Work Experience at Penguin Random House

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“It really felt like a home away from home” Eleanor’s Quote

Did you know we offer subsided accommodation allocated via random selection. Your location shouldn’t stop you. Apply now.

Want to find out more about Eleanor’s time in Penguin? Check out her blog post on our careers site.

To apply for work experience go to: penguinrandomhousecareers.co.uk

 

“If I had any advice to candidates applying from outside of London like myself: just go for it! It’s fantastic that Penguin Random House pays work experience, which is a real help with travel, accommodation and general finances.” – Williams Quote

All our work experience placements are paid. So come learn and explore publishing with us. To find out more information about William’s experience check out our careers blog.

To apply for work experience go to: penguinrandomhousecareers.co.uk

 

“Everyone was really friendly and I gelled with the team straight away.” – Amy Quote

Although it may be nerve racking we are a friendly bunch, who are always looking to help and answer questions. Want to find out more about Amy’s experience check out her blog.

To apply for work experience go to: penguinrandomhousecareers.co.uk

Want 2 weeks paid work experience at Penguin Random House? Keep your eyes peeled as the window opens soon!

 

How to be a black woman and succeed: two friends who have written the manual

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In March 2015, Elizabeth Uviebinené had a brainwave that a less determined 22-year-old might have dismissed as a water-cooler pipe dream. It was ignited by a single chapter in a book by Sheryl Sandberg . “I’d always devoured self-help books growing up – books like Lean In,” says Uviebinené. “These were written by white women and were great but they didn’t have the added complexities of how to be a black woman and get ahead. It was like we didn’t exist in these books. Sandberg had one chapter in her follow-up book [Option B] about a black woman’s experience and it sparked something in me. A need for a sisterhood. I wanted to bottle it.”

The bottling, she thought, would come in the form of a book – a bible no less – to offer black teenagers and women the kind of advice she would have liked to have received growing up, to help navigate her way to a bigger, freer life.

The problem was that she was a marketing manager and not a writer. So the perfect person to write it, she decided, was her best friend, Yomi Adegoke, then also 22 and working at Channel 4. “Because Yomi’s a journalist, I thought she would write it and I would market it,” says Uviebinené. “But she sold the idea back to me to both write it together.”

So that’s what they did. It did not matter that they were both working long hours in highly competitive careers – they wrote every evening and weekend for the next year. Nor that neither had written a book before – they simply Googled “how to write a book” and set up focus groups with friends to discover the breadth of what they needed to research.

Taking the dictum to work twice as hard to get half as far as their white counterparts – which they believe is one of the only ways for black communities to succeed in Britain – they secured a book deal a year later, despite the outrageous odds against two black women with no inside connections to an overwhelmingly white, elitist publishing industry.

It was not just any book deal either. Slay in Your Lane: The Black Girl Bible is arguably the book for 2018, fought for in a nine-way publishers’ auction with Uviebinené and Adegoke receiving – to their astonishment – a five-figure sum.

Uviebinené was at work when she got the phone call from her agent. She hid in the office loos and made a breathless call to Adegoke. “I was trying to Whatsapp Yomi from the top of Canary Wharf tower, trying to explain what had just happened and I felt so overwhelmed.”

Adegoke was celebrating her 25th birthday in Rio de Janeiro. “I had just broken up with a boyfriend and I wanted to go away after one year of working intensely. I was having a really great time and I’d lost my phone for the previous few days.”

Both are 26 now. They met as 18-year-old freshers at the University of Warwick. There they found themselves marooned and misunderstood in an almost uniformly white environment that seemed unconsciously hostile. Adegoke took a year out from Warwick after suffering from depression (she turned this into a productive experience by founding a magazine titled Birthday).

“Her confidence was mistaken for arrogance,” explains Uviebinené. “It was ‘us’ against everyone else.”

“Yeah,” adds Adegoke, “We’ve both been through a lot. It’s one of the reasons we get on so well. There is a lot of respect there.”

Both are of Nigerian heritage – Uviebinené’s father came to Britain when she was two (leaving behind her mother, from whom she is estranged) and she is the eldest of six children. Adegoke was born and raised in Croydon, south London, and has two sisters to whom she is very close. Uviebinené has become a kind of third sister: she moved in with Adegoke’s family in 2016 and has lived there since.

The book looks at the mechanics of succeeding at school and in the workplace within a greater system that is structurally tilted against British black communities (they back this up with a barrage of statistical research). In it, they talk of the “concrete ceiling”, “impenetrable glasshouses”, the “long, back-door route into success” and of such flagrant bias at work that some black candidates have fared better by sending in job applications using aliases.

They grapple with issues around health, dating and representation that are specific to black female experience. What is most impressive is the book’s penetrating research as well as its argument. “Well, if you are going to call a book ‘the black girl bible’, you have to do your research, and incorporate the full cross-section of black women’s concerns,” says Uviebinené.

