Reunions, Parties and a Celebrity Spot

A few weeks ago I was invited to the Lucas Alexander Whiteley (LAW) agency party, at their offices in Kensington. The weather was good enough to be outside in their garden, where trays of canapés were brought round at regular intervals. I was grateful that instead of tiny finger food, these canapés consisted of giant slices of pizza. The party was great fun, and I got to catch up with Kira, a friend of mine from the Columbia course who is interning at the agency. I was the last person to leave – obviously – which meant I got a tour around and sneak peak at some of their upcoming releases.

 

Kira!

Kira!

The following week we had a more fully fledged Columbia reunion for all the Brits, and newly adopted Londoners: Carolyn, Kate, Kira, Jess, and Daniela. Weird and wonderful to see them all out of the New York bubble, and catch up on news and updates. Also crucial to this gathering was food. Lots of it. Homeslice in Covent Garden is a favoured spot for many a Penguin, and I’m no exception. In short, they have cheap and good wine, much Prosecco, and pizzas so large that when they’re placed on the table there is no room for glasses/cutlery/anything. I look forward to doing this regularly.

Kira, Daniela, Kate, Jess, Carolyn and me

Kira, Daniela, Kate, Jess, Carolyn and me

Last week I had a day out of the office at BLE – Brand Licensing Europe – 2014. It’s huge fair held in Olympia where all the major brand owners from around the world have a presence, the aim being to sell licenses in their properties, and also to schmooze and see and be seen. It’s big, bright and colourful as you’ll see from the pictures below. I spent a lot of time wandering around with Emily and Rich, scoping out the various licensors, and going to a few meetings, and collecting some all-important swag. I was slightly overexcited to discover a ‘Table Dennis’ area of the ground floor – a Dennis the Menace themed ping pong table where I dragged Rich in between meetings. When I wasn’t exploring or playing Table Dennis I was curled up on a sofa at the Penguin Random House stand, catching up on some reading. Another highlight was seeing the Universal screening, where they showed the first ever footage of Jurassic World. Very excited to see it next year.

PRH stand

PRH stand

 

 

Puffin 'Dennis' books on display

Puffin ‘Dennis’ books on display

 

Dreamworks stand

Dreamworks stand

Ubisoft stand

Ubisoft stand

TABLE DENNIS

TABLE DENNIS

Comfy Penguin cushions at the stand

Comfy Penguin cushions at the stand

BLE

BLE

Mind Candy stand

Mind Candy stand

After the fair we went for a drink and then to dinner at Yas, a Persian restaurant on Kensington High Street, where I managed to find the one dish that didn’t feature lamb (ugh!), and thoroughly enjoyed it. We trekked further up the road to Kensington Roof Gardens, for the Mind Candy party! Mind Candy are regular collaborators of ours (the photo of me in bubble wrap on PopJam? It’s their app) and we have an exciting new project together, which I AM allowed to mention, as of four days ago. We’ve acquired rights to publish a range of books based on their new World of Warriors game, and I’ll be assisting on the fiction titles, written by the wonderful Curtis Jobling.

http://www.thebookseller.com/news/penguin-acquires-publishing-rights-world-warriors

photo 3 (1)

Roof Gardens

Roof Gardens

The party was great, and the venue pretty special – hadn’t been before. I gather there are flamingos there in the day time. We think we found where they keep them and tried to get in but couldn’t. Luckily it was a warm evening too, so we got to make good use of the promised gardens. The highlight of the evening was the spotting of Dick and Dom. What do you mean, ‘Who are Dick and Dom?’ Um, Dick and Dom IN DA BUNGALOW, the show that every child of the 90s remembers with fond memories, chiefly when our titular presenters had to shout ‘BOGIES’ in public places, obviously. Anyway, we got a photo with them, and it made certain members of our group very happy indeed. Photo achieved, drinks drunk, mingling complete, we piled high our bags of sweets from the snack table, and made our way home.

photo (1) (1)

 

 

Dick and Dom!

Dick and Dom!

Next time: visiting Zurich.

Tig

 

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London Publishing Adventures

Hello!

I’ve been back at work for four weeks now (though it sort of feels like I never left), and it’s back to busy business as usual.

On my first day getting up at 6:30 again was a slight struggle. So much in fact that I opted to snooze a bit longer and catch a slighter later train. At the station I saw my usual commuting buddies (we are in fact not buddies and do not speak to each other or make eye contact) and thought how great it was to have had this amazing break from my routine.

