Meet the staff: Gemma Juan-Simó

It’s belated news, but another intern at the Press has joined the team as a full-time staff member! Here’s a quick Q&A to introduce you to Gemma, editorial assistant for the Library of Arabic Literature

Tell us about yourself. Where are you from? What are your interests?
This always feels like a trick question! I’m from Barcelona, although I spent a fair share of my childhood moving around. One of my interests, as a consequence, is language: I grew up speaking Catalan and Spanish at home, English at school, and then a farrago of tongues that I picked up on the way, from Dutch to Arabic (unfortunately, retaining linguistic abilities is a whole different story). I also collect keys from around the world, possibly a sentimental testament to my peripatetic origins. So if you have any old or spare keys, donate them to my cause!

And your role at NYU Press? What’s the most exciting part of your job?
I work with Chip Rossetti on the Library of Arabic Literature series, which is a trailblazing, ambitious venture in the field of translation that I feel immensely lucky to be a part of. Now that the first published books are amassing on the shelf, in their glorious cobalt blue covers, you really get a sense of what a commanding collection this will be.

Why did you go into (academic) publishing?
Despite having largely abandoned any PhD aspirations, I was wary of straying too far from academia, and my love of literature made publishing a self-evident choice. I also like being around and/or part of conversations about current and trending topics, which the academic publishing industry is always anticipating. The answer, in short, is: to further my education.

Most preferred way of reading? Good ol’ book or fancy schmancy e-reader?
At the risk of sounding absolutely ridiculous, I thoroughly enjoy the smell of books. The dustier and older, the better. Basically, it’s not reading if you’re not literally burying your face in the pages. Smelling an e-reader, on the other hand, is creepy and unhygienic. (That’s my answer and I’m sticking to it.)

What are you reading these days? Got a favorite NYU Press book?
I’ve been perusing a collection of Henrik Ibsen’s plays and revisiting Denis Johnson’s irreverent short stories in Jesus’ Son to get through particularly misanthropic mornings. As far as new fiction, I can’t wait to get my hands on She Left Me The Gun. I’ve also been known to lurk — actual words of an employee — in the philosophy section of The Strand.

In our NYUP catalog, I’m looking forward to Unclean Lips and, of course, the next volumes of Leg Over Leg, which cover a variety of titillating topics from marital relations and poetry to the sexual aberrations of Europeans. I’ve also been eyeing Arranging Grief in the backlist, which whets my scholarly interest in trauma theory. The list is infinite and overwhelming!

Any insider tips to tackling the great city of New York?
The G line is an unsettling lime green color on the map for a reason. Stay away from the G. Everything else is fair game.

What are some of your hobbies?
Beyond the expected (reading, writing), these days I’m toying around with a Diana+ camera, an analog from the 1970s that produces very neat, raw lomographic photos. I also spend a little too much time in thrift stores; my favorite is Pippin’s in Chelsea. I recently rescued an orphaned 19th-century full-length mirror that took eons to drag home on the subway. I’m verging on Hoarders territory, but it’s all vintage, so that doesn’t count, right?

Have you ever received any great advice about your jobs from a colleague or a mentor?
My first ever employer had a fertile archive of idioms he liked to share gratuitously (I say this with maximum affection). One saying that always resonated with me went: “A mucha hambre, no hay pan duro,” which more or less translates to… for a good appetite, there is no hard bread. In other words, all work is good work. I don’t generally subscribe to mottos, but this would be the closest thing to a guiding principle in my professional life.

Meet the staff: Tom Sullivan

Last month, the marketing team at NYU Press bid farewell to an adored colleague and friend, Bernadette Blanco, who left to join the world of trade publishing. Luckily, we were able to snag a familiar face to take her place: Tom Sullivan (hitherto, and likely always to be, known to us as Intern T). Here’s a quick Q&A to introduce you to Tom, the newest member of NYU Press!

Can you tell us a little about your role at NYU Press and how you got here?
As the Marketing Associate/Exhibits Coordinator, I make sure that NYU has a strong presence at all of our annual conferences, that awards are sent out, and that our marketing materials are as up to date as possible. I was originally an intern at NYU Press for two years—followed by one year at Oxford University Press—and now I’m back!

