Tag Archives: job profiles

5 Great Reasons to Work in Academic Publishing

Today marks the end of Academic Book Week 2018 (#AcBookWeek), which is ‘a week-long celebration of the diversity, variety and influence of academic books aiming to open up a dialogue between the makers, providers and readers of academic books.’

Academic publishers produce and sell scholarly journals, books, eBooks, text books and reference works for researchers, students and academic libraries. We work with a lot of academic publishers on a variety of roles, from Editors to Marketing gurus to Production Controllers to Salespeople, in permanent, temporary and freelance positions. It’s an exciting and rewarding industry to be in, and here’s why:

  1. You work on cutting-edge research from top academics. The articles and books you publish will help teach new generations of students, and may even revolutionise the field. You could even publish work on sociology and politics which helps to shape public policy. If you’re looking for a rewarding career that makes a difference, academic publishing could be for you.
  2. Use your strong academic background in a related field. Your humanities or arts degree or postgraduate degree will be invaluable in an editorial role in academic publishing, so you can continue working on the subjects you love. (N.b. you do NOT need a PhD to work in academic publishing, but it is an advantage in some areas. A keen interest in the subject area is essential.)
  3. In a world of fake news and the devaluation of experts, be part of an industry which values intellectual rigour and research integrity through peer review processes.
  4. Be at the centre of exciting debates and advances in the industry. Join the debate on Open-Access or be at the forefront of technological advances in academic materials and e-learning. If you’re into tech and finding new ways of engaging digitally-savvy audiences, academic publishing is an exciting place to be.
  5. While it’s not all about the money, the salaries are often higher in academic publishing than in other sectors like trade.

So what’s your favourite thing about working in academic publishing?

For more information about what academic publishing is and how you can get into it, see our blog posts here and here.

To see our current academic vacancies, click here.

Leave a Comment

Filed under Advice, Industry News & Events

Kayleigh Pullinger: Interview with a Book Designer

This is an interview with Kayleigh Pullinger, Designer at emc design. emc design is the largest design agency dedicated to book publishing in the UK. Kayleigh joined emc in 2017 after earning her designer’s stripes in the big city. Although new to book design, she is excited to learn new skills and over the moon that she can now spend more time with her lopsided pet rabbit (Bobbity) instead of commuting.

1) How did you start your career? And do you have any tips for people wanting to cross over from graphic to book design?

My first job was working as an in-house designer for a charity, followed by two jobs working for design agencies with clients varying from independent start-ups to big FTSE100 corporates.

My tips to those who’d like to cross over from graphic design to book design would be to familiarise yourself with inDesign as much as possible, and brush up on your basic Photoshop skills. Knowing the software that you’ll use day in day out will speed you up and free some headspace for getting creative with the realia (realia is the term used for images on the page, used to illustrate a language learning point). Start looking at the world around you, which, as designers, you probably do anyway. Take notice of how websites work, what makes an online article look different to one in a magazine? Study the pizza menu next time you’re out and about and make a mental note of how the menu is designed. All these little things help in really unexpected places.

2) What are your favourite and least favourite parts of your job?

My favourite part of my job is definitely styling realia, closely followed by a good stint of text formatting. I love how quickly you can go from a completely unstyled page of text to something visually engaging. I have to say that my least favourite part of my job is checking my own proofs, as I’m terrified of missing a big blunder.

3) If you could travel five years back in time, what advice would you give yourself?

Don’t panic if what you’re doing feels unfulfilling at the time, it’s all a learning curve, and eventually you’ll end up doing something that engages you properly. Take your time over every job, no matter how small. Get off the internet and go out into the world more, to museums and galleries and concerts and even just down the road.

4) Who do you admire and why?

Jessica Hische is my hero. She’s a lettering artist and illustrator, which is a far cry from what I do, but her career path and drive inspire me. She also keeps a lot of personal projects on the boil, which I think really helps keeps your creative cogs oiled. Oh, and she can code too!

5) Will you be at London Book Fair and if so, what are you most looking forward to? 

I won’t be personally this year, but some of my emc design colleagues are going down, so feel free to say hello to John and Ben.

Bonus Q: What book characters would you invite to your fantasy literary dinner party?