It was a bright and sunny morning, so I took the slightly longer route out of Charing Cross station to walk past Trafalgar Square – taking a few snaps to send to my American friends, to prove that London has its charms too.

Trafalgar Square

Trafalgar Square

 

Arriving at Penguin Towers

Arriving at Penguin Towers

 

I got up to the office to a lovely warm welcome from my fellow Puffins, and began unpacking my boxes. I was also greeted, much less warmly, by my inbox, which I’ve barely looked at in two months. I was confused because it said ‘2014’ in the top left which is not where the date should be. Cue sinking of heart when I realised that ‘2014’ was the amount of unread emails in my inbox.

OH HAAAAAYYY, INBOX

OH HAAAAAYYY, INBOX

The first few days I spent catching up on some of the above emails and getting up to speed with the latest news, particularly on the titles I help to look after.

clean desk

clean desk

I attend and minute a lot of meetings in the Children’s Division, which has been a good way to see what has changed – and what hasn’t! There are some exciting new acquisitions, and some more cool things in the pipeline.

Always promising to find danger signs on your desk. (This is for one of our awesome new books!)

Always promising to find danger signs on your desk. (This is for one of our awesome new books!)

My second week back was taken up with coordinating my first pitch. A book idea of mine for someone I wanted to approach became a possibility when we got in touch with the agent just before I went away. In those two months things have progressed, so it was pitch time. Doing a pitch is exciting and exhausting, as it involves lots of different teams having to drop everything at short notice. The end result looked fantastic, and it’s now with the agent.

To give you an idea of the very varied, and often totally random life of an assistant, I present to you the question of the box. I arranged a gift for one of our authors, and, feeling like being extra-organised, ordered it two weeks before we needed to send it. (I thought this would allow time for us to wrap it ourselves maybe, and for postage). The present in question was a lovely hamper from Fortnum & Mason and it arrived without hiccup on a Tuesday morning. Problem was, I hadn’t realised that the box contained fresh produce – most hampers don’t – which presented the mild conundrum of what to do with it. It was too big to fit in our fridges, I didn’t want to unpack the hamper to remove the fresh goods, and I couldn’t send it two weeks early. I ended up lugging it up to the 10th floor and begging the hospitality staff to store it in their industrial fridge for a couple of weeks. Luckily they agreed, only because August was a bit quieter for them and they had a bit of space. Phew!

My internet stardom

My internet stardom

Another highlight – if you can call it that – was the release of Mind Candy’s PopJam app. Mind Candy are regular collaborators of ours, and their new app is a creative community for kids. A few months ago my ‘esteemed colleagues’ wrapped me up in bubble wrap on the pub day of Phil Earle’s The Bubble Wrap Boy  – SEE WHAT THEY DID THERE – and it was documented by pesky photo apparatus. I hadn’t thought much more of it until the picture resurfaced…on PopJam. Most interactions involve kids drawing on the images that Puffin posts on there, so I’d envisaged cringing at some cheeky kids defiling my personage. They haven’t though, thus far, and I’ve got off lightly with a few ‘lols’ and ‘rofls.’ FOR NOW.

I have some really exciting new titles and projects to look after, which I’ll tell you more about soon. Hopefully I’ll also get into the swing of blogging more regularly again too!

What do you think about renaming my blog? I want to make it more publishing focused, so might make the change from ‘Tig in Real Life.’ How about something simple like ‘The Publishing Blog’? What do you think?

Until next time!

Tig

Canadian Adventures: Rochester, Buffalo, Niagara Falls, and Toronto

Sunday 3rd August

We got up early on Sunday and had breakfast at Pershing Square – where we often eat breakfast if we’re in New York as a family. It calls itself the ‘busiest breakfast in New York’ and I wouldn’t argue against that! The food is good, portions are generous, and turnaround is quick.

Having packed up the rest of our stuff, we went to pick up the hire car at the airport. Delays ensued but we finally got on the road at about 11:30, and began to leave the city behind us. Some of the views back at Manhattan from the north were beautiful, but I felt another pang of sadness when the last tips of skyscrapers and glimpses of bridge down the Hudson finally disappeared.

 

Where are we going?

Where are we going?

Rather than taking us straight north, through some of the scenic bits of upstate, our Satnav took us west through New Jersey. It was quick, but…scenic? Not so much. We even got as far as crossing into Pennsylvania, before we finally started heading back North. At least I can add two more states to my checklist, which now stands at, er, 7/50.

