Posted 07.10.19 by Ellie Harlow
“It was so exciting to be working in such a new and innovative area of publishing”
Working at Puffin Picture Books in the Editorial team has been an absolute joy. I’ve worked on such a wide assortment of projects – the role was so varied – but my main job was working on an innovative audio project for an international customer. It was so exciting to be working in such a new and innovative area of publishing and I felt, perhaps gratuitously, like a publishing pioneer!
I was working on audio that will be used in tandem with books. I attended audio recordings, went to the printers, and day-to-day made editorial decisions about certain sounds. I had to answer questions I never thought could be asked (what should a sunflower sound like?) and supported the team in delivering hundreds of individual sound files in the right order.
“Penguin Random House really encourages everyone they employ to bring their unique perspectives with them”
I was also given scope to pursue my own projects, and I got to pitch book ideas to my team. I pitched a picture book about surrogacy, and a series of Braille books. Penguin Random House really encourages everyone they employ to bring their unique perspectives with them to the workplace to make the whole company better. I care a lot about reproductive rights – I’ve just graduated from a law degree and wrote my dissertation on the subject – and I was able to bring my passions to the internship.
Some other projects I worked on included writing a new blurb for Avocado Baby (truly a vegetarian and breakfast enthusiast’s dream), and proofreading (/proof listening) other audio projects. I also really enjoyed reading new submissions and watching the team nurture new talent.
“the interview was essentially a big lovely chat with my future manager”
Now for how I got the job! To get this internship I had to do an online application and attend an assessment day. In my online application I was as honest and earnest as possible, and talked mostly about skills and interests of mine I thought I’d be able to talk about fluently in an interview (for me, that was reproductive rights, issues facing the LGBT+ community and disability advocacy!)
The assessment day was actually really fun. I got to work with people in a group exercise who were as giddy about storytelling as me, and the interview was essentially a big lovely chat with my future manager.
The two months were incredibly inspiring, and I’m so grateful to everyone at Penguin Random House who was so generous with their time. It was a joy and a privilege to be part of such a kind, considerate and talented team.