“To rediscover the world through stories…” This is the ethos of The Book Whisperers – a new non-profit social enterprise publisher which helps people start, improve, and promote their writing at any stage of the process. When I first learnt about The Book Whisperers, I thought it sounded like a fun new project led by an enthusiastic trio of female authors. I’ve always been interested in writing, so the thought of interning for a new publisher/writing community sounded like an ideal match for me.
It wasn’t until our first team meeting when I met Mary, Lea and Mandy that I understood the grand scale of the project. This is not just a writers’ community – we are literacy promoters, publishers, a social platform, an app, a podcast series, and most excitingly, a new book festival. The idea of helping organise an event for 4,000 – 5,000 people was perhaps a little daunting at first, but also incredibly exhilarating. I am well up for the challenge.
Throughout my internship, I will be mostly working with Lea Taylor on the festival itself and an anthology entitled Wonderland, which will be launched during the event. The Wonderland Story & Book Festival is a family-friendly event scheduled to take place in July 2022 and will include a range of activities on the programme, from storytelling dragon-hunts, structured play sessions, word walks with the rangers, environmental story walks, art workshops, as well as author talks and writing workshops.
Working with Lea and the rest of The Book Whisperers team has been deeply inspiring. Lea is an experienced storyteller who is passionate about promoting literacy and Scotland’s wonderful literary heritage. With her support, my internship will consolidate the training I’ve had at Edinburgh Napier, as it involves managing a publishing project from start to finish – collating submissions for the anthology, overseeing the marketing of the title, editing and designing the layout & design of the manuscript, and planning the book launch during the book festival. I am also learning about sponsor partnerships and working on marketing the festival. My experience so far has already opened my eyes to a whole new range of opportunities available in publishing.
To be part of a supportive community of book enthusiasts is inspiring and motivating. What I hope this project will give me is both confidence and a sense of achievement. There are many roles that excite me in publishing–editorial, production, events—so this project is providing a rich and well-rounded experience, which I hope will help me transition into the professional world of publishing.
Whether I end up working in fiction, academic, magazines, travel guides, or art books, I am looking forward to a future in publishing, as I will be working with either my own, or other authors’ writing. And what a privilege to be able to read raw words that no one else has read before! It makes me incredibly motivated and grateful to be part of this industry.
Special Thanks: Many thanks to Lea Taylor and Mary Turner Thomson, for their ongoing kindness and supportive mentorship.