Former Parthian intern Jantine Broak writes about her four months spent in Wales, and the opportunities and tasks that she experienced with us.
My time at Parthian Books has been brilliant. As soon as I got the green light for my internship, they were concerned with giving me a thoroughly enjoyable working experience, picking out duties that suited me and engaging me with projects via e-mail before I arrived. The moment I stepped into the office on a predictably rainy morning, I was steeped in Welsh hospitality and given cakes, tea, and a pile of Welsh literature to take home to read. Over the next three months, I had some very diverse duties: writing press releases and assisting with the marketing campaign for Stand Up and Sock It to Them Sister, meeting with authors, blogging for the website and writing newsletters, creating promotional flyers and booklets, and writing reader reports for manuscripts that arrived on our doorstep. A bit of everything, really, and as my master’s was in editing, I was happily given plenty of opportunities to proofread, correct and oversee the various stages of the production of manuscripts. They were happy to hand over the reins, giving me plenty of responsibilities and learning opportunities. Communication (and the coffee machine) were sometimes erratic, but it was all part of the spontaneous and slightly chaotic environment of a small publishing house.
In the meantime, I travelled to literary festivals all over the country that featured Parthian’s books, including Gwyll Aral in north Wales, Penfro in the west, the National Eisteddfod and the Edinburgh Fringe Festival in Scotland. It was a wonderful opportunity to see as much of the UK, and mainly of Wales, as I could. My coworkers and friends gave me the full Welsh treatment, taking me out for drinks at the ubiquitous pubs, making sure I ate enough cawl and cheddar, and introducing me to the Welsh literary canon. If you’re not familiar with the works of Dylan Thomas when you arrive in Swansea, you will be soon enough. On weekends I took the bus to the gorgeous Gower peninsula, just an hour away from Swansea, to enjoy the unspoiled Welsh beaches, forests, cliffs, and castle ruins, walking sections of the Wales Coast Path and on my way back stopping in Mumbles for one of their famous ice creams. I visited vibrant Cardiff a number of times, which is only an hour away by bus or train, and on hot summer days (of which there were at least five!) I was happy to dip my toes into the ocean in Swansea Bay, which practically reached to the doorstep of the office on the university campus.
Overall, Parthian have been a huge help in giving me necessary experience in publishing, introducing me to many interesting people in the field, and making sure I got to taste everything on the menu—not just editing, but also marketing and administrative tasks. It has been an absolute pleasure to contribute to their catalogue and do my bit to raise the profile of Welsh literature. Furthermore, it was great to dive into the Welsh literary canon and learn more about the history of Wales, which, undeservingly, is little discussed outside of Wales itself. I’m very grateful for the warm welcome and the equally warm goodbye party they gave me, and hope to continue to keep in touch with them in the future.
I've written more about the things I got up to during my internship on my blog, jantinebroek.wordpress.com. For more info about the work I did for Parthian and my services as an editor, copywriter and translator, visit my website, fabulatextservices.wordpress.com.