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What we learned from the Usborne Academy week

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.

The Usborne Academy 8
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. 

What were your highlights of the week? 

“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

Twitter feedback from some of the Academicians

The Usborne Academy 8 with Holly Bourne
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?

  • How important children’s publishing is for literacy and comprehension
  • When books are translated the text may not fit in the same space as the English

One thing that surprised you?

  • The number of books per month that are worked on and everything done in-house
  • Seeing Peter and Nicola Usborne walking around the offices
  • How warm and friendly everyone was

What did the Academy mean to you?

  • It meant a lot to me as I probably wouldn’t have had the finances to come to London
  • Absolutely chuffed I was chosen
  • Helped me be more confident meeting new people and asking questions
  • It helped me overcome my anxieties and lack of confidence 

What next?

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!

For more news about the Usborne Academy, follow #UsborneAcademy on Twitter, or sign up for our Usborne Academy mailing list to hear about next year's plans.

Read more about one of the UA8's experience of the Usborne Academy on the Society of Young Publishers website.

Tags: inside usborne Book industry

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