Written by Hetty Mosforth on Wednesday 7th March 2018.
Having made the (not too arduous) trek from Birmingham to London on a rainy Sunday night, I arrived at my Spare Room Project accommodation feeling a little apprehensive and unsure of what to expect. However, I was soon welcomed in by Alex and her family, and made to feel at home. The next day, I started out on two weeks of work experience at Penguin Random House, greatly reassured and ready to make the most of the opportunity.
During my stay, Alex explained a bit about her work in the Children's Division at Hachette, and helped me with everything from sorting out my Oyster card to finding the best bagel shop in London! Having originally planned to stay at a hostel, I really appreciated being able to return to home comforts—as well as two inquisitive cats—in the evenings.
Over my lunch breaks at Penguin Random House, I ended up swapping notes with the other work experience attendees. This reminded me of the struggles aspirant publishers face, especially when they are not local to London—one girl I talked to was doing an hour and a half commute every day, while another was staying in a busy hostel room. Though I felt incredibly lucky to have seen the Spare Room Project on Twitter, and grateful to James Spackman for finding me a place to stay, it was disheartening to know that not everyone had been as fortunate.
Breaking into the competitive, London-centric world of publishing is a big challenge, so it is wonderful that Spare Room Project exists to make it less daunting. I would wholeheartedly recommend the project to other interns and hope that in the future more publishing professionals will be able to pledge rooms (or sofas!) to those who might need them.