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.
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