Introducing: The BookEnds Literary Fellows!

Well hello there, BookEnds blog. I hope you all don’t mind me taking it over from Jessica for the week, because I’m beyond thrilled to share the work I’ve been doing this year and introduce you all (if you haven’t met them yet) to the six incredible women BookEnds has been collaborating with for our first ever literary fellowship. 

What exactly is a literary fellowship to us? Well, in all honesty, we’ve sort of been working through that as we processed this past year. I spent so much of my early career (if you can even call it that. I once only wrote freelance and ate grilled cheese every day for weeks) searching for learning opportunities and experience in publishing that just wasn’t offered to me in school. I struggled with having to find my own resources and pick through the internet for how to do basic things I was just never taught. I didn’t have a whole lot of mentorship or guidance, and I noticed how little that sort of support was for people who weren’t already in publishing. So, when I got the opportunity to be secure and in a solid place, I knew I wanted to lift others up along the way.

As an associate literary agent, I have access to networks and experiences that are oftentimes kept private and not easily accessible. I’d like to open that up. I wanted to bring on literary fellows who were willing to trust me and allow me to be a part of their journey, learning alongside me, meeting people within the industry, and developing projects with me and one of their own. The intent is to create a space that is highly educational, engaging, and a healthy place for someone to explore and experiment with the role they might like to be in in the future. 

My goal was to give as much access as I had to people who may not have your typical publishing journeys or educations. We’ve all sort of heard the typical publishing professional went to an esteemed university, interned in New York, and lives on the east coast and had connections with houses before landing their job. But what about people who don’t have the same resources or wealth? Or what about those who didn’t think of writing or publishing and college and majored in something completely different? I wanted to work with those with the unconventional paths or those without the same access. 

Throughout our time, I’ve broken months into themes (agenting, editorial, marketing, and book selling). Fellows had the room to network and explore career options and learn from people who may have had incredibly similar rises up. Also, as a small cohort, the community we built from within has been invaluable. Each fellow is also working independently on a project that showcases their skills and could potentially jump start a career. For a full breakdown of what we have been doing this year, you can check out my blog page!

This week, you will get a chance to meet all six of BookEnds inaugural fellows: Kiana, Alaa, Ramona, Kaitlin, Michelle, and Elba

Learn about them, their journeys, where they hope to contribute in the industry, and the projects they’ve poured themselves into.

-Emily Forney

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