With the deadline fast approaching to apply for the Team Assistant job at Curtis Brown Creative, we’ve rediscovered this lovely blog piece, written by Leonora Craig-Cohen, who interned for us a couple of years back. Leonora’s now working as an editorial assistant at Profile Books, and is also writing some great book reviews for broadsheet newspapers. The team assistant role includes everything that she was doing as a CBC intern – and a lot more besides. So here she is on what it’s like to work for CBC:
My name is Leonora, I’ve been here for three lovely months and I’m going to tell you why you should get your application in by the 6th of December.
The first point in its favour is, obviously enough, the nature of the job itself. If you love fiction and supporting creative writers with their work, then this job is perfect for you! When the students enrol, you will be their first port of call for any problems or concerns they may be having, as well as interacting with them and the tutors on a regular basis regarding tutorial schedules and extracts for workshopping. Although you need to be practical to get everything sorted for the students on time (there is a lot of printing to do!), you also end up feeling quite maternal towards them. I’ll miss the students, but I’m looking forward to seeing their work on the shelves of my local indie bookshop.
Secondly, you get to take part in some very cool things. I was lucky enough to read S.D. Sykes’ ‘The Butcher Bird’ in proof copy and do an in-depth interview with her to celebrate its publication. This was my nerdy dream come true after doing a Medieval Literature Masters last year. Part of the Curtis Brown Creative intern’s role is assisting with our social media output, which means you get a bird’s eye of Literary Twitter and stay up to date with digital events. As part of Curtis Brown’s recent Discovery Day Online (a day for new writers to pitch their work to the agents and get their questions answered on Twitter), I helped to run a #CBCTips session where Curtis Brown Creative Managing Director Anna Davis, plus published alumni Antonia Honeywell and Kate Hamer, were online giving advice to new writers. Afterwards I collected some of the highlights in a blog piece here. The event was a great success and the agents’ pitching session #PitchCB was trending on UK Twitter for upwards of 5 hours.
Thirdly, the internship is also great if you want to hone pre-existing skills and develop new ones. You have to be an avid reader to want to work in this field, and there’s plenty of that! In addition to fiction, I needed to proof-read lots of new copy in time for the website revamp and help with the administration for the online courses. The Curtis Brown Creative blog is usually updated on a twice-weekly basis and needs lots of new content. If you already have writing experience, this internship allows you to keep writing on a regular basis. As well as author interviews, I got to write up collections of great writing tips from agents, tutors and published former students, as well as writing reviews and news pieces about our prize-winning alumni. Rufus and Anna are really keen to teach you useful and interesting things, from putting together news mail-outs on MailChimp to methods of archiving feedback forms for our records.
Last but not least, Curtis Brown is a wonderful environment to work in – people are very generous with their time and expertise, although agents and their assistants have a lot on their plates. The central location makes commuting in convenient and easy and authors often stop in on their way to events, as well as for meetings (try not to startle them by rubbernecking!). It’s great to know your time and efforts are valued and you can learn a lot in three months. What’s not to like?