not that many, “ he said. “I was sort of expecting a bit more!”