Being a child of the Harry Potter generation, I’m definitely inviting Albus Dumbledore, Luna Lovegood and Dobby. Let’s also throw in Anne Elliot, Lyra and  Marvin the Paranoid Android to mix it up a bit.

Thanks Kayleigh for taking the time to answer our questions! You’ve made me want to try my hand at book design now…

Leave a Comment

Filed under Hot Seat, Industry Voices

What I’ve Learnt from working at Atwood Tate as Administrator & Social Media Coordinator

Working at Atwood Tate
What I’ve Learnt working as Administrator & Social Media Coordinator at Atwood Tate

In July 2016 I joined Atwood Tate as a maternity cover Administrator. In October I was made permanent as the Administrator and Social Media Coordinator. Sadly I am now leaving the company which I have absolutely loved working for, for an exciting opportunity working as a Marketing and Publicity Executive at a Trade publishing house.

As Administrator, and later Social Media Coordinator, I have learnt a lot during my time at Atwood Tate! From the different publishing sectors to the true cost of London commuting!

Upon leaving University in May 2016 I hectically began applying for numerous jobs and work experience placements within publishing and had first-hand experience of the difficulty of breaking into this industry.

Publishing is an increasingly competitive world to enter into and often candidates requires a lot of experience to get an entry-level job. With work experience placements often over-subscribed and most not covering more than expenses, it was sometimes difficult to add extra work experience to my CV. Instead I developed my skills within blogging, social media and coding which eventually led to me gaining a few interviews.

If you want to learn more about how blogging, YouTubing and Coding/HTML can help make your CV’s stand out take a look at our blog posts on these subjects!

I was lucky enough to come across a vacancy at Atwood Tate and attended an interview for the role. I was later offered the position of Administrator and jumped at the opportunity to be working within the publishing industry on the recruitment side of things.

Working in recruitment is a great way to learn about the industry and to network with a lot of people working within it.

Ultimately, I’ve decided to return to my roots within publishing, but during my time at Atwood Tate I have learnt many things about this industry and have had a great time doing so:

What I’ve Learnt Working at Atwood Tate:

  • There are more sectors in publishing that just Trade, Academic and Educational. This includes: B2B (Business to Business), STM (Science Technical and Medical) and Professional publishing. These sectors are just as exciting as the three I knew about prior to joining, and are a great place to build experience and learn more about publishing.
  • Also, there are a lot more roles within publishing than just editorial. A lot of people are looking to enter Editorial positions when they first apply for publishing roles, but Publicity, Sales, Rights and many other job roles are just as engrossing and immersive within the industry
  • Recruitment Companies, such as Atwood Tate, are a great resource for job-hunters, both experienced and entry-level. Even if Atwood Tate have no available roles for entry-level candidates we have created resources for entry-level candidates across our social media and on our website. This includes fortnightly Q&As, a work experience resources page, quick email responses to inquiries and regular helpful blog posts on job applications, temping and skills development.
  • Publishing Recruitment is just as immersive as working in a publishing house. When I first joined Atwood Tate I wanted to meet people within publishing, and develop my networking abilities. Since starting I have gone to numerous Society of Young Publishers event, attended the London Book Fair and LBF seminars, gone to the Borough Book Bash and generally communicated with publishing houses and publishers via our Social Media accounts
  • And last but not least, one of the best things I’ve learnt from working at Atwood Tate: helping people to find a job within publishing is a fantastic feeling.

Not only have I met some great people outside of the office but I have also made some fantastic friends within the company as well – mostly from bringing in copious amounts of cake!

One of the best bits of feedback we can receive from candidates and clients alike is about how friendly they find the staff at Atwood Tate, and it’s true! I may be biased but the main aim of everyone at Atwood Tate is to get our candidates their dream jobs, and clients their dream employees. And to give advice during the times that we’re waiting for those jobs to come in.

I’m leaving Atwood Tate in the full knowledge that if I ever need a new job in future I will be in safe hands when coming to them.

I also leave behind our new social media which I have had the great responsibility and joy of developing, including our YouTube Channel and Instagram. I leave this in the capable hands of our new Administrator and Social Media Coordinator: Andrew Willis.