Adegoke nods vigorously. “In the past year and a half, our lives have been dedicated to making sure we get this right. It’s been the most challenging thing we’ve ever done. I don’t know that I would have a book deal without Elizabeth.”

“We are each other’s champions,” Uviebinené shoots back. “Yomi is one of the most confident and articulate people I know.”

There are many such tender exchanges. They are friends who seem more like sisters, though in temperament they are yin and yang. Uviebinené turns up bang on time and is calmly composed and earnest. Adegoke, who arrives late, is a whirlwind of energy.

They do not talk over each other or finish each other’s sentences but seem to know what the other will say. Much of this sisterliness and fierce spirit of “strength in adversity” is channelled into their book. Uviebinené says it was written for her younger self, and all those girls and women who, like her in those formative years, are trying to figure out who they are in the world, and how they can succeed at life. “When I was 16, I’d write notes to myself every time things got hard on the type of person I wanted to be. I was always looking to what life held for me. So this book is about what I wanted to know when I was 16, and 18, and 21, that popular culture wasn’t telling me.”

It also gives young black girls a host of role models or “cheerleaders” that the authors believe are badly needed. They interview 39 accomplished black women for their perspectives on success, from Malorie Blackman to Laura Mvula, June Sarpong, Denise Lewis, Jamelia, Margaret Busby and Estelle. Young girls need to “see it to be it”, they say, quoting Dr Karen Blackett, chair of MediaCom, from the book’s foreword, and such cheerleaders were not always visible while they were growing up.

Uviebinené found inspiration in older women who accomplished great things, while for Adegoke, it came from closer to home. “My older sister, Yemisi, is a journalist for BBC Africa. She always told us dark skin was beautiful. She made sure we didn’t have issues around it. She was like a third parent, making sure we grew up confident.”

Since Uviebinené’s lightbulb moment in 2015, the subject of diversity has exploded in publishing. Bestselling books by Reni Eddo-Lodge and Afua Hirsch have shown the industry that there is an immense appetite for a conversation around race and inequality in Britain.

What do they feel about this moment? “Liz was trying to set the agenda, not follow it,” says Adegoke. “So we didn’t think: ‘This will work because black girls have traction right now.’”

But they welcome the drive for better representation. “We see it as a blessing that our book has coincided with a trend for diversity,” says Adegoke. “We can see that just as it is in fashion now it can fall out of fashion. But then again, black women are not going anywhere. We don’t fall off the planet when we’re not in fashion. We’ll still here and we believe we’ve written a good book, and that people will read it, even if people get bored of diversity.”

Is it relevant to non-black readers, too, and inspiring girls across the range? “I think non-black people should read it to understand the experience of what it means to be a black woman. I have been reading books that have not been written for me all my life,” says Adegoke.

For Uviebinené, intersectionality is key in feminism: “You can sing from one voice but it’s also not as straightforward as that. You need to see your privilege for what it is first. Feminism for me is about gaining choices and breaking down the insidious structures that hold us back. White women tend to want to be more like white men in their privilege. I don’t want to be more like white women.”

Do they think unequal structures are slowly being broken down, and that Britain is changing? After all, a mixed-race woman recently married into royalty. “I don’t think Meghan Markle massively marked a change. It’s Harry’s choice, not an institutional choice, though I do think she could be an agent of change for women,” says Adegoke. “But if Harry had brought home a girl who looked like us – black girls with kinky hair and big noses – it would be a very different conversation.”

They swap a look again, a kind of signal that they have each other’s backs. What about boyfriends, I ask. Where do they sit within their friendship? “My boyfriend is basically a version of Liz – a short, dark-skinned Taurus.” Does he get on with Uviebinené? Adegoke shrugs as if this is a no-brainer. “They have to love her. Of course.”

 Elizabeth Uviebinené and Yomi Adegoke will join Afua Hirsch for a Guardian Live event on Wednesday 25 July at Kings Place, London N1

 Slay in Your Lane: The Black Girl Bible is published next month by Fourth Estate (£16.99). To buy a copy for £14.44 go to guardianbookshop.com or call 03303 333 6848. Free UK p&p over £10, online orders only. Phone orders min p&p of £1.99

https://www.theguardian.com/books/2018/jun/24/black-girl-woman-bible-elizabeth-uviebinene-yomi-adegoke-slay-your-lane

Book Launch: The Solomon Success Story

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DATE- 29th October 2018

VENUE -Brixton Library, Brixton Oval, London, SW2 1JQ

Book HERE

Peaches Publications are delighted to announce their latest author Solomon Smith, the Founder of Brixton Soup Kitchen. His registered charity provides hot food, drinks, and clothes for the homeless. Let’s celebrate Solomon’s debut book ‘The Solomon Success Story – Born into a Dyslexic World’ and get a personally signed copy. His heart-warming story of growing up in Brixton and beating the odds will inspire you to reach higher in your everyday goals and ambitions.