Why did you decide to pursue a career in (academic) publishing?
My first foray into publishing was kind of spontaneous. I needed a work study job while studying journalism at NYU, and I applied for a job as a Marketing Intern here at NYUP. I ended up enjoying it so much, that I decided to pursue a career in publishing after I graduated.

What are you reading right now?
I just finished an edited collection called Against Equality: Don’t Ask to Fight Their Wars, which contains various radical queer critiques of the LGBTQ community’s obsession with repealing Don’t Ask, Don’t Tell. A lot of the viewpoints were very controversial, so naturally I enjoyed every moment of it. I enjoy a good queer studies book that pushes your buttons and makes you think. GRR, rage, argument!

Good ol’ fashioned print or fancy schmancy e-book?
Print all the way. When I started at OUP, I purchased a Kindle so I could carry around Haruki Murakami’s 1Q84 without my arm dislocating and falling off, and I haven’t touched it since. I can see the appeal, but for me there’s nothing like holding a book in your hand. Also, you can’t browse the shelves of a bookstore with a Kindle. Gross.

What are some of your hobbies?
In my spare time, I aspire to watch lots of movies and try new kinds of food, but I mostly sit in my room eating Chinese food and browsing Tumblr. Just kidding, sort of. Now that it’s getting warmer here in New York, I love exploring new neighborhoods, going to museums for free, and reading in the park by my apartment. Basically movies, books, food, and “cul-chah.”

You’ve lived in New York for awhile. Any insider tips to navigating this crazy city?
For the love of God, please move away from the subway doors so people can get off the train. Also, explore as much as possible. There’s so much to see and do outside of Manhattan below 96th Street.

We know you’re kind of a foodie. Got any favorites you’d like to share?
I could go on and on (and nobody wants that), so here’s a few neighborhoods: Flushing for Korean, East Harlem for Mexican, Jackson Heights for Columbian and Indian, and Parkchester for Bangladeshi.

We *also* know that you’re pretty media savvy. What’s your social media network of choice, and what are you #obsessed with right now?
Have I mentioned that I’m addicted to Tumblr? I don’t post as much as I used to, but I can browse it for hours. I think it’s the combination of cats, pretty photos of food, .gifs, and unhinged social justice crazy that draws me in. Please send help.

Check out Broadist, an amazing body positive fashion blog, and Bon Iver Erotic Stories, which is not really sexual as opposed to ridiculous. Now if you’ll excuse me, I’m off to go pick apples with my beard-y future husband.

What are you most looking forward to this summer?
I have a ton of day trips planned. I love getting out of the city when it’s warm out, sometimes the heat and the crowds are just too much. Also ice cream. Eating all of the ice cream.

Meet the staff: Alicia Nadkarni

Over the past few months, our editorial team has undergone major transformations, welcoming *three* new members! You’ve already met Clara and Caelynnow let us introduce you to our rockstar (literally) Assistant Editor Alicia Nadkarni…

Can you tell me a little about your role at NYU Press? What subjects do you work on?
I work with Eric Zinner on our American Studies, Culture Studies, Literature, and Media Studies lists.

Where did you work before coming to NYU Press?
Before coming to NYU, I worked at Rutgers University Press in acquisitions and later became a production editor there. My transition between the two departments was a really amazing experiencefor some projects, I ended up working on the entire life of a book, from proposal to real-life bound book. By the time the books came out, I had very close relationships with those authorswe’d been through everything together! Before joining NYUP, I went to graduate school and got a Master’s degree in English and Comparative Literature at Columbia University.

What’s the most exciting part of your job?
I love talking to scholars about their work and their ideas for their next book. It’s so interesting to hear the subjects that people have chosen to explore and I love being a part of sharing that scholarship.

Why did you go into (academic) publishing?
I am one of those people who loves learning about new things and nearly any subject fascinates me. The first editor I worked with, Leslie Mitchner, used to always say that academic publishing is an extension of one’s education, and I honestly feel that to be true.

What’s the most obscure subject/project you’ve ever worked on?
I once worked on a book about bats, which was actually incredibly fun and interesting.