You’ll be hearing more about Andrew in the coming week! So watch out for that.

For now I leave Atwood Tate with huge thanks for the wonderful opportunities and experiences I have had. And best of luck to our new Administrator Andrew, who’s going to do a wonderful job!

 

Leave a Comment

Filed under Industry Voices

How to Get Ahead in Academic Publishing

Today we have a guest post from Academic Professional: Suzanne Kavanagh.Suzanne Kavanagh Academic Book Week

 

Suzanne Kavanagh has worked in publishing for over 20 years, most recently as Director of Marketing and Membership Services at ALPSP. You can contact her via @sashers or suzanne.kavanagh@gmx.com.

 

How to Get Ahead in Academic Publishing

Armed with a fistful of crumpled CVs and an Art History degree, I trudged up and down Charing Cross Road looking for a bookselling job. I’d set my heart on working in publishing in my third year at uni, but trawling through The Guardian I realised it would be hard for me to stand out from hundreds of applicants who, no doubt, also felt just as passionately about books and read voraciously as I did. I figured bookselling would be a good starting point.

This was the first time I’d considered what I had to offer. It made me think about how selling jeans in a shop provided influencing, negotiation and questioning skills. I realised that bar work provided customer service and conflict resolution skills (as well as excess consumption of warm white wine…essential for low budget book launches). Fast forward a few weeks and I was happily ensconced at a specialist art bookseller.

Aside from a borderline obsession with alphabetising each section and secretly sniffing new stock, I learned a lot that would be relevant for my career.

It was pretty cutting edge for *coughs* 1993 *coughs*. We had a PC networked stock management system. We used this to mail out subject leaflets to customers around the world. I used my enthusiasm and retail experience to help customers find the book they were after and proved to be an occasional foil to the sometimes-grumpy owner.

My first job at a small trade publisher was in the sales and marketing team. I dealt with bibliographic information, wrote jacket blurbs, marketing copy and produced the new titles catalogue. I got to know everyone in the company and gained a real insight into the publishing process.

But the low salary made it hard to live in London. Sound familiar?

Meanwhile a friend kept telling me about the publisher she worked at. They published academic texts for students, researchers and professionals in the humanities and social sciences. She loved working there. And she was paid quite a bit more than me. Academic publishing had never occurred: I’d always assumed that publishing meant fiction, poetry and pictures. But the facts speak for themselves.

The UK Government’s Department for Culture, Media and Sport reports that the publishing sector employed 200,000 people in 2015 – an increase of 3.7% on the year before. (Source: DCMS 2016 Focus on Creative Industries report). These figures include book, journal, newspapers, magazines and database publishing. However, in 2011, Creative Skillset reported the breakdown by sub-sector: Journals and Periodicals employed 26% of the workforce and Book Publishing 17% and Academic is drawn from both these categories.

In May 2016 the UK Publishers Association reported that total sales of book and journal publishing were up to £4.4 billion in 2015. Academic journal publishing was up 5% to £1.1 billion and there were £1.42 billion export revenues with two thirds of this figure in education, academic and ELT (English Language Teaching). (Source: PA Statistics Yearbook 2015 news release)

Academic is a vibrant sector employing a lot of people and is a major economic driver in the creative industries.

My second publishing job was at that academic publisher promoting journals and reference works. When asked why I wanted the job, the answer was clear: I’d relish working with books that support education, research and the furthering of knowledge. I got the job and – to my surprise and delight – a decent pay rise.

The great thing about many academic publishers is that they tend to be large organisations with more opportunity for training and promotion. I took all options open to me. I applied for internal jobs to learn about different lists and improve my skills. I was curious, enthusiastic, worked and played hard. I got to know people, respected different departments and personalities it took to run the business. Roles included Marketing Coordinator, Executive, Manager, Senior Manager.

Since then I’ve had the privilege of working in a range of organisations including Taylor & Francis, Continuum and the Association of Learned & Professional Society Publishers. I saw first hand how diverse the sector is at ALPSP, an international trade body for not-for-profit organisations. Their members include the American Historical Association, the Royal Society of Chemistry, the OECD, SAGE, as well as all the larger commercial companies like Elsevier and Springer Nature. There are a lot of publishers covering pretty much all disciplines.

