Publishing Others

You’re going to need a bit of backstory to get through this post.

When I was fifteen years old, I was selected to be in a “young writers” program back in Spain. This program taught us, kids from ages 9 to 20, a series of writing techniques and an introduction to poetry and all the necessary tools to one day become writers. The lessons were taught by some brilliant authors like Fernando Iwasaki, Pablo García Casado, Eduardo García and Rosa Montero, who made us write stuff and then read it aloud in class. That’s how I got to know what my friends were writing, and how many different voices fit in a classroom. The Andalusian School for Young New Writers made me realize that although I liked writing, what I really wanted was to get those voices to the public. And thus, when the journalists came to air a piece on us, I claimed on national TV that what I truly wanted was to be an editor and to publish all the people who deserved to be heard.

That philosophy has stayed with me and it’s what made me start this MSc in Publishing. After all the lessons and seminars and different events, I can understand a lot better how publishing works and how marketing, design, editorial and all other components are parts of a whole: an industry that makes money out of IP and that has strategy and numbers and an awful amount of both math and uncertainty of what the future brings. But underneath all that I saw echoed what my fifteen-year-old self thought publishing was – how what truly matters, in the end, is to bring stories and voices to people everywhere. I saw it in 404ink during their PublishED talk and how they found Chris McQueer. I saw it in Andrew Sharpe and his passionate account of how Hachette UK is attempting with their children’s books to improve their BAME representation. And especially, I saw it at the London Book Fair and in Andrews McMeel’s dedication to publish underrepresented voices all over the world, in all the children’s books panels that talked about getting voices that have been silenced to children in the UK and in general in the industry as a whole.

So, when we were tasked with doing a whole book from concept to paper for the second trimester, I dug deep in the archives of the National Scottish Library and found Margaret Armour; a Scottish woman who was published once a long time ago and then forgotten so badly she doesn’t even have a Wikipedia entry (although her husband, who only illustrated her books, does). I like to believe my commitment to making her forgotten voice be heard again stems from that feeling I found when I was a teenager and that has carried me through the years, unyielding in my resolve to become a publisher. Thanks to this course and all the events that have happened along with it I feel like I finally can use the tools of the trade to, maybe one day, get together all those Spanish voices (who are no longer so young, I’m afraid) and not only give them a platform to show the world their voices but to many others out there who deserve to have their words read and heard.

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