Former Intern Julia Bradley tells us about her experiences at Parthian over the past two years, and what she will take away from it.
I began my journey with Parthian in September 2015, and have spent a good two years interning in the Swansea office alongside my studies at Swansea University. I should probably mention, Parthian doesn’t normally offer internships that last for two years! I started out doing a couple of weeks of work experience, which is more the norm, and just kind of…stuck around.
Over the course of my internship I was able to experience a wide range of tasks relating to different stages of the life-cycle of a book – from reading and reviewing submitted manuscripts, to proofreading the final texts. I spent quite a lot of time working on marketing jobs, be that researching potential advertising methods, copy-editing press releases, or by working on social media engagement. I got involved with numerous events, from local book launches in Swansea and the Mumbles, to further afield at literary festivals in Hay-on-Wye and in Edinburgh. I was also given the chance to learn the basics of working with Adobe InDesign, and I had an ongoing project of compiling up-to-date eBook metadata. These are all tasks and skills which I’m finding to be extremely useful, now that I’m job searching, but rather than go into the intricacies of spreadsheets (I’m sure Maria misses my pastel colour-coding), here are some of the highlights of my time with Parthian:
I feel like this almost goes without saying, but being given books is always pretty great – yet it’s even better when the books themselves are great.
The first Parthian book I read was Alys Conran’s Pigeon, and it did not disappoint. I was fascinated by Alys’ use of the Welsh language, and the plot itself had me refusing to put the book down. Other highlights were the wacky Bad Ideas\Chemicals and A Van of One’s Own, which I was given just before my holiday to Portugal, where the book is set.
Over the course of my internship I was able to get a feel for both the contemporary literary scene in Wales, which is thriving, and for the country’s bookish heritage.
The International Dylan Thomas Prize
Speaking of Pigeon, I joined the rest of the Parthian team to attend the award ceremony for the International Dylan Thomas Prize when Alys was shortlisted earlier this year. It was very interesting to hear readings from each of the shortlisted authors, and whilst unfortunately Pigeon didn’t win the prize, it was a lovely evening which I was happy to be a part of.
The Edinburgh International Book Festival
I won’t go in to too much detail about this trip, as I’ve written about it before (you can find the story here) but the short version is this:
In August I was lucky enough to get to go up to Edinburgh during the city’s International Book Festival to attend some events with Parthian author Ece Temelkuran (who ended up winning the festival’s First Book award!). You can read more about the book here. A particular high of the trip was getting a tour of the fascinating city from another Parthian author, Tendai Huchu, whose novel The Maestro, The Magistrate and the Mathematician, which is set in the city, I’d read the year before.
Haggis was eaten, wine was drunk, authors were met, and it was ultimately an amazing visit to Auld Reekie.
Whilst I’m trying not to get overly sentimental, it’s important to say that the experience I’ve gained over the past two years has given me a sense of direction, and it’s thanks to this internship that I feel confident I can pursue a career in what is an incredibly competitive industry. What is perhaps equally important though, is that during my time with Parthian I genuinely felt like part of the team. It seems that being warm, and kind, and passionate are all job requirements for staff at this small Welsh press – I’d like to thank everyone that made my two years here so special!
It is with something of a heavy heart that I say goodbye to Parthian, but I’m looking forward to both keeping up with what comes next for the team, and for my own ‘next chapter’.
Julia has been part of the Parthian team as a Marketing Assistant for the past two years and has completed a Santander SME placement. She recently became a winner of the Print Futures Award 2017.