I know it seems obvious, but the biggest lesson I’ve learnt is that job mobility and training go hand in hand with progressing your career.

You may start in one department/role. That doesn’t preclude you moving to others where your experience is applied in different ways. There are plenty of opportunities with more specialist jobs where, with the right training, you can become expert in a particular niche.

When I started out, it was relatively simple: assistant / coordinator / executive / manager roles in sales / marketing / production / editorial. And now? Well a quick glance through the Atwood Tate vacancy list tells a story. Roles like ‘Predictive Analytics and Insight Specialist’ and ‘Instructional Designer’ sit alongside Product Editor and Marketing Executive. It’s a taste of how the industry is changing. If you move roles, and learn new skills, you’re more likely to get on.

So what does the future hold for you and what skills do you need to be successful? There are three main areas you need to plot your profile against. Where do you map yourself on this chart? Where do you want to be? This is by no means exhaustive, but provides insight into where the industry will be.

Academic Flow chart

My final advice for working in academic publishing?

  1. Be curious: ask open questions, listen and learn
  2. Read industry publications, blogs and research
  3. Remember you’re dealing with people: be courteous, build your network
  4. Take every training opportunity – from free webinars to paid-for courses
  5. Enjoy it! You’re giving something back to advancing human knowledge.

 

We thank Suzanne for her wonderful guest post!

For more information about Academic Book Week, and more information about academic publishing, see the official website and the Twitter feed.

If you are a publishing professional and would be interested in writing a guest post for Atwood Tate just get in touch.

Please email: eleanorpilcher@atwoodtate.co.uk or get in touch via any of our social media: Twitter, Facebook, LinkedIn, YouTube or Instagram.

Leave a Comment

Filed under Industry News & Events, Industry Voices

Consultant in the Hot Seat – Kellie Millar

Taj Mahal Kellie

What literary figure would you be and why?
The first thought that came to mind I would have to be Tom Sawyer as I admire his creative thinking, playful and adventurous spirit and I’d love a friend like Huckleberry Finn. On second thought I would also be Peter Pan because of his youthful spirit, positive attitude and belief in magic. He too had an adventurous nature and used his positive attitude to get through challenges and defeat even the toughest of rivals.

If you were given the chance to have one superpower from any book/comic character, what would you have?
I would have to have marvel Comic’s Storms’ power to manipulate the weather. I’d also love to be able to surf like the Silver Surfer!

What book are you reading at the moment and what do you think of it?
I am reading a book by Hal Elrod called “The Miracle Morning”. He talks about the 6 habits that will transform your life before 8 am. I enjoy the positive and motivational tone of the book and have tried a few steps so far, including getting up an hour earlier to visualise a positive day ahead and even going to the gym!

What has been the highlight/s of the past year?
I have enjoyed working for Atwood Tate and with my team, supporting the publishing industry and contributing to the positive and passionate workforce. Since joining Atwood Tate, I have come to understand the people who work in publishing like Peter Pan, all believe in magic and miracles especially when it comes to meeting deadlines. Everyone works together with passion and for a love of what they do to get the job done and make things happen. Our Temps and Freelance team also help to make magic happen by helping people continue in their careers and build on their experience. Interns get paid as Temps and get wonderful recommendations from our clients. Freelancers keep freelancing and doing what they love to do. Clients are happy too because we magically make the right candidates appear just when they need them.

What is on your Birthday wish list?
A reunion with my family. They are scattered all over the world and it would be lovely to see them all together in one place.

True fact: I used to be a blond!

To find out more about the roles each of our consultants covers, go to the “Meet the Team” page.

Leave a Comment

Filed under Company News, Hot Seat

Consultant in the Hot Seat – Claire Law

Claire Law in a kayak

If you could have written any book that exists now, which would it be?
A Dictionary of the English Language by Samuel Johnson. It’s such an incredible achievement to have produced such a vast work and to think it was 150 years before the Oxford English Dictionary and without the internet. Or alternatively the Scrabble dictionary as this has been a vital tool throughout my long and happy marriage.

