This August, we held our first Usborne Academy week, an opportunity for people currently under-represented in publishing to spend a week at Usborne. Eight intrepid Academicians travelled from all over the UK to experience daily life in a range of different Usborne departments. They were paid the London living wage, and travel and accommodation expenses.
We all had a brilliant time! The UA8 were lively, full of enthusiasm, keen to learn – and we learned from their insightful comments too. Each Academician spent half a day or more in our design, editorial, foreign rights, foreign editions, production, sales, marketing and digital departments, and there were lunchtime talks and after-work socials hosted by Usborne volunteers.
Just arrived – the UA8 getting to know each other on their first night in London – for some, this was their first visit to the capital.
We asked the Academicians what the week had meant to them, and what they’d learned. Here are some of their thoughts.
“Seeing book covers and pages before they are on the market, Iearning how to use InDesign (and winning a bottle of wine in the pub quiz!)” Maryam
“Getting to meet the other 7 Academicians and learning lots – marketing and editorial were my faves” Angharad
“Fiction editorial – the whole team were so lovely” Niki
“Doing out-of-work activities with staff members e.g. the pub quiz and the Children’s Book Circle Summer Party” Tamara
“Updating the code for a web page” Tamelia
So I’m on the train home after an absolutely incredible week at Usborne! I can’t quite articulate just how insightful and informative the whole week was but what I do know for sure is that it has given me the children’s publishing bug ... (1/3)— Niki Torch (@NIKIT101) August 18, 2018
Wow what a week it’s been with @Usborne I’ve had the most amazing time being a part of #UA8 and getting some fountain of knowledge from some great people @beret_girl @AnnaHoworth @Walker_Becky @Be_Lucky_Lauren and the rest of the wonderful staff— Angharad Mair (@AngharadMair1) August 17, 2018
I’d love to thank @AnnaHoworth for organising such a wonderful week and ensuring that we were all accommodated and fed during our breakfast and lunches! Plus, it was just awesome to get to know her and learn about the marketing side of the publishing business!— Joel🤴🏽~ Semi-Hiatus (@JoelRochesterr) August 18, 2018
The UA 8 get a personal book signing session with YA superstar Holly Bourne
Here’s some more observations from the UA8 team:
What else did you learn?
One thing that surprised you?
What did the Academy mean to you?
The Academicians left us full of enthusiasm. Several are starting or returning to university. They all want to gain more work experience and be more involved on social media. Two are going to finish books they are writing!
Last word from Peter Usborne:
For me, the Usborne Academy isn't about getting people to apply for jobs at Usborne - or even in children's publishing more generally. It's about sharing with them how important it is to find something that you love, that you can do for the rest of your life and never get bored. Peter Usborne, Founder and Managing Director of Usborne
Good luck to Joel, Tamelia, Javerya, Aidan, Maryam, Angharad, Nicola and Tamara!
Read more about one of the UA8's experience of the Usborne Academy on the Society of Young Publishers website.