What are you reading these days? Got a favorite NYU Press book?
I tend to read multiple books at onceI hate to finish a good book and suddenly have nothing left to read! I usually read at least one fiction book and one theory or academic book at the same time. I just finished Neverwhere by Neil Gaiman, but I am also in the middle of Gaga Feminism by J. Jack Halberstam. I just started reading The Assignment by Friedrich Dürrenmatt, but it’s driving me nuts since each chapter is one long sentence. As an editor, it’s hard not to want to break out the red pencil. From NYU, I loved In a Queer Time and Place by J. Halberstam and Cruising Utopia by José Muñoz. I can’t wait to read Habitats by Constance Rosenblum and  Spreadable Media by Henry Jenkins, Sam Ford, and Joshua Green when they release in the spring.

Most preferred way of reading? Good ol’ book or fancy schmancy e-reader?
Usually, I’d say good ol’ book, but I just got a fancy schmancy smart phone and it’s been really great for reading on the go.

What are some of your hobbies?
When I’m not freelance editing or writing, I am a musician. I play several instruments, but I am primarily a bass player in several rock bands.

Meet the staff: Clara Platter

Over the past few months, our editorial team has undergone major transformations, welcoming *three* new members! We thought it was high time to introduce you to them and their work—next up in the hot seat is Editor Clara Platter

Can you tell us a little about your role at NYU Press? What subjects do you work on?
I acquire in History with a special focus on race, gender, and sexuality in the United States and with a new emphasis on early American history. I also acquire in Law where my focus is constitutional, criminal and immigration law as well as law and society and legal history. I evaluate submissions in a variety of disciplines and commission projects directly from scholars.

Where did you work before coming to NYU Press?
Before coming to NYU I spent a year with the Perseus Books Group at the imprint PublicAffairs, and before that Princeton University Press acquiring in history for both. For Princeton I edited a series called Politics and Society in Twentieth Century America and at PublicAffairs I looked for general interest history titles with special relevance to current events. I began my career at the University of Georgia Press while in college at UGA, where I worked as an intern for the publicist and then as a marketing assistant entering UGA books for awards. It’s been a long straight shot in a way, with only one year away from academic publishing. I’m so delighted to be at NYU Press now. I’m never leaving.

What’s the most exciting part of your job?
I think just the sheer exposure to so many smart people. I love that my job lets me talk to the most interesting scholars about their work, and that as a non-specialist I can ask as many questions as I want. It’s good for the brain, having so many little pools of knowledge to dive into.

What’s the most obscure subject/project you’ve ever worked on?
As an assistant at Princeton I worked for a wonderful editor called Robert Kirk who acquires in ornithological field guides (among other things). They were the most beautiful books, and working on them meant handling these extraordinary handmade drawings of birds.

What are you reading these days? Got a favorite NYU Press book?
Too many at once! I’m finally reading Douglas Blackmon’s important book Slavery by Another Name, and Peter Brown’s beautiful new Through the Eye of a Needle. I just read the page proofs for Jill Norgren’s amazing book Rebels at the Bar which is forthcoming from NYU this spring. I work next door to the Strand bookstore and the other day I picked up the most wonderful thing, it’s Stephen King’s On Writing and I have to say it’s about the best book about writing I’ve read in a long time. My favorite in the genre is probably Annie Dillard’s Living by Fictionalthough it’s a very different book in many ways. I like books about writing, and about publishing–I can’t wait to read our own Spreadable Media (forthcoming January 2013) for example, and I have Planned Obsolescence in my stack as well.

Any insider tips to tackling the great city of New York?
I have only lived in New York for two years so I don’t have any great advice yet, except that you really should leave your good shoes under your desk and not wear them in the street, and that Korean food by Penn Station is absolutely delicious.

What’s your most preferred way of reading these days? Good ol’ book or fancy schmancy e-reader?
Good ol’ book. Although I read the New Yorker on my iPad.

