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Home Away From Home by Namra Amir

From the depths of Dublin to championing diversity in literature, former CA intern Namra Amir shares her amazing journey into publishing with some helpful hints along the way! 

It’s been a full year since I was a Creative Access intern, and what a year it has been!

Becoming a Creative Access intern was the best thing that ever happened to me. It genuinely has changed my life for the better.

Hailing from Ireland, I didn’t think my prospects of breaking into the publishing industry were high at home. It is fiercely competitive in Dublin, the industry is smaller and there aren’t any BAME initiatives. I didn’t even know BAME schemes existed until I stumbled across Creative Access! I thought not being a UK citizen would hinder my chances, but thankfully it wasn’t the case.

I wanted to work in publishing because I have a goal of championing diversity in literature. I studied English Literature at Manchester University and throughout the four years, I didn’t encounter much ethnic writing until I conducted my own thesis on Muslim Female writers. I had to go searching for these writers and I always wondered how easier it could have been if I found it sooner.

So when I applied for my internship with Creative Access, I was pleasantly surprised to be supported by people who felt similarly about my passion.

I can still remember interview prepping with Anouska (Director of Talent) and her impressed tone when I told her about my thesis struggles and desire to rectify the situation. She was so encouraging and I felt truly grateful to be heard.

Then I landed my dream internship at Faber & Faber. Never in a million years did I think I would get it. It was everything I wanted; a mix of poetry and fiction. The home of Irish poet Seamus Heaney, whose poetry I learned at school. Also the home of Nadeem Aslam, an amazing Pakistani novelist. A mix of both my ethnicities combined, exactly what I wanted!

For three months, I was surrounded by the writers who I adored and the most hardworking and talented staff. From publicity to marketing, editorial and rights, I learnt so many valuable lessons about publishing. While learning about the industry, I also made friends for life at Faber who mentored and guided me consistently. The three months ended and I had finished with a wealth of publishing knowledge. But I desperately wanted to stay. Thankfully I did when a job opening appeared in the publicity department.

I’ve had so many memorable moments at Faber: My birthday was the same night of the Man Booker Party and I got to celebrate twenty three with the winner of the prize, Anna Burns author of Milkman! I’ll never forget that. I got to meet Sally Rooney, author of Normal People and I did fan girl when I asked her to sign my copy of the book.

It’s been a year since I was an intern at Faber & Faber and now I’m a Marketing Assistant for the Children’s team at Bloomsbury. Though my job and company has changed, the connections I’ve built remain strong. I went back to Creative Access to give an induction talk and pass on what I’ve learnt. Though I no longer need mentoring from my Creative Access mentor, we have become close friends who still catch up. The family I created at Faber & Faber are still checking in and championing my success.

All of this is thanks to Creative Access. Faber & Faber and Creative Access have become my home away from home and I know how lucky I am to have been given the chance to work and learn from them. I’ll forever be grateful to both.

You can follow Namra on Twitter and Instagram

To find out what it means to be a Creative Access intern, click here