wider programme of such traineeships within the publishing industry, funded by Arts Council England. A number of successful traineeships had already taken place, primarily in London, but this was the first opportunity in the North West. Eileen Pun: I was definitely interested, but could I get it? My background is quite eclectic. I have a bachelor’s degree in politics and international relations, followed by a circuitous employment history, extensive travel and languages. Furthermore, I was enrolled in a masters programme in creative writing at Manchester Metropolitan University. I asked myself a few questions: - Without an academic background in English literature, would I be knowledgeable enough to work for such a distinguished literary publisher? - Was I confident about my writing and grammar skills to take a role in publishing? - Would I find a conflict of interest between my goals in creative writing and a career in publishing? Although I wavered about my own aptitude and suitability, I must to admit, I was incredibly excited about the job prospect. I decided to submit an application focusing on four key areas: 1. Emphasize my marketing background 2. Highlight my volunteer work in the literature sector 3. Show my experience in digital audio archiving 4. Demonstrate boundless enthusiasm Eileen Pun: Carcanet being a small publisher with a close knit
Don’t be late for th e interview! Team Photo
team, choosing the right person is critical. Stephen Procter is a sales and marketing manager, he explains what makes the publishing experience at Carcanet distinctive. Stephen Procter: Carcanet is a relatively small publisher in terms of the size of its office, although not necessarily in terms of its output, number of titles, or national and international profile. One of the advantages of working in quite a small office is that we are constantly aware of what is going in all of the departments. So, in terms of a training experience, it is really excellent for getting an overview of the whole publishing process. Eileen Pun: The interview process was designed to identify candidates that would be able to work in this environment. Michael Schmidt is the managing director of Carcanet. The post attracted numerous candidates, and like many entry jobs in publishing, highly competitive. I asked Michael
Carcanet Press Ltd, Alliance House, 30 Cross Street, Manchester M2 7AQ, United Kingdom
what was he looking for when making his selection. Michael Schmidt: It is a tiny bit like when you get a pile of submissions in the morning and you look through them. What are you looking for? Well, you don’t know what you are looking for until you’ve found it. You have certain broad notions that you need somebody who has energy and imagination. We are never quite sure if we want somebody who is committed to literature or somebody who is committed to publishing. Those might be two very different people. You might have someone who is interested in technical publishing or academic publishing, for whom the experience here will not be a literary experience but a practical experience. Other people like yourself, who are interested in poetry, will find the experience literary as well as practical. And so, you have a number of candidates, all of whom have merits. phone: +44(0)161 832 0084
Published on Dec 16, 2009
Want to go somewhere in publishing? Eileen Pun and Carcanet staff discuss her Carcanet traineeship and offer advice for those interested in...