Images courtesy of Vagabond Voices. Covers design by Mark Mechan.

As I have come to realise during my placement, Allan Cameron – author, translator, editor and founder of Vagabond Voices – has a particular fondness for the word garrulous. And indeed, one of the first things that strike you about him is his mastery of the lost art of conversation, his passion for sharing experiences and discussing opinions. As an intern, of course, I felt particularly lucky, because there is nothing more formative than engaging in an open dialogue with someone willing to share the tricks of the trade. The dialogue was all the more pleasing, as it included frequent switches from English to Italian – a language Mr Cameron speaks fluently, with an unmistakable Tuscan accent…

In addition to that, from the very beginning of my placement I was given the opportunity to gain precious, first-hand insight into the life of an independent publishing house. … On my first day, for instance, I was sitting in a meeting with three authors and actor Stewart Ennis – not only taking notes, but actually taking part in the discussion. Since then I have had many other chances to contribute ideas on marketing and publicity, especially while taking care of the company’s social networks. I particularly enjoyed having a privileged perspective on the preparation and launch of Jim Sillar’s In Place of Fear II – a pamphlet on Scottish Independence which has already sold more than 4500 copies, garnering extensive media coverage.

Both as a reader and as a student in Publishing, I have learnt a lot from this internship. Most of all, it has allowed me to grasp the freedom and challenges offered by independent publishing, as well as the importance for a publisher to combine variety and identity – to keep being a Vagabond, while finding your own, unique Voice.