What three books changed your life?
I’ve always been a big reader and wish now that I’d kept a journal of books and authors read with some kind of notes. Books that made a real impact are:

  1. The Chronicles of Narnia series by C. S. Lewis. Great introduction to fantasy and magic worlds for children that probably led to my love of the ‘magical realism’ genre and authors like Gabriel García Márquez, Kate Atkinson, Angela Carter, Haruki Murakami etc
  2. The Faerie Queen by Edmund Spenser – it was a massive challenge getting through this book (epic poem) at uni as I recall it was almost like translating another language. It made me appreciate studying the text but did put me off reading for a while!
  3. The Handmaid’s Tale by Margaret Atwood. Studying Canadian women’s literature I discovered Margaret Atwood and have read all of her novels since. She’s a feisty and prolific writer as well as being an early adopter of social media. A real inspiration (and see the true fact below).

If you were given the chance to have one superpower from any book/comic character, what would you have?
Can I go for a photographic memory please? Not sure if any character has this but it would just be so helpful for work and in life generally. Thank goodness for an amazing database at work and Outlook for remembering pretty much everything!

What are you most looking forward to in 2016?
I can’t wait for our new website to be launched – hopefully in the next month. It’s been lots of fun working on updating it, especially looking at how the publishing industry has evolved over the last 6 years since our current website was created and incorporating changes like whole new industry sectors and job roles.

What is on your Birthday wish list?
I’ve just had my birthday and didn’t get the £20 million super yacht I’ve had my eye on, so will be asking for a warmer wetsuit to get out on my kayak instead.

True fact.
When setting up Atwood Tate I felt it would be confusing to use the name Law in case people thought we did legal recruitment, so decided to put together a name using a publishing reference and one of my favourite authors, Margaret Atwood! (The Tate part was added on for balance)

Leave a Comment

Filed under Company News, Hot Seat

Consultant in the Hot Seat – Alison Redfearn

Alison Hotseat

What book are you reading at the moment and what do you think of it?
At the moment I am reading The Painted Veil by Somerset Maugham. Set in the time of British Colonial rule, this follows the story of Kitty. When her husband a government bacteriologist finds out she is having an affair he forces her to move to a remote cholera ridden part of China. I am really invested in Kitty’s fate, although I first thought she was self-absorbed and spoilt, I have grown to like and sympathise with her character as she grows and develops. This is a real story of spiritual awakening. I love the way Maugham builds up the atmosphere and the reader is really kept wondering whether or not she will meet her demise.

If you could have written any book that exists now, which would it be?
I would love to have written Strangers on a Train by Patricia Highsmith. I am a massive fan of this author and would have loved to have the accolade of one of the best crime writers of the 20th Century. She is such a clever writer and this is a true crime classic. I admire the author’s ability to build up tension and get deep under the skin of the two characters. Even though you know who the killer is at the start she still manages to build up the tension.

If you were given the chance to have one superpower from any book/comic character, what would you have?
It would have to be time travel. I am quite a nostalgic person and always find myself imagining what it would be like to be alive in certain eras. If I could go back to any era now it would be to the Roaring Twenties, not only for the fashion, glamour and the parties but to be among literati such as Stein, F. Scott Fitzgerald and Hemingway.

Which literary figure would you be?
I would love to be like Roald Dahl’s character Matilda because despite her circumstances she never gives up hope and she tunes her abilities to help herself and others. I love her motto “never do anything by halves if you want to get away with it. Be outrageous. Go the whole hog. Make sure everything you do is so completely crazy it’s unbelievable…”

Interesting fact
I am originally from Berwick upon Tweed, the northern most town in England which according to popular myth is still at war with Russia!

To find out more about the roles each of our consultants covers, go to the “Meet the Team” page.

Leave a Comment

Filed under Company News, Hot Seat

Consultant in the Hot Seat – Olivia Constantinides

IMG_1328

 

Which literary figure would you be?

I would have to be Cleopatra, as depicted in Shakespeare’s Antony and Cleopatra. Cleopatra is powerful, passionate, charismatic and beautiful. Although she has a tragic end, she goes out in style and her eyeliner is on point!

If you could have written any book that exists now, which would it be?

