Bookish Discussions

My Masters Experience | Victorian Literature:

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I’ve put off writing this for *so* long.

I didn’t want to admit that my university experience was finally over. But this Tuesday just gone, I graduated for the second time. I’m no longer a student.

For those of you who don’t know, I studied my undergrad degree in English Literature at Liverpool John Moores University. It felt right. I loved what I was studying, even if I found it hard, or if some of the books were boring. I was happy.

I didn’t want my education to end. I’m someone who likes to learn; likes to cultivate the mind. I knew I wanted to do a Master of Arts since second year. I knew I wanted to do it in something I loved, something I was passionate about, and that was Victorian Literature. So, I sent an application off to the University of Liverpool, who have a specific pathway in Vic Lit. I got accepted and I started my Masters in September 2018.

I knew it would be hard. I knew it would be mostly independent work. But I didn’t know just how hard it would be. You got no help. Tutors would say “you need to write at a higher level if you want to pass this degree”, but they wouldn’t tell you how to write at a higher level. I still don’t know. They expected some much from you and just left you in the dark.

I found it so hard. One of my teachers even laughed with joy at the prospect of making me cry over email, telling me that I’m not cut out for this degree if I don’t start “writing at a higher, more intellectual level”. He actually laughed and said “OH! I haven’t made a student cry in years!”. I knew, from that moment, I was on my own.

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Bookish Discussions

UCLan Publishing | A New Episode in my Publishing Journey:

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I’ve struggled to find work experience in the publishing industry for a few years now.

There aren’t many opportunities in the North, with publishing houses being “too small to facilitate any experience” (an actual response I once got), and London being too expensive for someone who spent all their savings on simply surviving at university.

UCLan Publishing was the first publishing house to offer me a productive and universal experience in the world of publishing. I reached out to them one day in summer – just on the off chance they could give me something – and I didn’t hear back for months. But I woke to a random email one day, asking if I wanted to join them the following week, and I was thrilled.

I gained skills in editorial to marketing, sales to publicity.

I spent a lot of time in editorial. The team wanted to encourage my interest in that area; they wanted to push me and help me develop skills. My main responsibilities were reading through manuscripts, writing reader reports, creating blurbs, and looking at sensitivity reports.

I gained an insight into the current market of both middle-grade and young adult fiction, learning what types of stories would be successful in such a competitive industry. My favourite part of the placement was getting to read through all the manuscripts; it’s amazing to see how stories transform from drafts to fully published novels. And how the editor helps to shape the story into what it is. I can’t wait to be that person one day.

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Bookish Discussions

Victorian Literature | Semester II:

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As September draws nearer, I am one step closer to finishing uni *for good*. I’m to step into The Real World and I’m not ready. So, let’s prolong uni by writing my last ever module post, shall we? As with my undergrad (Year I, II, III:I & III:II) and the start of my masters (I:I), I thought I’d document the modules I chose and the books I was asked to study for the semester just gone!

I have to admit, semester II was the worst five months of my academic life. I had a lot of personal struggles, I fell out of love my degree & Victorian literature, and I lost all motivation to do well in my essays. I honestly stopped caring, which isn’t like me at all, because I usually love studying. (I’ll have a post dedicated to my masters experience going live soon if you want more info!)


Dissertation Project:

Let’s start easy.

I had to choose and present my dissertation idea to a group of fellow Victorianists, which I then later wrote up in essay form. There was no required reading, I only had to attend a couple of lectures, and I only had two assignments (only one of them was marked). This module was more about refining my dissertation topic than anything else.

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