My internship with the University of Regina Press has been an extraordinarily eye-opening, future-changing experience.
I went in with little knowledge of the work that goes on behind-the-scenes of book publishing. Coming from a background of journalism, it was quite a shift in the way I view literature and writing.
Prior to the internship, I had a stern idea of what I wanted to do upon completion. I was going to either work in a government job in communications or become a reporter for mainstream media. My passion for journalism had stuck with me for nearly 20 years. I consider myself a storyteller, which is why I ventured into this field of choice. But when I came to the U of R Press, I realized that there are different ways to be a storyteller and discovering potential storytellers.
Many books the U of R Press have published, such as The Education of Augie Merasty, Children of the Broken Treaty, and Firewater, are books about stories that matter and are important.
A month into the internship, Bruce Walsh (UR Press Director) had asked me to compile a list of potential Indigenous authors who address issues such as foster care, gangs, etc. I went home and researched who I thought would be great in the specific categories. Working as a freelance journalist over the years, I had familiarized myself with many authors and the work they base their research on. I introduced the Press to Robert Henry, who focused his dissertation on Indigenous male masculinity in gangs. I also suggested Mike Scott, who is a popular public speaker who talks about growing up in foster homes that spiraled into a life of addictions.
Aside from bringing potential authors in, one of my many tasks was to search and apply for book awards. I’ve applied for numerous awards and a few titles were either shortlisted or winners in their categories. I’ve also had the great opportunity to attend the Saskatchewan Book Awards in April where a few of our books were shortlisted and recognized as winning titles. Perhaps the most moving part of the awards was the incredible honor to meet Augie Merasty himself. His memoir was eye-opening and helped me understand what many residential school survivors don’t have the courage to speak about. I wrote a response after I read the book and how it personally related to me.
What I also loved about working for the Press was the opportunity to attend conferences. I participated in Performing Turtle Island, the First Nations Language Keepers Conference, Congress 2016 and CINSA. I was able to be a presence at the U of R Press booths selling the books and answering questions when customers had inquiries. I like to think I became a pro at this task. I became familiar with the books, what they were about, who the authors were and sharing interesting facts. This is what captivated readers into wanting to read more. I was proud to represent our books.
During my internship with the Press, my passion for reading was reignited. I loved the opportunity to work with manuscripts. Being a part of the entire decision-making process when it came to selecting book titles and which images best represented the work for the cover was invaluable. Although I was only an intern, my coworkers always valued my input.
After being with the University of Regina Press for one year, I have changed my career path into publishing. I have a potential opportunity in a year’s time in British Columbia to work at a small publishing house. I am excited to move forward in this course of direction.
Thank you, University of Regina Press, for the internship opportunity to gain valuable skills, knowledge and the confidence to grow in this area.