Joanne Marjoribanks, MLitt Publishing Studies, 2012-2013

December 19th, 2012 | Posted in Student Profiles | Comments Off on Joanne Marjoribanks, MLitt Publishing Studies, 2012-2013
Tags: , , , , ,

I have had a lot of career aspirations in my life – teacher, meteorologist, dancer, political researcher – but the only constant passion in my life since I was a child has been my love of books. There is even some hilarious family video footage of me at about one and a half years old enthusiastically waving a Disney book around and then trying to flip through the thick pages with my little stubby fingers. When I graduated with my undergraduate degree, I was convinced that my future career lay in the world of politics, even going so far as to take up an internship with the Scottish Liberal Democrats during my year out. However, although the internship was a really great experience, I left convinced that a political career wasn’t for me.

Disillusioned, I turned to my mother for advice, and she suggested publishing. I felt so stupid – of course, why hadn’t I thought of that?! I immediately began a Google search and quickly found the MLitt Publishing Studies course here at Stirling. For some reason that still eludes me, I had never considered a career in publishing before. I loved books and literature, yet I didn’t want to be a teacher, so I felt that my passion would have to remain a hobby. However, publishing seemed like the perfect fit for me, and this course the perfect avenue into the industry. I have no direct experience working in publishing – although what I learned during my Lib Dem internship has helped me a lot – however I have been published twice in poetry anthologies via two national poetry competitions run by Poetry in Print.

I completed my undergraduate degree in American Studies at the University of Dundee in 2011. The flexibility of the course was fantastic and allowed me to study modules in English, Politics and History, which were completely focused on the USA. In my final two years I was able to narrow my focus in terms of the modules that I chose. I also had to decide which of the three module subjects I would focus my dissertation on. Considering that at the time I thought I wanted to work in the political sphere, it would have made sense to undertake a dissertation in politics. However, I couldn’t shake my love of literature, and to that end I wrote my dissertation on the significance of the wolf symbol in American Literature, beginning with Native American legends and ending with a number of late 20th century novels featuring the wolf as a central character. Despite the stress involved, I actually really enjoyed the process, and only wished I could have written more than the 11,000 word limit allowed!

I am only a few weeks into the course, and having finally gotten to grips (I hope!) with the classes schedule and all the assignments for this semester, I feel I am finally settling down to enjoy what I am learning. I already feel that the way I look at the world is changing, not least because I am now seeing Helvetica everywhere! When I pick up a book and see that the paper it is printed on is of a poor quality, I wonder what led the publisher to make that decision. I find myself looking at posters, leaflets and magazine advertisements and trying to decide whether or not they represent examples of effective marketing. I can only imagine how my impressions of books and the wider world will have changed still further by this time next year, but I am definitely looking forward to finding out where this course will lead me.