My almost namesake

My almost namesake

As we re-entered New York State, the heavens opened. It was the most prolonged, and worst, rain I’d seen since being in New York, and it lasted for ages. We bypassed Syracuse – not much point in stopping if we couldn’t leave the car without drowning – and carried on to Rochester, which was our earmarked destination for the night. We stopped briefly at a service station when the rain became too heavy to drive in, and watched people running, screaming from their cars.

We used the service station WiFi to find a place to stay in Rochester, and ended up at a lovely little hotel in a quiet, tree-lined street full of large detached houses with yawning front porches, and which generally felt like a million miles from NYC. A late dinner was followed by the best night’s sleep I’d had in months.

Cosy fire outside

Cosy fire outside. And a TV?!

Monday 4th August

My birthday!

We had a lie in, and then had a late breakfast. Sitting by the window, with the sun streaming in, Rochester innocently pretended that yesterday’s rain hadn’t happened. After all that’s happened in the last couple of months, it felt like a very odd place to be waking up to on my birthday, but not in a bad way. We packed up soon after, and hit the road again.

IMG_5643

Rochester to Buffalo was a drive of about 45 minutes. They call Buffalo the ‘architectural’ heart of New York, and this proved true by some of the impressive buildings we saw. More impressive however, were the famed Buffalo chicken wings I ate at lunchtime. I’m remembering them now, as I write, and can hear my stomach rumbling. Why don’t I have any right here?!

CHICKEN WINGS

CHICKEN WINGS

Next up was Niagara Falls which I was very excited about. We’d heard that the Canadian side was by far the better viewpoint, so instead of driving up through north-west Buffalo, we went south-west and crossed the Peace Bridge into Canada. The queues to get across the border were huge, and everyone seemed to be going from the US into Canada, rather than the other way (it felt a bit like we were fleeing a natural disaster or something). Eventually we got across, and I set foot on Canadian soil for the first time in my life. It was in a customs car park, but still.

CANADIA

CANADIA

 

 

We drove on to Niagara. It becomes clear when you’re nearing the Falls by the sudden increase in volume of cars, touristy shops, and big hotels. When we looped down another road, the roads were immediately full of people, and beyond them, our first glimpse of the Falls. We parked the car and then walked to join the crowds.

It’s easy to see what brought them there. Horseshoe Falls was directly in front of us, with American Falls to the left. Between them, a fifth of the world’s fresh water flows over a height of around 51 metres. I’ve never seen anything like it, and I was very impressed. I don’t think photos can really do it justice – it’s something you have to see in person. I did find it funny to see the boats way down below, which take tourists in waterproof ponchos up close to the Falls, where they get soaked through and scream. After walking up and down, taking it all in (and confirming that this side had the much better views than if we were in Buffalo), we set off for Toronto.

P1170461

 

P1170485

 

Would not want to be on that boat. Would you?

Would not want to be on that boat. Would you?

 

About 30 minutes after we set off, the rain began again. And got worse. And worse. And worse. By the time we’d reached Burlington on the Queen Elizabeth Highway, the traffic had slowed to crawling, and then stopped completely. We thought there must have been an accident ahead – it later turned out that they had to shut the highway because of flooding. In any case, plans for my birthday meal in Toronto quickly evaporated. Instead, we passed around a pack of Cheetos and some popcorn as we inched our way forwards over the course of three hours. By the time we got to Toronto it was midnight, and we had to drive around before we found a hotel that had space for us. All the roads seemed to be undergoing construction, which made it difficult to get around. We eventually found a hotel, and were just thankful to be off the road. It was certainly a birthday to remember!

Eaton shopping centre

Eaton shopping centre

Our time in Toronto was brilliant. The next night, I was treated to a great birthday dinner at Canoe restaurant, which is very high up with a great view over the city. We did some of the touristy musts – including the CN tower, Eaton shopping centre, Chinatown etc – as well as plenty of wandering around, seeing the Toronto University campus (beautiful), and I just enjoyed a switch off from the intensive months of the course. My mum and I also spent a day at the Rogers Cup tennis tournament, where we saw some great matches and players, from Djokovic and Dimitrov, to Berdych and home favourite, Raonic. We rushed to the practice courts to see Federer too, of course. On our way to the tennis we walked through York University campus, to be confronted by a sort of big, tailless beaver thing. It ran right up to us and got up on its hind legs, and up close I recognised it from my trip to the Natural History Museum as a groundhog! I was mildly concerned that touching it would result in rabies, but the people around us were encouraging, and said that it was the local neighbourhood groundhog, Len, so I petted his head. Realising we had no food, Len moved on a passing family, whose daughter shrieked and tried to hide in some bushes, as if she were being approached by a bear.

