University Press Week: Columbia University Press
In honor of University Press Week 2020 we checked in with some our favorite University Presses to learn a little bit more about what goes on in University Publishing and how one could get involved in a future career in UP. Earlier this month we got to talk to Joanne Raymond (Jackie Bluu), Assistant Publicist at Columbia University Press here in NYC. Check out the conversation below!
Book Culture: How did you get your start in University and Academic Publishing?
Joanne Raymond: I started working in university and academic publishing when I got hired by Columbia University Press in April 2017.
BC: What was one of your first book projects you worked on?
JR: One of my first and favorite projects was Modern Slavery by Siddharth Kara, in which he conducted interviews and ethnographic research on current and/or former victims of human trafficking. I thought it was significant because he touched on modern slavery as a whole, focusing on sex trafficking, organ trafficking, and even labor trafficking. All of these are very much overlooked in our society and I was happy to see Siddharth bring light to these horrible crimes. The anecdotes from victims are also great add-ons in order to give personal insights on what often goes on. I’ve been an advocate for ending human trafficking since I was an undergrad, so any works that focus on modern-day slavery I always find relevant and I’m proud to support.
BC: Any advice for anyone considering a career in academic publishing?
JR: It is a slower pace from trade publishing, so if that’s what you’re looking for then it’d be a great career move. I personally prefer it to trade publishing not only because of the slower pace but I also work with books on so many different topics, from the history of tomatoes to the philosophy of food. The possibilities of what you can learn working on academic books are endless.
BC: What are you currently reading?
JR: I recently finished reading The Color Purple, which was interesting to dive into on paper rather than on screen. It was hard not to dissect everything I read and compare it to the film, which I watched ages ago. But I’m glad I read it at this age, when I could understand the story and appreciate it more for what it stands for, rather than as a teenager, when a lot of important parts would have gone unnoticed.
BC: What are you working on now that you're excited about?
JR: I am currently getting ready to release my full-length poetry book, (Not) Another Love Story, which focuses on emotional healing and self-love. I am also excited to say that I am preparing to write my first novel, Greetings from the Psych Ward. It’ll be a challenge as novel-writing is new to me, but I’m enthusiastic about the journey ahead.
Jackie Bluu is a poet and writer living in Brooklyn, NY. She received a BA in Anthropology at SUNY Purchase and a Masters in Publishing at Pace University. During the week, she works full-time as a book publicist at Columbia University Press, and on weekends as the editor of FishFood, a literary and arts zine.
Jackie has been published in Emotional Alchemy Magazine, Jawbreaker Zine, Awakenings, Laurels & Bells Literary Journal, Polemical Zine, Ponder Savant and The Journal of Expressive Writing. Her chapbook 'Facing the Beast’ was published in January 2019 and 'My Dear Melancholia' in May 2020. Her full-length poetry book, (Not) Another Love Story is due to be published in November 2020.
You can find more of her work, mostly poetry, on her Instagram page, @jackie_bluu.
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