A little obsessed with books...

Hello! I hope you are snuggled up with a cup of tea ready to talk books!

I am a 21-year-old student working towards making my lifelong love a career: books! So let's get started with my literary history.


Books are at the epicentre of my childhood. My mum reading books to my sister and I, an audio book of The BFG by Roald Dahl (read by Stephen Fry) that was played on repeat, and - most importantly - the school library, are all vivid memories.


The library was my favourite place at school and I remember finding an endless treasure trove of reading material on any topic I sought. At the far end of the library was the reading hole, which was a square hole with three levels dug into the foundations of the library covered in rough blue carpet. (As you might imagine, South Africa didn't have rigorous health and safety standards.) This hole looked like an upturned, hollow Lego tower that was shoved into the floor, and was dotted with giant beanbags and a few scraggly pillows. I became a book mole, spending countless lunchtimes reading in the book hole.


I worked my way religiously through the entire shelf of Roald Dahl books (twice), every vaguely horse-related book, Jeremy Strong's books, and many more besides.


My other favourite place was a second-hand bookshop my mum would take us to weekly. The children's section was small, but well-stocked. Like many young girls, I amassed a vast collection of Jacqueline Wilson books - The Cat Mummy remains one of the most beautifully traumatic books I've ever read, and I highly recommend it if you love an emotional read!

Later, in 2009, I moved to the UK. As a shy and quiet child, this move was (to say the least) traumatic. Prior to the move, all my books were given to the second-hand bookshop that I loved, or distributed among friends, making the loss of my personal collection -slightly - less painful. However, I then discovered that the UK publishing industry had more books available than I could ever have dreamed.


This was a good push to expand my reading and I started a new collection, delving into the middle grade books. Rick Riordan and Michelle Harrison (who I had the pleasure to meet at school) were my favourite authors, and I remain today very fond of their books, and excited for new releases!


At the girls' school I attended, I became a piece of furniture in the library. Once again I had found my haunt, and the lovely librarian would never ask me to leave. This wonderful librarian would always find a task I could do and under her guidance I learned the Dewey system, started to read new genres, and learnt how to review, as well as recommend, books. This marvellous librarian also helped me gain work experience in Year 11 at the lovely independent bookshop through which she ordered books. This work experience was key in my later book development, and I am incredibly grateful she arranged it because …


The world of book-selling is incredible!


Immediately, I've found that the more enthusiastic about books you are, the better, which works for me because books. Are. AMAZING! (As you might be able to tell, I'm a little obsessed with books). I completed a week of book-selling work experience at the Children's Bookshop London, and found recommending books to be instinctual. Finally: a place where I could gush about books, to people who come to ask about books!


I was extremely lucky as a few months after the work experience, I was offered a Saturday job at the Children's Bookshop. I have been there for more than three years now, and it has been an incredible insight into the publishing industry, as well as a hub of books for local book lovers. I have delighted in watching our regular customers select books I recommended, and then come back for the rest of the series. Nothing is more rewarding than having suggested a book that is well-received!


So, where to from here?

In the future, I would love to have a career within the publishing industry which has given me so much joy. My aim is to have a day job I am passionate about, where I can spread the pleasure of books to readers - both young and old. My passion and experience stems from the children's book industry and, because of this, I would love to become an author and illustrator of children's books. However, while I am working on my projects and writing manuscripts, I would still love to find work among books, and so I am looking for a position in publishing, with a view to be a part of a team who develop the books from first draft to finished product.


Thanks for reading!