View from Canoe

View from Canoe

 

 

Night!

Night!

 

 

 

City Hall

City Hall

Campbell House

Campbell House

Chinatown

Chinatown

Justice building

Justice building

 

Len the groundhog

Len the groundhog

 

 

 

Novak Djokovic

Novak Djokovic

Rogers Cup

Rogers Cup

 

ROGER!

ROGER!

Too soon, it was time to fly home, only to find our flight delayed. We eventually set off from Toronto at around 11:30pm on Friday – after enjoying the pretty snazzy airport, where every table comes with an iPad – and arrived back in London the following day. The sun was shining, which almost never happens when you come back from holiday!

Arriving home again felt a little surreal, especially because the last two months haven’t really sunk in yet. My task for the rest of the weekend was just to sleep, rest, recover before going back to work on Monday.

To be continued!

Hey, London

Hey, London

 

 

 

 

 

 

New York Publishing Adventures: The End of the Columbia Publishing Course 2014

British/American Dictionary

Gnarly – I think we might use this word here too. It’s used to describe something as either difficult or unpleasant, but can also be used to mean good. E.g. ‘that vodka was gnarly’ = bad vodka.

Burglarized – this one makes me laugh. It sounds much funnier than ‘burgled’, because it makes it seem like the homeowner is the active participant in the verb. It also makes me think of burgers.

Monday 28th July

After the relaxed weekend, it was something of a shock to have to get up early, in time for the 9am career fair (how on earth am I going to get used to getting up at 6:30 again for work!?), and also to dress in a suit.

The career fair took place between our lecture theatre and Stabile, the ground floor common space, both of which had been filled with rows of tables. In fact, it looked a lot like a book fair layout, helped by the fact that every major publishing house and magazine had a stand there, from Penguin Random House and HarperCollins to New York Magazine and Condé Nast. The idea is that students go round to tables of interest, network like their life depends on it, and try to impress the company representatives enough that it might lead to something; from the publishers’ point of view it’s a meat market of promising potential employees.

I wasn’t sure how to manage it myself, not actually looking for a job. I decided to just go to the companies that interested me, to strike up conversations. Cue a few HR people to glaze over the instant they realised I was a) employed and b) British.

Nevertheless, I did have some fun discussions. Jordan Hamessley from Egmont USA compared notes with me on our favourite books set at sea, and I cooed about The Fault in Our Stars with the Penguin Random House table. At Condé Nast, I used my internship in the London office to start a conversation, which was in large part a ruse to grab a branded lip balm from their table. The amount I use lip balm, this should last me the best of a decade. There were two awkward conversations. One, with New York Magazine, when I realised halfway through that I’d been referring to it as The New Yorker (I smiled and excused myself); the other was with Scholastic, whose HR person told me they weren’t accepting resumés to look at, and that I should go into IT if I wanted to get hired (I gleefully told her this wouldn’t be necessary).

Later in the day, Jon and I went to get a few bits that we needed, and headed to the top of 5th Avenue, not a long journey from the dorms. A fruitless trip for me, but good to get a break from campus. We got back, got dinner, and joined Ryan, Carolyn, Gaia and Melissa to eat it. It was then time to get ready, because the evening was Carolyn and my joint birthday celebration!

My birthday (4th August) and Carolyn’s (5th August) would be after we’d left the city, so we thought it would be fun to do something to celebrate with our new friends while we could.  I’d booked the rooftop of Pera (the place in Soho we ate at a couple of weeks previously, where we inspected the roof), which, much to my surprise was free, on condition of a minimum spend. I was a bit nervous about this until I realised that 50 thirsty students would get past the limit no problem!

A bunch of us set off together from the dorms, and arrived bang-on 9pm, where some of the others were already waiting for us. We went up to the roof where the night-time view was absolutely stunning: the imposing Freedom Tower to the south; the bright lights and skyscrapers of midtown to the north; some rich people in their swanky apartments just across the road (bet they regret floor-to-ceiling glass windows now!). We had a fantastic night. Gaia and Melissa bought a flashing pink crown for Carolyn, and a disco, Brit-ish, tophat for me, as well as a cake with Jon and Ryan. I gave Julianna my camera and tasked her with taking photographs. The ones that would prevent my friends from finding employment are not included here. The cocktails were great – and they made a few of them ‘extra special’ when they knew it was my birthday – and it felt very New York!

