Michelle Phillips - BA (Hons) English; MA Publishing graduate

Current employer: Literature Works

Current job title: Project Manager; Copywriter

Current location: Plymouth

“It isn’t always easy to know what you want to do after graduation but you have to be honest about what will make you happy… figure out what makes you stand out and lead with that.”

Tell us about your career path since graduation. 

My mum has this story that she likes to tell: I could ‘read’ the Reader’s Digest Animal Filofax before I could string a sentence together properly. Of course, the reality is that I was good at remembering what I heard, but this was an early indicator that books and publishing was for me. I developed an interest in the industry throughout my degree and after taking a year to pursue publishing projects such as becoming a freelance editor, I undertook an MA with Plymouth in publishing, which led to an internship with Literature Works where I am now employed. 

Has your career path changed since graduation?

Yes. Since I loved writing so much I was considering a career in screenwriting, but I decided that to make the most of my passion for books and working with words, publishing was a better fit long-term and gave me the diversity I was looking for.

What is the most difficult thing which you have faced in your career?

Being brave enough to go after what I want. It isn’t always easy to know what you want to do after graduation but you have to be honest about what will make you happy. It can be difficult as so many people want to do what you do, but figure out what makes you stand out and lead with that. 

What is the best, most exciting or fun thing that you have done in your career?

Working on the One Giant Read Project with the UK Space Agency and RNIB. I have met some incredible people who have been so inspirational despite the challenges they have faced, teaching me so much about how privileged I am to be able to read words on a page. The best thing for me is bringing our content to such a diverse audience.

How did studying at Plymouth help you?

Plymouth reignited and fostered my passion for publishing. The course was designed to allow exploration of various potential career opportunities and the staff were so knowledgeable and passionate. Moving on to the MA taught me skills I didn’t know I could achieve and gave me experiences which are invaluable, like working with the noted biographer Carl Rollyson to edit his new book A Private Life of Michael Foot. 

What is your favourite memory of studying at Plymouth? 

There are so many. My favourite memory from English would have to be creating a chapbook of stories with a group of my close course mates called Terribly Organised Madness. Friday afternoons were such fun and our imaginations took us everywhere. Go Tee-Fo-Fo!

I can’t think of anywhere else I would rather have studied. The staff are so supportive and knowledgeable, the campus is amazing, Plymouth is a great city and opportunity awaits around every corner – so long as you’re willing to go after it.

Inspired by this story?

For more information about studying BA (Hons) English please visit our BA (Hons) English page. For more information about our range of courses within the School of Humanities and Performing Art, please visit the school page.

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