BookMachine Oxford – by Katie Stileman [REVIEW]

Katie StilemanKatie Stileman has recently graduated from Jesus College, Oxford, where she studied Medieval History. She has worked in schools since the summer teaching study skills and is now looking to pursue a career in publishing. Last week she attended BookMachine Oxford. Here is her review.

“It is the nightmare of any parent to produce a child with impossible aspirations. So when I got over the ‘acting stage’ in my teens, mine were rather relieved. How unfair on them, then, that at university I decided to pursue a job in publishing! And how fortunate that there are events like BookMachine Oxford, hosted by Oxford University Press, to give publishing hopefuls like me an opportunity to mingle and learn about the increasingly competitive world we aspire to work in.

The event took place on 5th December at FREVD, a venue known for its architecture (is it a church? is it a temple? oh no, it’s a rather trendy café-bar) and delicious cocktails. Representatives from several Oxford publishing companies, as well as many from further afield, rubbed shoulders with the Oxford Brookes Publishing MA students and slightly more random people like me (‘I, erm, work for an educational company… well I did…’). We were welcomed by the sponsors from HL Studios, who made us feel relaxed and gave us Santa hats. Their willingness to chat and arrange introductions went a long way to creating a relaxed and informal atmosphere. Although it was a chance for people already in publishing jobs around Oxford to catch up and talk- it only took a couple of drinks for the OUP/Taylor & Francis banter to begin- no one was out of place. Everyone I spoke to, whether they were a Commissioning Editor or an Editorial Assistant only five days in, had helpful and encouraging things to say about how to go about finding a job in publishing.

Like I have said, it can be daunting to chase your dream job with a humanities background and only a few months of relevant work experience behind you. The great value of this event for me was that it provided an opportunity to talk and ask questions in a really chilled out setting. I had some great conversations with people already in publishing but also with the other graduates who, like me, are worried we should have just given in and become accountants. I left the event feeling not only more informed but also encouraged that publishing is what I want to do and that there are still lots of opportunities out there.”

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