Uptown view from Pera

Uptown view from Pera

 

Downtown view

Downtown view

 

 

Birthday hat! With Melissa and Alyssa

Birthday hat! With Melissa and Alyssa

 

A healthy table of drinks!

A healthy table of drinks!

 

Olivia, Ashley, birthday girl Carolyn, Laura, Xian, and Alyssa

Olivia, Ashley, birthday girl Carolyn, Laura, Xian, and Alyssa

The rooftop closed at 12. We briefly stopped in at SOBs, which was closing, but also probably wasn’t our best choice of club. Instead, we went back to campus and continued celebrations on the 3rd floor until the early hours, and until some of my friends accidentally locked themselves out of their apartment. Sitting in the corridor waiting for the warden person to come to the rescue, we were suddenly sleepy, and the night drew to a close.

Tuesday 29th

After a sleepy morning, I had to get over to the Upper East Side for 2:30, to help move furniture. That evening, the class of 2014 was invited to Christopher Cerf’s house for dinner, the very final CPC event, and another tradition for the course. His house, in a beautiful spot in the 60s, was apparently full of things that would need clearing to make space for the party.

Alyssa, Sam, J.D. and I got there, with Shaye, Stephanie and other helpers, to find an amazing house which did indeed have boxes and things everywhere. We cleared space in the main room downstairs and in the amazing library room upstairs. The process was fun, mostly because we kept uncovering Emmy awards that Christopher has won, scattered about the place (as you do), and rare and beautiful books, including some first editions. I wish I could include pictures here, but I don’t think I should!

Once finished, there was an awkward amount of time left to get back to campus and change etc, so I decided to stay out, and had brought a change of clothes with me. Alyssa and I wandered up to the Park, and sat by the zoo for a little while, before walking past the Conservatory Water with the tiny sail boats, where jazz was playing, up to the 80s. Alyssa went off to get ready and I looped back, further in the Park, and sat down to read.

Conservatory Water

Conservatory Water

I read for too long, and had to hustle to get back to the house in time. I realised I was all sweaty and still in my shorts and t-shirt, so dashed into Bloomies to get changed in their fancy restrooms. More appropriately attired, I headed back, bumping into Alyssa again on the way.

The party itself was great, with a crowd comprised of this year’s class, some alumni, speakers from the course, resource people, and some other guests. It was a great mix, and a really fun occasion. I made several trips to the snack tables, where treats included mini-chicken skewers, and chips and dip, ably assisted in the snacking by Julianna. The outside patio was particularly popular, as there was more space to mingle, which I tried to do as I realised it might be the last time I see some people for a very long time. After what felt like far too soon, it was time to leave, and the 140(?) strong group began filtering to the sidewalk, after thanking our host profusely. People began splitting off to go different ways. A bunch of us (Marc, Kira, Ryan, Erin, J.D, Andrew, Xian, Claire, Nicholas, Concepcion, Mackenzie, Sam, Nicola, Mary) walked to a nearish bar where we spent an hour or two, around long tables and a glass of wine. Again, too soon, it was time to head home, and begin the awful process of goodbyes 😦

Okay, one photo of the Cerf party. I can't claim credit for this one!

Okay, one photo of the Cerf party. I can’t claim credit for this one!

People were still up back at the dorms, so I joined the living room of 5B for a while, though some more goodbyes beckoned.

Wednesday 30th

Wednesday was a strange day, as people started to leave the dorms in earnest. Melissa had to leave at 7am, and I’d gone to bed before she’d done her farewells, so I missed getting to say goodbye to her. In a way I think this is the way to do it, so it’s less like a goodbye at all!

I escaped all this by going to the Natural History Museum with Marc, his friend Jamie, and Jon. We met at the small mammals exhibit, and they scoffed at my lack of knowledge about North American wildlife (who knew that groundhogs are real things?). We saw the large mammals, though we were just as interested in the scenery as the animals, and it struck me how little of America I’ve actually seen, having never been to those sprawling landscapes that the museum was showing.

All the fish

All the fish

 

 

Rather large whale

Rather large whale

We saw the marine exhibit and, of course, the dinosaurs, where we got up close to the T-Rex. I asked a man standing there to take a picture of all of us. His badge said that his role was ‘fossil advisor’ and he seemed a bit miffed that I’m asked him for something as trivial as a photo. He was even less happy when I asked him to take it again (he had cut off the T-Rex in his first attempt. Photographer, he ain’t). After that, we took a break outside and ate hot dogs in the sun.

