Yesterday I had the pleasure of visiting my alma mater the University of British Columbia to speak with students about jobs in publishing and the process of editing.

I spoke about my path from graduating in English literature (BA 2005 and MA 2007) to becoming an editor at Penguin Random House Canada, and now a freelance editor and project manager. I provided tips for how to increase one’s chances of finding fulfilling and stimulating paid work in the arts, specifically publishing, and gave options for those unable or unwilling to undertake additional schooling in publishing programs or to complete multiple internships. I focused on identifying one’s goal in life and, through small but strategic steps (volunteering, interning, etc.), moving towards it.

The room was packed, with a very lively Q&A after and about a dozen or so students staying to ask additional questions. The students were mostly from English and Creative Writing, and I especially enjoyed their questions about editing styles and the difference between writing and editing as a creative exercise.

After a lovely lunch with my former prof Dr. Mary Chapman outside the new Student Union Building, I visited Timothy Taylor’s fiction class. Timothy and I worked together, with Diane Martin, on his novel The Blue Light Project. I answered students’ questions on everything from submitting one’s manuscript (and the difference between solicited and unsolicited manuscripts) to what I look for in a manuscript, and common mistakes I see in submissions.

I really enjoy demystifying the publishing world, so I hope to have similar opportunities in the future.

I then made a short visit to the Museum of Anthropology to see the Lawrence Paul Yuxweluptun: Unceded Territories show. Yuxweluptun lives and works in Vancouver, land that has never been surrendered to colonizers, and his work engages directly with environmental collapse, sovereignty, and occupation—oftentimes with surprising humour. The companion book to the retrospective recently won the City of Vancouver Book Award.

Image credit: Lawrence Paul Yuxweluptun/MOA

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