2018 Grant Award: Cecilia Mabilais

This past summer, I was an editorial intern at Writers House, a literary agency. A literary agency is like the middleman between a writer and a publishing house—authors submit their work to an agent and if that agent chooses to represent the author and his/her work, they both move forward to work together throughout the process of editing the manuscript and making it the best it can be in order to sell it to a publishing house.

I absolutely loved this experience. I learned to read from an editorial perspective and to focus on elements of a story that I had never thought to pay attention to before. The work was extremely rewarding—I worked with two agents under the supervision of their assistants and my days consisted of reading manuscripts and offering editorial suggestions, but also of administrative tasks that are typical of an agent’s assistant. I worked the front desk a few times and worked with accounting once a week, learning about author royalty statements and contracts. I would work here again and again if I could—Writers House combined my love for books and reading with working directly with the material in order to eventually produce books—some of the most—if not, the most—important objects that exist in this world today.

Living in New York City was also a learning experience in and of itself. The only experience I have with living in a big city—or a city at all—is from my study abroad experiences, but living in New York helped me become more independent, especially because I wasn’t living with parental figures anymore and had to decide everything for myself—what to eat, when to do laundry, where to go grocery shopping, when to meal-prep, how to get from one place to another, etc. While I miss both my internship and my New York experience overall, I feel as though I’m in a better place now in terms of what my post-grad options are. I am now positive that I want to apply my English degree to a career I’m passionate about and I learned skills this past summer that I can apply to various jobs I’m interested in.