For over a decade Solomon has made his charity Brixton Soup Kitchen skyrocket, with public & celebrity volunteers and he has single handily brought the plight of the homeless to the mass media attention worldwide. You may recognise Solomon from television appearances on BBC, SKY, ITV NEWS or even number 10 Downing Street!

Solomon is finally sharing his business acumen and secrets of success, he teaches you how to get your business idea up and off the ground. As well as the best ways to market and advertise your business to your target audience. Imagine, Solomon has accomplished all his accolades being severely dyslexic and not being able to write or read properly. Join us for his first book signing, networking, entertainment and pictures. www.peachespublications.co.uk

JUST WRITE IT COURSE: How To Write That Book!

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THE BENEFITS

  1. You can create and earn an extra income.
    2. In your business you can upsell your products and services.
    3. Achieve and accomplish your lifelong goal of writing a book.
    4. Imagine completing your book and be on route to publishing it in 30 days or less.
    5. Writing a book gives you instant Expert recognition and appeal.
    6. Your book is a calling card for your business services.
    7. Expand your marketing opportunities.
    8. You will gain credibility among your peers and network.
    9. Increase your speaking engagements at conferences and seminars.
  2. Leave a legacy in the British Library legal deposit for generations to come.

MEET THE TEAM

Winsome Duncan – Book Confidence Coach and ‘Just Write It’ Project Manager

Meet entrepreneur and the Founder of Peaches Publications Winsome Duncan, she is passionate about books, and is a bestselling author with eight books in her repertoire. Winsome is an awarding entrepreneur and a sitcom writer for ‘Keeping Up With The Brokers’. Her work has featured on BBC iPlayer, SKY &BBC LONDON.

Teju Chosen – Book Mentor and ‘Just Write It’ Assistant Project,Manager

Career Coach, Teju Chosen is a Master’s educated Writer who is Author of the forthcoming book, “HOW TO GET PAID MORE THAN YOUR BOSS” and CEO of Exceptional Coaching Ltd. She is also a Poet, Playwright and Book Mentor who has held Writing workshops in Prisons (including running a magazine in HMP Wandsworth), Schools, Universities and Mental Health Institutes.

Book HERE

Natives: Race and Class in the Ruins of Empire by Akala – review

In a powerful, polemical narrative, the rapper charts his past and the history of black Britain

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In 2010, UK rap artist Akala dropped the album DoubleThink, and with it, some unforgettable words. “First time I saw knives penetrate flesh, it was meat cleavers to the back of the head,” the north London rapper remembers of his childhood. Like so much of his work, the song Find No Enemy blends his life in the struggle of poverty, race, class and violence, with the search for answers. “Apparently,” it continues, “I’m second-generation black Caribbean. And half white Scottish. Whatever that means.”

Any of the million-plus people who have since followed Akala – real name Kingslee Daley – know that the search has taken him into the realm of serious scholarship. He is now known as much for his political analysis as for his music, and, unsurprisingly, his new book, Natives, is therefore long awaited. What was that meat cleaver incident? What was his relationship with his family and peers like growing up? How did he make the journey from geeky child, to sullen and armed teenager, to writer, artist and intellectual?

Natives delivers the answers, and some of them are hard to hear. In one of the most touching of many personal passages in the book, Akala retraces the steps by which he was racialised – as a mixed-race child – into blackness, and by which he realised that his mother, who fiercely protected her children’s pride in their heritage, enrolling them among other things in a Pan-African Saturday school, was racialised as white.

“Though my mum was far from rich and had a great many sufferings of her own to speak of, she still shared a degree of racial discomfort when faced by the questioning eyes of her five-year-old son,” he writes.

The relationship between different generations of Akala’s family is a recurring and fascinating thread. He writes – in a powerful chapter about the failures of the education system to nurture the talent of black children – of how his father and his uncles emerged from their own experiences of the British school system to regard it as a “cultural and intellectual war zone”. And as the grandchild of Jamaicans who came to Britain as adults during the Windrush era, Akala’s generation is the last with a direct connection to the countries of their heritage.

“How will our children and their children after that navigate being born black in Britain and of Caribbean heritage without the wisdom and laughter, the cooking and cussing, of Caribbean-born grandparents?” he asks.

Travel, like education and the dynamics of his own family, is a constant theme throughout Natives. Akala’s unique experience as a sportsman – he played football seriously throughout his childhood – a scholar and a performing artist, give him the content and confidence to address “Linford’s lunchbox”, in a withering critique of British narratives around black sporting achievement, and the global histories of oppression. His thoughts on racism run from Japanese imperialism to apartheid in British-run Hong Kong, the Arab-African slave trade and black identities in 15th-century Spain.