Friends and a T-Rex

Friends and a T-Rex

My parents called to say they had arrived in the city, so I headed back to the dorms briefly before setting off to see them at their hotel in midtown. We stayed in the room for a while, catching up on the last two months (it seems like it has been much longer but also like it has flown by without me noticing.

I went most of the way back up to campus to have dinner with Ryan, Jon, Carolyn, and Gaia at a pizza place. Later, Gaia, Ryan, Jon and I went for a wander round campus, and sat by the Alma Mater statue until much later than we’d intended to, but everyone wanting to spend time together before Gaia and Carolyn’s departure the next day.

Thursday 31st

To thank us for helping to move things at the Cerf house, Shaye took J.D. and me to lunch across the road. Shaye’s holiday was the next day, and you could see the visible relief etched on her face – if anyone’s due a holiday, it’s her! We talked about the course, but also about New York more generally, a little about Shaye’s career, the future, and upstate New York, which I’m about to see for the first time. Lunch – a steak sandwich and some watermelon-lemonade – was fantastic. We walked with Shaye back to her office, then it was time to say goodbye to her and to Stephanie. Shaye made me promise to come back to New York soon, and to visit when I do, so I guess that’s one of my trips for next year sorted!

My parents came up to visit campus after that, giving me just enough time to clean my bedroom. After inspecting my digs, we had a walk round campus, which meant I could introduce them to Carolyn, Jon, and Ryan, before they headed back to the hotel.

Gaia and Carolyn were busy packing up their last things. We surveyed the scene in their flat, with Cara, Leora, Jess, Olivia, and Alexis. I went to get Chipotle with Gaia and Alexis just before Gaia and Carolyn had to leave. Goodbyes were bad – big group, a taxi waiting, people crying. It was different for me, knowing I’ll see Gaia and Carolyn soon in London, but still hard. We stayed in the road, waving, until the car was out of sight.

Jon, Ryan, Alexis and I went to sit by the statue – becoming a regular spot in the last few days – where we found the owl hidden in the Alma Mater’s robes (it’s a thing)

Friday 1st August

I went to see my parents again on Friday morning, and take some of my stuff over to their hotel. Jon was moving things into his flat, so we shared a taxi. After dropping off my stuff, stealing some of my parents’ food, and buying a questionable chicken sandwich, I helped Jon take his bags over the Brooklyn.

The journey didn’t take too long, through traipsing through the streets with suitcases wasn’t ideal. We spent some time on the roof of Jon’s apartment block, enjoying the views back over Manhattan, and had time for a quick sample of the ping pong table before we set off back to the island, stopping at Grand Central Market for food on the way.

Manhattan in the distance

Manhattan in the distance

Grand Central Market

Grand Central Market

That evening, we had our final rooftop gathering on Hogan Halls. It was fun to have most of the remaining group together, but I was also sad at the prospect of not seeing them again for a while, and at the course being over. Between leaving the rooftop and going on our night out, there were plenty of individual goodbyes to be said, which didn’t help the sadness factor. Actually, some supervisor lady came out and shouted at us and told us to get down from the roof – turns out we were never meant to go up there, whoops. Do we care?

Goodbye, Hogan rooftop!

Goodbye, Hogan rooftop!

Our final group heading out – me, Ryan, Julianna, Jon, Cara, and Alexis – had to walk twenty blocks, as the 1 train wasn’t stopping from 103rd to 116th. We went to midtown, to Beer Authority, directly opposite the New York Times building. The rooftop had just closed, but we still got a peek at the view, before bagging a big table downstairs, where we were joined by Maggie, and later by Dmitriy.

Julianna, Ryan, Alexis, Dmitriy, Jon and me. Maggie the photographer?

Julianna, Ryan, Alexis, Dmitriy, Jon and me. Maggie the photographer?

We had a good time, and I was tutored in perfecting the New York accent by Maggie and Julianna, though I still need some work, I think. After goodbyes to Maggie, Cara, and Dmitriy, the rest of us headed back, in a fairly sombre mood. Julianna, already moved out of halls, had the unenviable pleasure of staying on our couch.

