Former Parthian interns Eva Queguiner and Owen Locke write about their experiences at Parthian; the jobs they were given and how they found the placements.
I am currently in my final year at the Université de Bretagne Occidentale (UBO) in France, where I studied languages (English, Spanish) and international commerce. As part of my course, I needed to find an internship in a company abroad. During three months at Parthian Books, I learned a lot about the publishing industry as well as about my personal skills. Parthian looks to find each intern's individual abilities and therefore it distributes work according to each person.
Over the three months, I had the opportunity to undertake a diverse range of assignments and tasks that suited me well, such as reading manuscripts and writing reader reports to help editors ascertain the quality of each manuscript and whether to move forward with publication. I also helped to promote events by updating the Parthian website and their various social media pages. However, one of the duties that I enjoyed most is the creation of graphic presentations with page layout software applications such as InDesign. The first page layout project on which I worked is the book launch of Cheval 10, a collection of poetry and short stories from the entrants of the Terry Hetherington Young Writers Award 2017. To promote this event, I was responsible for the creation of an electronic poster advertising the book, which was displayed throughout the university on the interactive screens.
I also participated in diverse literary events such as the London Book Fair, the Hay Festival and a book sale in the picturesque village of Llandeilo. It was a great opportunity to travel throughout Wales and the UK and discover a culture different from my own. Indeed, it was the first time I travelled in a foreign country and Swansea was a warm and welcoming place to live.
Overall, this internship at Parthian was an enjoyable experience, personally and professionally, that give me the opportunity to understand how a small independent publisher works and to discover the culture of Wales. I am grateful to Parthian for this great experience.
I’ve spent an amazing few weeks with Parthian, and it’s tough knowing that soon it will come to an end. It will be strange not coming into the office every morning, setting up my computer and waiting for another day to just fly by. It will be so weird not having a dozen tabs open to a dozen social media feeds at one time. And it will be hard not having whole days of bookish activity and conversation ahead of me, to be indulged in with people who, after only a short amount of time, have come to be my friends. But, despite my sadness at the thought of leaving, I’m coming away with so much excellent experience and so many happy memories from my time at Parthian, and that’s what I’m here to tell you about.
The Parthian Marketing and Editing Office is situated at the centre of Swansea University’s Singleton campus, and as I am a Swansea University student looking at a career in publishing, this was the perfect chance to gain some experience in the industry. The Employability Office here at Swansea is always e-mailing us with opportunities to enhance our CV’s, and this was an opportunity that really caught my eye. I applied without delay, and before I knew it, I was being sent a task to complete: a blog post to write and ways in which to market the post online. It was an excellent way to get a flavour of what we would be asked to do on the placement; I finished and submitted the piece faster than anything I’ve done before, and from there, all I could do was keep my fingers crossed! I was invited to interview and, meeting the wonderful people working at Parthian and seeing their lively office, I knew this was the perfect place to gain some publishing experience.
My application was successful and suddenly I was sat in the Parthian office, amazed to be there. My supervisors were fantastic: they gave clear instructions, offered help whenever it was needed and maintained a constant stream of tea and coffee. They were also incredibly flexible when it came to my timetable: the placement fell on the eve of my final exams and they were more than happy to accommodate my study and exam schedules to ensure I achieved good results, as well as a first-class experience in the office.
Assigned a range of tasks in different areas of marketing and editing, I began to get a feel for what I did and didn’t like in the publishing game. I’ll never be a designer, as I learned when making a poster for an upcoming event, but my passion will always be writing, and so I was set to work managing the company's social media accounts, updating their blog and submitting reader’s reports of the manuscripts that crowded the desks and the mailbox! My supervisor made sure I was always doing something I enjoyed and that each job played a true role in the day’s work. There was no mindless photocopying or throwaway tasks for the interns: everything I worked on influenced the company. A particularly proud moment for me was when an idea of mine – a social media campaign centred on International Coffee Day – was given the go-ahead. Having that sort of true effect on the work Parthian does only drove me to work harder.
Another facet of working for Parthian were the events they hold to showcase their authors and their work. Getting to attend book signings and literary festivals which featured Parthian authors was a privilege I never envisaged when applying. These events stretched from Swansea to Llansteffan, Hay-on-Wye to Fishguard; I couldn’t attend them all, but those I missed felt like missed opportunities. Parthian was always offering me new skills and ways to be a part of the publishing industry, and being able to be a part of and to attend these events, was an amazing experience.
All good things must come to an end, or so the cliché goes, but I wish my placement at Parthian would keep going and going. I’ll never forget the skills, experiences and contacts I was introduced to during my time there, no more than I will forget that cosy and chaotic office and the amazing friends I made there. If you get the chance of a placement at Parthian: take it. I promise you: you will not regret it.