But Akala is at his best destroying the comfortable myths that are invoked by white fragility to downplay attempts to correct the historical record. Like the idea that slavery is really the fault of Africans for selling their “own people”. Or the claim that Britain should feel good about the fact that its historical conduct was better than that of the Belgians or the Nazis. “It’s true, but it’s a shit boast,” he writes. This, like other tropes so regularly wielded against people like him, and me – who have the audacity to critique Britain while being black or brown – are beautifully ridiculed in a series of bullet-point lists.

Akala makes it clear that he is not brimming with optimism. But reading Natives – witnessing the kind of disruptive, aggressive intellect that a new generation is closely watching – I can’t help but be just that.

Afua Hirsch is the author of Brit(ish).

 Natives by Akala is published by Two Roads (£16.99). To order a copy for £14.44 go to guardianbookshop.com or call 0330 333 6846. Free UK p&p over £10, online orders only. Phone orders min p&p of £1.99

https://www.theguardian.com/books/2018/may/20/natives-akala-review-destroying-myths-of-race-afia-hirsch

YA Author Interview: Alex Wheatle

Alex Wheatle

 

The Manchester-based author who’s won a life-changing $165k book prize

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A Manchester-based author whose debut novel was initially rejected by British publishers has won one of the world’s richest literary prizes.

Jennifer Nansubuga Makumbi – who’s from Uganda and moved to the UK 17 years ago – has won one of the Windham Campbell Prizes from Yale University in the US.

She will receive $165,000 (£119,000). “I haven’t been earning for a long, long time,” she says.

“I really put everything into writing. So for this to happen is unbelievable.”

The prize money is more than double the amount that the Booker Prize winner gets, and organisers say it’s the richest award dedicated to literature after the Nobel Prize.

Makumbi is one of eight writers to receive Windham Campbell Prizes this year spanning fiction, non-fiction, drama and poetry – and is the only winner to have published just one full-length work.

Two other British writers are also on the list, both for non-fiction – Sarah Bakewelland Olivia Laing.

‘Too African’

The prizes were created by writer Donald Windham and also carry the name of his partner Sandy M Campbell. They were first awarded in 2013 to “provide writers with the opportunity to focus on their work independent of financial concerns”.

Makumbi said news of the award came out of the blue. “It’s American, and normally it’s people who have got so many books [behind them],” she said. “So I’m surprised how I was one of them.”

Makumbi’s debut novel Kintu was first published in Kenya four years ago after British publishers rejected it for being “too African”. It was finally released in the UK this January.

The author said British publishers and readers like to have something they can relate to – be it Western characters or familiar settings and storylines – if they’re reading about Africa.

But she describes Kintu as “proper, proper Africa”.

The book conjures myths and legends to tell the story of a Ugandan family who believe they have been cursed over 250 years.

“I had really locked Europe out,” Makumbi says. “But it was a little bit too much – the language, the way I wrote it – they [Brits] were not used to that kind of writing. But they are beginning now to open up I think.

“Readers are realising, OK, if I want to explore Africa I’d rather be told from an African point of view rather than being told things that I’m expected to want to know.”

‘It’s about getting a paycheque’

Makumbi was a high school teacher before moving to the UK to pursue her dream of a writing career. She began by studying creative writing in Manchester, then wrote Kintu while doing a PhD in Lancaster.

The Windham Campbell Prize will help spread the word about the book – but for Makumbi, for now at least, the prize money will be the thing that changes her life.

“I would like to say it’s more about getting to be known and whatever, but mainly it’s about getting a paycheque,” she admits.

“It’s mainly about [doing] ordinary things that other people do that have a job. I have a partner but he’s not earning much and I’ve not been really pulling my weight.

“I’ve just been taking and taking, and we are a working class family, so it’s huge. And then, of course, now I can go and do research in different countries for my next project.”

‘Shocked’ by British life

She didn’t have to travel far to research a short story collection that will come out next January. It’s title is Love Made in Manchester.

“I write the stories as a way of writing back to Ugandans, informing them what happens to us,” she says. “I’m telling them, ‘You want to come to Britain? Hang on a minute. First read my story.'”

So what impression will Ugandans get of Britain if they do?

“It’s not the world that they’ve been told it is. When you’re in Uganda, Britain is the London Eye, Buckingham Palace, The Savoy, The Ritz – because this is how Britain markets itself.

“You never see the working class. That is what takes you by surprise. It’s just shocking.

“You come here and see the working class and you’re like, I should have paid attention to Dickens!”

http://www.bbc.co.uk/news/entertainment-arts-43315380