In May and June I was given the fantastic opportunity to complete a work placement at one of Scotland’s most successful and exciting publishing houses – the fiercely independent Canongate.

During the internship, I worked in the Rights & Contracts department. Rights is an area of publishing I am already interested in, so I was keen to develop practical skills to add to the basic theoretical knowledge I had gained beforehand.

My placement started with a meeting with Caroline, Senior Rights Executive, and Pauline, Rights Assistant. After offering me a tour through the various departments and introducing me to the staff, they gave me an overview of what I would be learning during my time at Canongate and answered all my questions about rights in general, and my internship in particular.


Over the few weeks I spent at Canongate I undertook a variety of tasks, including logging royalty statements, processing foreign editions, sourcing book reviews, and much more. Under Pauline’s supervision, I… … was trained in Biblio and learnt in detail about contracts.

It was a pleasure to go through Canongate’s bright red door every day and work within such a committed and dynamic team, surrounded with the many foreign editions of their titles overflowing on the shelves, and sometimes distracted by Office Dog, Sylvie. The Rights department at Canongate is a key part of the company – there is great emphasis placed on selling rights internationally and indeed, they have built a strong reputation from doing so. I could definitely sense that I was part of a hugely committed and skilled team, passionate about bringing Canongate’s titles to an international audience.

Some highlights of my placement? I was fortunate enough to be in the office for the celebration of the launch of their new website, which was an exciting moment. I’m also grateful for the opportunity to attend rights meetings and hear all about new acquisitions, submissions and deals pending – this allowed me to gain an insight into the strategies involved. Finally, prior to the placement, sitting with Caroline during one of her meetings at the London Book Fair and learning about how she plans her pitches was particularly informative.

This internship has helped me solidify my understanding of publishing rights and contracts, and gave me valuable hands on experience in the world of rights. I’ve become more familiar with some of the administrative duties involved in a rights department, while also gaining awareness of foreign publishing markets as well as a taste of how a successful team works together to sell sub-rights.

The team were great, very friendly and supportive; I would like to thank Caroline, Pauline and Andrea for such a fantastic learning experience! ♦

You can follow Canongate’s Rights department.
Sylvie sporadically appears on @canongatebooks

Alice F.