I was very excited to be part of the prestigious Valley Press team at the beginning of last week. And in fact, the work began as soon as I arrived! Settling down with a cup of Jamie McGarry's finest tea; he, Stephanie (who was also interning) and I began a rapid and enjoyable proof-read for a book that needed to be sent off to the printers quick-smart! What a fantastically immediate and immersive introduction to the world of independent publishing.
With a later start the next day, thanks to all our hard work, we started the process of editing a collection of poems from Leeds-based writer --------------. What an exciting new talent has been found. His poems are vibrant with insightful descriptions and witticisms of a very real and often touching regional world. In the office we had many disagreements on which poems to include in the collection, but this of course was all part of the dynamic nature of good editing. Plenty of brain-storming surrounded the issue of the front-cover design and consequently patterned our week's work. It actually kept me up well into the night trying to find inspiration! Stay tuned to see what will be the final stroke of creative genius from VP.
On Tuesday we visited the Scarborough campus of the University of Hull, to give a talk to the students about the realities and benefits of a career in publishing. We all had different perspectives to lend an elucidating hand to the young scholars; from Jamie's entrepreneurial point-of-view, to Stephanie and I as young publishers gathering our thoughts from our recent voluntary work. Stephanie was on fire with useful contacts and website suggestions, and it was satisfying to feel that we may be able to contribute to the mapping of someone's career path at such a turbulent time for employment.
We also visited York mid-week, and were treated to warm and diverting performances from musician Izzy Isgate, poet David Tait, and Valley Press poet James Nash in celebration of the latter's book Some Things Matter: 63 Sonnets. Manning the book-stall, we sold many copies of Nash's book amongst other Valley Press wonders.
Later on in the week we handled new submissions, of which there were a couple of hidden gems that must stay hidden for the time being!
In and around our hive of activity, we were also treated to the various hedonistic possibilities of the town. Most memorably... lunches at Café Venus and Bonnets, dinner and cocktails, Talking Heads tea-breaks and some (personally) traumatic yet hilarious audio-bursts of Keane, cake-sharing, James Bond, and walks along the beach.
I'll say it twice, and I'll write it again: I couldn't call my week at Valley Press work experience, even though we did put our heads together to get great wads of work to the next stage of publication. I think Jamie should be advertising editorial retreats!