Comparative Literature and Culture

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Student Testimonials

Francesca Pearce 

‘Where and in what role are you currently employed?’ I'm currently employed as a Publicity Manager on the fiction team at Pan Macmillan Publishers. I pitch books that I love to the media and try and secure coverage in print, broadcast and online.

‘What programme(s) did you study at Queen Mary?’ I studied Comparative Literature and Film at Queen Mary.

'Why did you choose Comparative Literature at QMUL?' I chose to study Comparative Literature because I've always loved reading and writing and there was really no deeper reason than that. Since then I obviously feel incredibly lucky to have done so as it's lead me on this career trajectory in the publishing world. The basis of my job is communication however without my degree I wouldn't have the breadth of literary knowledge necessary to work in this profession.

'What were the highlights of the degree for you?' One of the highlights of my degree was the research. With Comparative Literature there was so much to draw upon, and taking myself away in to the library and discovering all of that was amazing but at the same time completely overwhelming. Another highlight was the people, some of my great friends were on that course with me. We worked together, confided in one another and struggled on, and in the end we made it!

'How did Comparative Literature at QMUL prepare you for the world of work?'  I'm not sure that much can prepare you for the world of work. As previously mentioned, the course meant that I had the background knowledge that one expects you to have working in publishing. I also think that essay writing helped massively when it came to writing concise but interesting cover letters and applications. Seminars give you the confidence to speak up in front of contemporaries and of course deadlines are a very realistic element of working life, the rest of it though is just down to experience I think.

'What was your path from study to employment?' I hadn't achieved any work experience when I graduated and so felt very much behind my peers. First I became an Estate Agent of all things just so that I could pay my rent, and after that I did placement after placement at publishing houses, each time trying to make a better impression. I kept in contact with the people that worked there and continued to try and make myself indispensable. It was a bit of a hard slog, and it meant asking people for coffee and knocking on peoples doors again and again (not literally) until I finally got a job at Penguin Random House. I should mention that in the mean time I did get myself a marketing job at a legal publishers so that  I could pay my way.

'Any advice for someone thinking of studying Comparative Literature at QMUL?' Go for it! But make the most of your tutors whilst your at University, you wont get help like that again and their advice is incredibly important.


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