Catherine joined the INCLUDAS team in May 2021 and is the Submissions and Acquisitions intern. We are so excited to have her with us!
Tell us about yourself.
I’m very creative and drawn to create things either with my hands through visual art or through the art of writing, so I would say my imagination is just something I enjoy about myself. Family has been the most significant thing because they’re my entire support system and the people who have influenced me the most.
What makes you proud of yourself, and what are your aspirations?
I’m currently in my fellowship year of my MFA program, so I would say this is, in the long trajectory of me pursuing my own writing goals, I’m very proud of having come to this stage. I feel like my dreams are very streamlined right now to finish this fellowship year. I also have a book project that I’m working on that’s in its editing and pitching stages. To finish that project would be my immediate goal for the future.
Why are you interested in working in publishing?
I first got interested in publishing because I’m a writer, so I started doing publishing-related things because I really enjoyed the editing process and being part of those invisible hands that move the manuscript forward into the world.
I really do see book publishing, especially young adult literature and children’s literature, as centers of cultural production because they are these story-telling mechanisms that both children and young adults see very early on, and they’re helping shape the language that they use and the things that they see and the things that they know. I’m very interested in publishing because I want to be involved in that process and make the center of cultural production a more inclusive place.
Why is disability diversity in stories important to you?
It’s important because why shouldn’t it be? That’s my gut reaction. It’s important because inclusivity is something that is needed to make empathetic, kind, and smart people. It’s something everyone needs. It’s important that no child feels left out—no one should feel left out—to make the world a better place.
I’d like to see more characters of all disabilities in fiction that impact their lives in a meaningful way. I sometimes see disabilities that are included in fiction in very superficial ways where they don’t actually impact a character’s life. I want to see a character who talks candidly about all sides of their disability. A lot of these young readers are reliant on things like books, movies, or television shows to give them glimpses into the world. Making books diverse is one way to give experiences to people who are deprived of that because of where they live and the content they have access to.
What’s the most fulfilling part about being on the INCLUDAS team?
So far, I’ve been enjoying reading through manuscripts and getting into the process of reading and doing research. I love looking at the potential that a manuscript has that’s in my hand and the impact it can have on the world and how it makes its way to publishers.
Any advice for those wanting to work in the publishing industry?
Apply to internships. Do your research. Don’t be afraid. Maybe if there are professors in your university, I would ask for leads because a lot of times in publishing, especially for editing jobs, have a lot to do with connections, so building networks is a really good place to start.