Saturday 2nd

I left very early on Saturday morning. We had to be out of the dorms by 11, but I was going to have breakfast with my parents, and I was also keen to avoid the trauma of more goodbyes. A slight crimp in the plan was the intense stomach pain I woke up to at about 4am (having gone to bed at 3), which kept me awake on and off until I got up at 6:30.

Jon was leaving at the same time, so we carted our luggage down to the reception area. We gave Maria, the night shift security lady, big hugs because she was the nicest person you could hope to meet. She said that it if we’re ever in trouble in New York, we should come back to her here. Mild concern that she thinks we might be homeless, but a really sweet offer.

After two months of sun, New York chose that moment to reproach me for leaving, and unleashed the rain clouds. We found Marc and Jamie by the door to the street, and we all just stood there, slightly numb from sleep, without an umbrella between us, wondering how to do this. Summoning energy, we shuffle-ran down the street and across the road to shelter under the awning of Book Culture, then Jon and Jamie went to hail a taxi – both going to LaGuardia. Mercifully, there were lots of taxis, so they got one quickly, and we had time for a brief goodbye before they were off. Marc and I returned to Book Culture to regroup, before venturing to the curb again. Another cab followed suit, I said goodbye to Marc, all of us soaked through by this time, and left Columbia.

By the time I got to my parents, I was feeling much worse, with a full on cold descending. I promptly fell asleep and woke up again at 11. We had a slow rest of the day, venturing to the Boathouse at Central Park when the weather got better. In the evening, Ryan and I met up at Bryant Park, before having dinner with my parents there – quite fitting it was the first and last place I visited on this trip to New York. After my last goodbye of the course, to Ryan, we went back to the hotel for the final sleep in NYC.

The Wallaces and Ryan

The Wallaces and Ryan

 

So that’s it! I had the most incredible seven weeks, and an experience I’ll never forget. To anyone thinking of taking the course in 2015…do it! I’ve come away with incredible contacts, and got to meet some amazing people in the industry. Most importantly of all, I’ve come away knowing over 100 people who will be going into publishing, with whose careers my own will certainly cross many times, and I’ve made some brilliant friends.

I want to go back to one lecture briefly, the one with Joanna Rakoff, the author of My Salinger Year. The book documents her first year in publishing, as an assistant, and how she responded to J.D. Salinger’s fanmail. I started my blog before I got into publishing, and stopped after I got my job at Penguin, which wasn’t so much a decision, more that I didn’t make the time. Listening to Joanna, I wish that I’d documented my first year in publishing, and while I can’t go back and do that, I can promise to keep up my blog and document my second year in publishing. So among everything else it’s done for me, thanks for that too, Columbia Publishing Course.

Tig

p.s. here is a link to CPC Super-Grad. Every year the USA’s main publishing news website, Publishing Trends, compiles the best parts of the students’ biographies into one ‘super’ biography. Enjoy! http://www.publishingtrends.com/2014/08/columbia-publishing-course-2014-super-grad/

We'll always have Columbia

We’ll always have Columbia

 

 

New York Adventures (Columbia Publishing Course) Days 1-2

Day 1:

Arrived about 5 hours late, shared a taxi with a friend made on the plane, dropped off at Pod 39 hotel which would be my residence for all of about 12 hours. It had a cool rooftop bar (this will become a theme)

Rooftop bar awaits...

Rooftop bar awaits…

 

Downtown view

 

Day 2: I thought it only right to start off with some shopping (who knows if I’ll have much free time later, right?) so started off at Union Square where I came away with some new shoes.

My first ‘lost in translation’ moment wasn’t far behind. We have to provide our own bed-linen, which I hadn’t brought with me, so next up was ‘Bed, Bath and Beyond’. It’s gigantic, Ikea scale, and mystifying. I asked for help finding a ‘DU-vet’ which was met with a blank stare. I then described what I wanted and was led to a wall of ‘comforters’, while the salesperson looked at me like I was a total moron. I thought I’d be smart and asked for a ‘comforter cover.’ Nope, this is called a ‘du-VET’ cover. Yikes.

I finally arrived at halls and moved my stuff in. My room is great and I will endeavor to keep it tidy. I’m facing north and west; I can just about see the Hudson if I teeter precariously on the window sill.

Home for now

Home for now

 

 

We kicked off the course with an orientation BBQ, where I got to meet my new classmates. We all have name-badges which are a total lifesaver! Great energy and enthusiasm; everyone excited for the course to start. About 20 of us gathered on Sunday evening and, crowded round one person’s laptop in one of the suites, we watched the season 4 finale of Game of Thrones. It was impossible to hear, and we had to turn the subtitles on, but a pretty perfect first evening – also a good early indicator that I’m on a course with like-minded people!

