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A new collaboration between Goldsmiths, University of London’s MA Black British Literature and Quercus, an award-winning publisher of fiction and non-fiction, is the latest step in driving meaningful change in the publishing industry.
Quercus will open an internship programme next year for students on the MA to apply to.
Co-founded by Professor Joan Anim-Addo and Dr Deirdre Osborne and now in its seventh year, the MA Black British Literature (previously known as MA Black British Writing) at Goldsmiths is the first, and remains the only, postgraduate degree in this field in the world.
With black and minority ethnic people underrepresented in academia, and texts written by black authors often missing from school and university course lists, the MA aims to increase intellectual awareness of and amplify these voices. Graduates have gone on to work in cultural industries, teach, pursue PhD research, and win awards for their own creative writing, among other careers.
Initiated by publisher Kerry Enzor of Greenfinch (a Quercus imprint) with Professor Anim-Addo and Dr Osborne, Quercus is launching their scheme with Goldsmiths as part of a long-term commitment to change within publishing, tackling under-representation and encouraging diversity.
The internships are an opportunity for graduates to gain an understanding of how a major publisher works and the role each department plays in the life of a book, while networking and getting hands-on experience. Two month-long placements over the 2021 summer break will be available, with pro-rata pay in line with the Hachette starting salary of £24,000 per year.
The new scheme will be open for applications from February 2021: applicants will be invited to submit a CV as well as a covering letter and those shortlisted will be invited to interview with the publisher, either in person or remotely.
Dr Osborne said: “Since 2014 the MA Black British Literature at Goldsmiths has been engaging students with the fiction, poetry, plays and life-writing produced by black British writers, and the diasporic and aesthetic heritages shaping this rich literary history. We are thrilled that a relationship with Quercus has resulted. These paid internships will offer students the chance to put this knowledge into action in the heart of a major world publishing house.”
Professor Joan Anim-Addo said: “I’m delighted that this year’s intake of students will have such a wonderful opportunity to look forward to, particularly after the challenging start to their academic year coping in lockdown.”
Jon Butler, Quercus Managing Director, said: “We want to give these students valuable experience, first and foremost. But more than that, we hope to give them a taste of what an exciting, fulfilling career this can be; and that they will want to return to publishing when their course is over and be a force for future change.”
In October 2021 Greenfinch is set to publish 'This is the Canon: Decolonize Your Bookshelves in 50 Books' by Dr Osborne, Professor Anim-Addo and literary activist and writer Kadija Sesay MBE. This decolonised reading list encourages people to reconsider what the ‘classics’ of literature are, by fore-fronting powerful, innovative fiction from writers around the world, of all backgrounds and races.