The Bible. I would have edited it heavily and removed all the passages that encourage bigotry and discrimination against others. I would also have rewritten the Ten Commandments and given people more fun rules to live by.

If you were given the chance to have one superpower from any book/comic character, what would you have?

I’ve always thought it would be cool to have chameleonesque powers and the ability to transform into anything or anyone at will, so a bit like Changeling from X-Men or McGonagall’s transfiguration spell in Harry Potter. This power could be used for good or evil…

What book are you reading at the moment and what do you think of it?

I am currently on book three (page 1918 of an epic 2664!) of the Liveship Traders, a fantasy trilogy with all the staples of magic and dragons as well as serpents, pirates and talking ships. There’s a good variety of characters, locations and plot lines. The first book sets the scene and introduces you to the characters and the action really gets underway halfway through book two, but it’s worth the wait if you can persevere!

True fact: My hair is almost a metre long. It should develop super powers soon…

To find out more about the roles each of our consultants covers, go to the “Meet the Team” page.

Leave a Comment

Filed under Company News, Hot Seat

Administrator in the Hot Seat – Katie Hargreaves

Our regular ‘Consultant in the Hot Seat’ slot has been hijacked this month by our Administrator, Katie.

Katie in London

If you were given the chance to have one superpower from any book/comic character, what would you have?

I don’t know if it counts as a superpower, but it would be pretty cool to have a dæmon, like the characters in the His Dark Materials trilogy. It would be amazingly comforting to have a constant companion. I’m not sure what form mine would take though. If I could choose I’d have some sort of bird.

Failing that, pretty much any magical ability from Harry Potter. Transfiguration would be great – you could turn into an animal and sneak around to your heart’s content.

Which three books changed your life?

The Witches: I’m a massive Roald Dahl fan. I recently took my niece to see the musical of Matilda – I’d been waiting for her to be old enough for ages, because I wanted to go! I love the book of Matilda, but in terms of life-changing it has to be The Witches. I remember buying it from one of those book clubs that used to come round to your primary school in the pre-internet age. I don’t know exactly how old I was, but I remember getting to the part where the boy is trapped in the ballroom with the witches, and realising I was slightly too young to cope with this just yet! I sensibly put the book on the shelf for a few months until I felt ready to face the horror! In recent years I had the priviledge of studying the book with 11 year olds in Sweden, who loved it too. I got pretty good at doing the Grand High Witch’s voice while reading aloud to them!

To Kill a Mockingbird: I’ve read so many books, but I’m generally very bad at remembering what happens in them! TKaM stays with me because I studied it for GCSE, so naturally I read it very many times, and my copy is annotated in various different coloured pens to represent the different themes. It’s a fantastic book, and I really enjoyed studying it. It’s probably what inspired me to go on to do A level and eventually degree level English Literature. The characters and morals are so strong; they really speak to you as a teenager incensed by the injustice of the world.

Hitchikers Guide to the Galaxy: At university I studied English Literature and Language. I was tempted to put the Norton Anthology of English Literature on this list (in tribute to the late MH Abrams) but I can’t honestly say that I read it from cover to cover! I found at times that studying ‘serious’ literature could get a bit heavy. I remember going through a bit of a tough time in my second year, getting stressed about nothing, as you can easily do when you’re a student. Douglas Adams had recently passed away, and my aunt and uncle bought me the commemorative ‘trilogy’ box set for Christmas. Never having been particularly into sci-fi, I was a bit sceptical at first, but I loved it. H2G2 is my favourite book, because it helps you put things into perspective. It’s humorous, irreverent and life-affirming.

Which literary figure would you like to be?
Jo March. She’s so gutsy. Actually I should have put Little Women in the previous category, but I ran out of space. I remember being about eleven or twelve, and my English teacher saying I should start to read adult books. I was a bit daunted by this, and went through a brief phase of not really knowing what to read. That summer my family went down to Devon in our caravan, and stayed at this beautiful campsite in the grounds of an old hall, which had a library. Campers were allowed to borrow books. That was when I discovered Little Women, which felt quite grown up to me at the time. There were some tough parts to deal with, but overall I really enjoyed it. Reading that book marked a transition for me into adolescence, and it gave me the confidence to read other ‘adult’ classics.

