Life After Graduation: Esme Chapman

In the latest in the ‘Life After Graduation’ series, MA Publishing alumna, Esme Chapman, brings Blurbify up-to-date on her journey since completing the course and graduating in the ‘Class of 2012/13′.

It has, in some ways, been a pretty scary two years since I finished the MA Publishing course at Anglia Ruskin, and I can honestly say it has flown by in a blur. After all, doesn’t time fly when you’re having fun?

‘I Know What I Want To Do!’…..

When I started the MA Publishing course I was pretty sure I knew exactly which area of publishing I wanted to work in, and that was children’s trade publishing. What could be more exciting than all those bright colours, cute characters and glamorous events? But three years on, since I sat down for our first introductory lecture, my current job couldn’t be more different, and actually I couldn’t be happier. And that is precisely what makes the ARU MA Publishing so worthwhile. It is an opportunity to explore your options and find your niche.

In our earliest conversations, I can remember Leah suggesting that I would be very suited to academic publishing and I ought to try for the internships at Cambridge University Press. But no! I was adamant; I felt I’d had enough of academia and wanted nothing but the bright lights of children’s trade publishing. So, my first internship was at Walker Children’s Books in the marketing and publicity department. Whilst it was a good experience, involving a satisfying amount of cutting and sticking in the creation of ‘showcards’, I quickly realised that perhaps this wasn’t quite right for me after all.

Not to worry! With a whole year in hand, I had plenty of time to try my hand at other areas of the publishing industry. And try I did! From internships in the editorial department in the Collins division of HarperCollins to helping out in the publicity department at Random House during the unprecedented success of Fifty Shades of Grey, and even spending a summer in Paris working in the iconic Shakespeare and Company bookshop, I really got stuck in.

However, my longest internship was at Nexus Strategic Partnerships, a Cambridge-based company that produces publications for the Commonwealth Secretariat. There, I spent six months helping out in the editorial department and I learned more than I ever thought possible about the 54 countries in the Commonwealth…did you know that Tuvalu’s main sources of income are its internet domain name and the sale of stamps?! Fun fact!

Where Am I Now?

So, where have I ended up at the end of my wonderful journey through the world of publishing? Well, upon graduating, I started with a three-month stint as Publishing Assistant at the Royal College of Art, which involved working on a pretty awesome coffee-table book celebrating 175 years of this incredible creative institution.

Then I spent 18 months working at Flame Tree Publishing, an independent publisher of illustrated non-fiction. Whilst this was a good experience and I certainly learned a lot, I felt myself craving depth of content and the pursuit of knowledge, which brings me to the present. For the last 4 months, I have been working as Assistant Editor on the philosophy list at Palgrave Macmillan. As a leading academic publisher in the humanities and social sciences, we publish scholarly monographs, edited collections and handbooks for the academic community.

So, I finally feel like I am back where I belong. Do I wish I’d listened to Leah in the first place? A little bit, but we never really know what the right thing is until we’ve tried a few other options, and I did enjoy the journey!


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Esme was a full-time student on the MA Publishing course from 2011-2012. She was awarded the Arts and Humanities Research Scholarship and graduated with both the Cambridge University Press Prize for Best Dissertation and the Lutterworth Prize for Best Overall Grade. She now works as Assistant Editor on the philosophy list at Palgrave Macmillan, a leading global academic publisher in the humanities and social sciences.