An Interview with Anna: 15 Year Work Anniversary!

This month Anna and Sarah are celebrating their 15 year anniversary working at Channel View/Multilingual Matters. In this post we ask Anna a few questions about the last 15 years…

What made you apply for your first job at MM?

I’d love to say that it was a burning desire to work in publishing and a long-held interest in multilingualism. However, the truth is that I finished my degree and knew I wanted to stay in Bristol, so I applied for every job in the local paper that I thought might be interested in an English and Philosophy graduate, including setting crosswords and training as an academic librarian. Multilingual Matters invited me for an interview, and the rest is history!

Anna on her first day

Do you remember your first day?

My first day was spent ‘celebrating’ the departure of my predecessor Berni, who had worked for Multilingual Matters for 17 years (such a long time!) I made a banner out of old printer paper, and then we went for a very nice lunch with plenty of wine. So not an especially taxing day, but quite a good introduction to the culture at MM.

How has your job changed over the years?

I started as an editorial assistant for the Multilingual Matters journals. The office was very paper-based at the time – we printed out everything – and emails came in once an hour. I can still remember the excitement of the day the internet was on all day for the first time! We used t-cards to keep track of what was where at every stage in the process, which involved scissors and Pritt Stick, and I did some typesetting using an MS-DOS program that was probably older than I was.

Gradually I managed to badger my way into being allowed to work on the books, and when we sold the journals and Marjukka retired in 2008 I took over as Editorial Director. Now I commission books for 12 book series, as well as overseeing the strategy for our whole publication programme, and keeping an eye out for new and exciting things for us to publish. I also attempt to make Tommi do his editorial admin occasionally!

While the nature of my job has changed quite a bit since I first started, I’m still working with a lot of the same authors and editors: Colin Baker, Viv Edwards and John Edwards have all been constants throughout my 15 years, and authors whose journal papers I worked on 15 years ago are now writing books and editing book series for us.

What has been your biggest achievement/success?

That’s a really hard question! The recent publication of the 6th edition of Foundations of Bilingual Education and Bilingualism represented the culmination of five years’ work and it’s a book I’m very proud of, although the authors are both such a dream to work with that my input was minimal. It’s always nice when books you’ve worked on win awards, or we publish something really ground-breaking and innovative. But actually what gives me the most satisfaction is the smaller, on-going successes: when I talk down an author who is on the point of giving up because of a critical peer-review and help them see a way through it; or when we’re overwhelmed at a conference by people wanting to tell us how great our books are and how important it is that we as a company continue to exist. I also love doing workshops/talks for PhD students and it always seems like a real success to get lots of follow up emails and book proposals as a result.

Anna and Sarah celebrating 15 glorious years at CVP/MM

What’s your favourite part of the job?

My favourite part of my job is my lovely colleagues, some of whom I have now known for a VERY LONG TIME. It’s an absolute joy to work in such a friendly, supportive office where all kinds of eccentricity are positively encouraged, and where the tangents go on for longer than the meetings. As with all groups of people who spend a lot of time together in a confined space, there are days when I could cheerfully murder the lot of them, but those days are few and far between. If they fired me I would probably keep on turning up for work anyway!

What’s your favourite memory (together?) of the last 15 years?

One evening in Frankfurt that may have involved a bottle or two of wine springs to mind, or a karaoke session in Leeds that got hijacked by an entire conference. To be fair there is never a dull moment sat next to Sarah! She once crushed a wine glass with her bare hands, her driving rage is terrifying, and she can run 100m faster than Usain Bolt if there’s a pigeon anywhere near her…

Here’s to the next 15 years! Check out Sarah’s interview here.

An Interview with Sarah: 15 Year Work Anniversary!

This month Sarah and Anna are celebrating their 15 year anniversary working at Channel View/Multilingual Matters. In this post we ask Sarah a few questions about the last 15 years…

Sarah at Frankfurt Book Fair

What made you apply for your first job at MM?

I had done an English degree so publishing was one of the more obvious routes to take. I remember seeing the ad in the paper that specified a ‘seaside office’ which appealed to me as I’m from a seaside town. The ad also promised the possibility of travel which seemed very exciting!

Do you remember your first day?

Hmm, not the details but first impressions – everyone was very friendly and welcoming, it was a very quiet office and it was very nice to have a walk along the seafront at lunchtime! I also remember being excited but slightly awed by the amount there was to learn and how global the company was.

How has your job changed over the years?

I was a journal editor for my first few years and it was a good way of getting to know a lot of people in the field. I started helping with some proof-checking on the books and eventually took over supervising the cover design process and ebooks. I was also doing admin for some of the book series. When we sold the journals in 2008 I became production manager and commissioning editor for Tourism and Cultural Change. I’m now also commissioning editor for The Future of Tourism, currently looking after all the tourism series while Elinor is on maternity leave and get to one or two conferences every year.

What has been your biggest achievement/success?

When I worked on the journals the biggest achievement was getting all issues published in the year they were meant to come out! With book production (and this involves the whole company not just me!) steadily increasing our output from 39 books in 2008 to 60 books in 2016 felt like a big achievement. On the editorial front, I think any time you’ve actively commissioned a title and it goes into production is a great feeling!

What’s your favourite part of the job?

Production and editorial is a nice balance of detailed work with a more creative side. This is pretty much a dream job working with and for amazing people, so hard to pick one thing. Obviously getting to travel to conferences and hanging out with all our authors across the world is very cool!

What’s your favourite memory (together?) of the last 15 years?

Ha, Anna and I don’t get to travel together much (I have no idea why??!) but we have had one or two memorable trips – including one particular evening in a bar in Frankfurt and a karaoke-session in Leeds with a few of our authors/editors! We’re very good at celebrating at MM/CVP so any occasion is pretty memorable!

Congratulations Sarah! Watch this space for an interview with Anna about her experience of the last 15 years.