By Hamza Jahanzeb, Intern at Working Partners Ltd
Monday 25 September 2017.
The Spare Room Project is an initiative supported by the Publishers Association and run by James Spackman of Profile Books. Publishers offer up their spare rooms for interns based outside of London.
I am very grateful for the Spare Room Project, as it allowed me to partake in internships I would not have had the chance to complete otherwise. This is due to me being based in Lancashire, and most publishing internships are based in London.
As all publishers don’t always necessarily pay interns, it is difficult for those who live outside of London to even consider applying - due to the financial burden that comes with renting a room and sustaining one’s daily expenditure. I gained a greater insight as my host Katie provided useful tips for someone like who was entirely new to the industry at the time. I also gained a better understanding of the different departments within a publishing house, as well as having a mentor who was encouraging and motivating.
I felt like not only was I a guest for my host, I made the most from the opportunity by attending publishing events that were also being hosted in London, and I felt most welcomed at these events. These included: a #BAMEinPublishing event (organised by Wei Ming Kam and Sarah Shaffi) at the Harper Collins office in London Bridge and Borough Book Bash - an informal get-together where industry professionals and those in pursuit of an internship/job socialised.
The scheme alleviated any stress that I had regarding the cost of renting a room in London for a short period (which can provide to be extremely difficult if the internship you’re assigned is only two weeks as was in my case!). I felt really determined and grateful for the chance to stay with a lovely host, but I also ensure that I optimised my time and felt that I gained a lot from the experience overall.
I highly recommend the Spare Room Project to anyone who is considering a publishing a career and who doesn’t live in London; I would like to see more inclusivity within publishing, and this initiative is a great one that I believe others can get involved in.