Tig

Each post, I’ll include new Americanisms that I’ve learned. Let’s kick off:

Americanisms Glossary

‘Comforter’ = Duvet

‘Bubbler’ = a water-fountain (I think this is a mid-West specific term; will investigate)

‘Cleats’ = studs on a football/rugby boot

‘Powerport’ = Plug socket (how much cooler is powerport!)

 

 

Penguin Walk 2013

The Penguin Waddle 2013

WALK_BANNER_brightOn Friday 14th June, 470 flightless birds descended on London and waddled their way through the city for the annual Penguin walk. Dressed in our eye-catching (neon) Penguin t-shirts, my team set the tone for our afternoon by being late for the organised send off – we stopped off to get our free energy snacks but were left with only dodgy bananas to fight over.

PenguinWalk

The day was glorious and we saw London at its best over the course of our 10 mile (10 MILE!) wander, passing landmarks like Buckingham Palace, The Royal Albert Hall and Hyde Park. The aim of the day was to raise money for The Children’s Reading Fund, not just with blisters but also by buying the wonderful baked goods sold by schools en route. Mary Berry would have been impressed!

We took over a Waterstones display for some photo ops (and a wedding!), and may have dallied a little longer than we should have by the Serpentine, but we more or less caught up with the main crowd by Trafalgar Square, and were just in time for a well deserved party at the end. Bring on next year’s walk!

Goodlookpenguinwalk

Thanks to St Barnabus school for this brilliant picture, it certainly boosted morale – almost as much as the cakes. 

Tig,

Editorial Assistant, Puffin 

Penguin: Week 3

Hi!

Really delayed post! This week’s been full of visits and a trip to the tennis at the O2 (might post some pics of this soon), so here’s a belated review of last week at Penguin.

The week kicked off with more Wimpy Kid activities. This time I had to write a ‘Dear Bookseller’ letter to Waterstones’ stores, instructing them how to use the Wimpy Kid event kits that go along with the release of the book. Plenty of other research to do too, including Doctor Who (where do fans hang out online), and advertising spaces.

Calm before the storm: We sent out hundreds and hundreds of books last week. For the Xmas round up it was about 50 packages of 18 books each – heavy!

There were HEAPS of books to send out last week! It was mostly Christmas round-up stuff, so Alice and I got a pretty mean production line going on all that. We also got to take home a lovely new anniversary edition of The BFG.

One of the highlights was being asked to read the new ‘Diary of a Wimpy Kid’ book, to devise some interactive questions for the Facebook page, which should be appearing soon. The book’s great, and I read it in an hour and a half, so perfect for a quick read. That’s the kind of work I could get used to.

The BFG slipcase edition – would make a great present for any Dahl fan

Another highlight was phoning libraries on Wednesday, to bump up promotion for Wimpy Kid author Jeff Kinney’s UK tour. Got to say, I hadn’t previously had much experience of cold calling, but it went surprisingly well – I didn’t offend anyone, didn’t forget what on earth I was doing, and didn’t make the tour crash and burn. In fact, I managed to get promotional material to every library in Somerset, so I was pretty pleased.

This was the first time I’d interacted with my office phone in any way, and as soon as I put it down, it rang. It was a lady with an excellent name (think confectionery) complaining about a book not working. I should explain – it was a book with sound buttons called ‘Noisy Noisy Bird’; the gist was that Noisy Noisy Bird was suspiciously quiet. She was reluctant to accept that I couldn’t be much help to her, as reception apparently gave her my number specifically (clearly they were bored and thought they’d have a laugh). Anyway, I gave her the right number and I like to think she and her Noisy Bird have been reunited.

The end of the week was sad. Three weeks seemed to have flown by, and I felt like I was really getting to grips with it all just as I had to leave. Ruined everyone in the office’s diets by bringing in fudge, and Alice and I feasted on Celebrations and Starburst. The good news is – I’ll be returning to Penguin in March, this time to the editorial department to try my hand at that side of publishing. Really excited about that, and I’ve come away from these three weeks with even more conviction that publishing is exciting, challenging, and is definitely for me. 🙂

Tig (@TigWallace)

p.s Third Wheel is out now – so cool to see all the posters everywhere, and to see it on bookshelves. Great to have a sense of what’s gone on to make all that happen!