Friday, 14 July 2017
This week at Valley Press, #63: 'Only nice people'
I’m Harriet, and today is my penultimate day as an intern at Valley Press, having been here for almost two weeks now. I’m very excited to be e-meeting you all, as Jamie assures me (and I’ve discovered for myself) that “only nice people” are associated with Valley Press! Jamie’s original plan for this week’s newsletter was that I would write it alongside Emma, another July intern, but it turns out that collaborative writing is harder than anticipated, as we discovered after having spent five minutes agreeing on “We are Harriet and Emma”. So, today you’re stuck with me, and you can look forward to hearing from a fresh new voice next week.
As cliché as it sounds, I’m going to begin by saying that I have had an amazing two weeks, and I’d like to thank Jamie, Jo, and Tess for making me feel at home within the team. Having found it so difficult to get any kind of work experience in publishing, I’m incredibly grateful to Valley Press for giving me such an enjoyable and hands-on introduction to the publishing world. There’s been lots going on around here, and I’m certain you’re all dying to hear exactly what I’ve been up to, so bear with me as I give you a brief snapshot of some of my most exciting endeavours.
You’re all undoubtedly very diligent with your newsletter-reading, so I’m sure you’ll know that Jamie has taken on seven exciting books translated from Chinese, the first of which is titled Mountain Stories and is already available to buy. Much to my surprise, I’ve been let loose on the final stages of the second of these fascinating books. Without giving too much away (Jo is keeping a careful eye on me from across the desk), I can tell you that you’re in for another treat with this next one! Although I study English Literature at university, I also take a French literature module, so I’m definitely an advocate for immersing oneself in a different way of thinking and living. I hope you all agree that Jamie and team have taken on a very admirable and worthwhile project.
I also had the pleasure of attending an author meeting with the lovely Caroline Hardaker and her editor Char March, where I watched in awe as together they carefully grafted away at Caroline’s debut poetry pamphlet, due to be published in October (see candid ‘creatives at work’ shot below!) Far from being a depressing session of hole-picking, we all left feeling inspired, refreshed, and ready to move forward with her beautiful collection (Jamie’s round of G&Ts helped too). In fact, I was so taken by Caroline and her poems that I have since made it my mission to find the perfect cover image for the book: it’s nice to think that I might make a genuine contribution to all the wonderful work going on here.
Speaking of wonderful work (see what I did there?), the team here have recently struck up a friendship with the literary folk of Marsden, who are hoping to put their village on the map as ‘Marsden the Poetry Village’. When they approached us to support them in their first project – to fill the village pubs with poetry books – of course we were more than happy to oblige. Pairing great poetry with great alcoholic (or otherwise) refreshment sounds like a no-brainer to me.
In other news, it seems Jamie has been spending his ‘email holiday’ imagining what it would be like to have fourteen other people who could answer all his emails for him. Only (half) joking. But following on from his ‘Small Press Publishing for Profit’ articles, he’s written a new piece fast-forwarding the Valley Press timeline and envisioning life with a team of fifteen. (Before the masses descend, I’d like to call first dibs on roles #2-#15, please and thank you.) How all the work gets done with a team a quarter of this size is beyond me, but I’m certainly glad Jamie has allowed himself to take a tiny step back for the next fortnight! Here he is at the British Grand Prix, presumably selected as the furthest possible pursuit from literary publishing...
Before I sign off, and before you think the intern role at Valley Press is nothing but glamour, I should probably mention that Emma and I spent a day distributing posters around Scarborough last week (I got incredibly sunburnt and Emma’s shoes rubbed – oh, the perils of being a publishing intern!) The posters were advertising the ‘Literary Lunch Hour’, a series of events running throughout August and September, which offers you the chance to spend an hour with your favourite Valley Press authors for just £5 (full info here). Sadly, I’ve been informed that lunch is not included, but why waste time eating when you could be nattering away with Nora Chassler or Antony Dunn?
Lastly, but not least(ly), don’t forget about Nora Chassler’s Edinburgh launch on Friday 21st for Madame Bildungsroman’s Optimistic Worldview, which is, in her own words, a “book of fragments, allegories, aphorisms and general oversharing”. There will also be live jazz and wine, as though that description isn’t tempting enough.
Thank you for sticking with me as I negotiated my way through Jamie’s ‘newsletter to-do list’ for this week. You’ll be relieved to know that you won’t have to put up with my irritating habit for ‘hilarious’ bracketed-off asides next week, as, like I said, you’ll be hearing from the other intern, Emma!
Thanks once again to Jamie et al, as well as all the other brilliant people I’ve had the pleasure of meeting.
Have a lovely week!
Valley Press intern