What are you most looking forward to in 2015?
Well like many people I’ll be really intrigued to read Harper Lee’s Go Set a Watchman. Also, the BBC have been trailing their adaptation of Jonathan Strange and Mr Norrell which looks fantastic. That was such a great book – incredibly atmospheric – so hopefully the adaptation will do it justice. And of course, as a massive Benedict fan, I can’t wait for the new series of Sherlock!

True Fact: Katie once discussed the assembly of Swedish flat-packed furniture with HRH the Countess of Wessex!

Leave a Comment

Filed under Company News, Hot Seat

Consultant in the Hot Seat – Catherine Roney

Cat

What book are you reading at the moment?
Ok, I know I’m a little late with this one, but at the moment I’m reading the The Book Thief by Markus Zusak. I can’t believe I haven’t read it sooner! Markus Zusak is a master storyteller and it’s been an incredible journey so far. Set in Germany during the Second World War, the story is narrated by Death himself, as he tells us the story of Liesel Meminger and her relationship with her foster parents and the other people in her neighbourhood. Although I know that there are some sad things on the way (Death lets us in on some of the big events) I’m still hoping that all will be ok for Liesel and some of the other characters in the end.

Which literary figure would you be?
Growing up, one of my favourite characters was Anne Shirley in Anne of Green Gables. She had a lot of imagination, was always having lots of adventures with her friends, and although she had a tough start in life, was able to overcome all odds and win everyone over. I always thought she sounded as though she’d be a lot of fun, and if I’m 100% honest I would also really like to have her auburn hair!

If you were given the chance to have one superpower from any book / comic character, what would you have?
I would love to be able to fly. It would be a fantastic way to get around, no more crowded tubes or trains, plus I would be able to just pop over to Australia to see my family whenever I felt like it (I would be able to fly really fast like Superman). Also, I’m not so keen on heights and being able to fly would definitely cure that.

If you could have written any book that exists now, which would it be?
The Guernsey Literary Potato Peel Pie Society that is actually written by Annie Barrows and Mary Ann Shaffer. I loved this book and thought it was beautifully written. This is also the one book my mum wouldn’t lend me because she didn’t want to lose her copy, and now that I’ve read it I understand why! Set in January in 1946 in the aftermath of the Second World War, Juliet Ashton is a writer who has lost her home during the war and is now searching for a new adventure and something serious to write about. After unexpectedly receiving a letter from Dawsey Adams from the island of Guernsey, Juliet finds not only her next adventure but also an incredible story and some amazing people.

Who would you invite (and why) to your fantasy literary dinner party?
I would invite Enid Blyton, Jane Austen, Neil Gaiman, Douglas Adams and David Attenborough.
Enid Blyton – I have read nearly everything she has ever written and was a big fan growing up. From Noddy to the Famous Five, and not forgetting The Magic Faraway Tree and The Wishing Chair, she was a prolific writer and I bet she’d have a lot to say.
Jane Austen – she would probably get invited to a lot of fantasy dinner parties as to this day she still has such a big fan following. I enjoyed reading her books and I think it would be interesting to hear what she would make of modern day life. I think she might get along very well with Enid Blyton!
Neil Gaiman – Stardust the movie made me want to start reading Neil Gaiman books (it is usually the other way around for me) and I started with none other than Stardust! Since then I’ve been slowly reading more of his work and I’ve enjoyed a lot of it. I think he’d be a bit of character with his vivid imagination and would make for an interesting guest
Douglas Adams – not only because he wrote the incredible Hitchhiker’s Guide To The Galaxy series, but also because of his book Last Chance To See, which took him to some interesting places and so I think he’d probably have some great stories.
David Attenborough – someone else with great stories and also an incredible insight into how much the world has changed. He has been to some far flung destinations and encountered so many incredible things in our natural world, plus, he would be telling the stories in that amazing way he has. Maybe it wouldn’t be so fair to the other guests!

True fact: Growing up in Australia, Catherine once had a summer job working on the local tourist boat that took people out swimming with dolphins.

Leave a Comment

Filed under Company News, Hot Seat