Have you ever received any great advice about your jobs from a colleague or a mentor?
The advice I always give to people who want to become an editor is to try to work for the best editor you can, and basically study them. How they write, how they evaluate projects, how they talk to authors, how they build a list. Don’t worry about how quickly you can acquire and just learn as much as you can and try to work on as many books as possible, taking on more and more responsibility. It’s a great way to become incredibly well trained, and the editor you work for will likely be grateful and help you in your career for years to come. For me that person was Brigitta van Rheinberg at Princeton. She’s an extraordinary editor who has fun with her work, a great combination in my opinion. She is at once highly demanding and always laughing. I try to be that way too!

Meet the staff: Caelyn Cobb

Over the past few months, our editorial team has undergone some major transformations, welcoming *three* new smart & lovely editors on board! We thought it was high time to introduce you to them and their work, so get ready—first up is Assistant Editor Caelyn Cobb…

Can you tell us a little about your role at NYU Press? What subjects do you work on?
I support Ilene Kalish, Executive Editor, on the Sociology, Criminology, Politics, and Women’s Studies lists. I’m the point person for authors on a variety of things, from contracts, to submitting final manuscripts, to blurbs. I also manage some of our peer reviews and prepare new projects for review by our internal board.

Where did you work before coming to NYU Press?
I previously worked at Oxford University Press for a number of editors in Politics, Music, and Dance. I’ve also had internships at the Poetry Foundation, the University of Chicago Press, and the University of Rochester Press.

What’s the most exciting part of your job?
It’s always the most fun when a book has just published, and you can tell that the author and the field are getting really psyched about it. In the social sciences, particularly, I’ve had the opportunity to work on books that release just in time to really impact the public debate on a given issue, from nuclear energy to political unrest in Egypt. It’s the best kind of payoff for all of the hard work that we do!

Why did you go into (academic) publishing?
I originally wanted to be a journalist, but I found that I liked working behind the scenes on the writing more than doing the reporting. So, I tried out a few internships to see if I’d like it, and it just so happened that my hometown (Rochester, NY) and my college town (Chicago) both had a lot of academic publishing. I fell into the field in that way, and I’ve really enjoyed it.

What’s the most obscure subject/project you’ve ever worked on?
Well, I do have to say, one thing I like about academic publishing is that no matter how small or ‘obscure’ the field you’re publishing in, you are always going to encounter someone who’s really interested in the work going on there. However, the music theory books I worked on at my last job were always totally over my head. Writing cover copy for them was so tough—tritones and quarter tones are just not my thing.

Why do you think academic publishing is important?
I think helping scholars reach a wider audience beyond their institution, or their specific field, or even outside their profession as educators is an important endeavor. That’s a big part of the work academic presses do and it’s valuable work.

What are you reading these days? Got a favorite NYU Press book?
I tend to go back and forth between nonfiction and fiction. I just finished up Intern Nation by Ross Perlin, an exposé about unpaid internships in the US, and I’m now working through a great novel by Victor Lavelle called Big Machine, which has been called “Invisible Man meets X-Files” (take that as you will).  As for NYU Press books, I’m looking forward to reading Pray the Gay Away and Planned Obsolescence.

Any insider tips to breaking into the publishing industry?
Be flexible! If you start out thinking that you want to, say, work in editorial on poetry books only, you’re going to have a really rough time finding a job. Yet, if you’re open minded about the type of books you work on, or the role you take on in the industry (marketing, production, etc.), you’ll have a better chance of actually getting into publishing and being able to make your way toward a career that’s a good fit for you. You also might just find that you like what you end up working on more than you thought.

What’s your most preferred way of reading these days? Good ol’ book or fancy schmancy e-reader?
It depends. If the book is more than 300 pages, I will probably want that as an ebook. I carry around enough as it is!

If you weren’t in editorial, which team would you be on?
Marketing! My first few publishing internships were in marketing. You secretly run the show in that department. It’s great.

What are some of your hobbies?
Yoga and cooking are the big ones for me. I also am a huge internet nerd and can spend entire afternoons on blogs in pretty much any subject. (Not on workdays, of course…)

Have you ever received any great advice about your jobs from a colleague or a mentor?
The best advice I ever got was to “put in your time.” It’s easy to come out of college and expect to accomplish a lot right away, but I eventually realized that you can learn a lot by sitting back and seeing how those who have accomplished a lot (actually) do what they do.