Hi there! Melissa here. I’m thrilled to be BookThug’s newest intern and taking part in their exciting adventures in literary publishing this spring.
I grew up outside of Toronto with over three generations of my family involved in all aspects of the printing industry. The intoxicating smell of ink, oil and paper is home to me—it sinks into to your skin and lingers in your memory. After spending some of my high school summers in the bindery and coiling books by hand, working as a publishing intern at BookThug feels like coming full circle, and I couldn’t be happier (bonus: BookThug is also way cleaner and quieter than a bindery!).
In 2014, I completed my BA in English at Burman University, a small private university in central Alberta. I am happiest when reading, writing, outdoors, and travelling—really, any combination will do. In the summer of 2013, I attended the Scottish Universities International Summer School (SUISS) programme in Edinburgh, Scotland, to study Creative Writing and Modernist Literature. Some of my favourite experiences from the summer were attending readings at the Edinburgh International Book Festival, scouring the city’s many used bookstores, and trying (though not really succeeding) to keep up at traditional ceilidh dances. My poetry from the Summer School was included in SUISS’ biennial publication in collaboration with the University of Edinburgh. During my undergraduate study, I also had poems published in journals in California and Montreal.
In 2016, I completed my MA in Public Policy and Administration at Ryerson University in Toronto. I enjoyed studying policy but realized that I missed literature, so I began my MA in Literatures of Modernity at Ryerson immediately after my policy program ended. The last two years have been a whirlwind experience of learning, being challenged, and writing like mad. I’ve loved it. Previous to my policy degree, I worked in communications on a fundraising campaign and enjoyed conducting interviews, developing the website, and writing news stories, articles, brochures, and other content for the campaign.
My academic and literary interests are rhetorical criticism, affect theory, Gothic literature, and contemporary poetry and fiction, including all things Can Lit. Some of my favourites books that I read this year are Citizen by Claudia Rankine, Kim Fu’s For Today I Am a Boy, and Dirty River by Leah Lakshmi Piepzna-Samarasinha. Now that I have completed my classes from the semester, I can’t wait to dive into BookThug’s amazing collection of poetry and prose! I’m especially looking forward to Deep Salt Water by Marianne Apostolides and Comma by Jennifer Still.
I believe that art and literature are powerful forms of protest and resistance. BookThug is inspiring to me because of their dedication to extremely talented writers whose projects are experimental, passionate, political, and diverse. BookThug makes such a distinct and valuable contribution to Canadian literature and it’s a huge honour to be involved with them, plus everyone here is so nice—is this real life!?
I am incredibly thankful and excited to be working with the BookThug team and I look forward to what is ahead!