We’re delighted to be welcoming a new face to the Fiction team! Meet Abbie, who’ll be dealing with fiction, pocket novels, and poetry.
Hi Abbie, and welcome to the team! Can you tell us a little about your background in journalism?
Almost three years ago, I saw an ad to work on “The Official Jacqueline Wilson Mag” and “Animals and You”, two of DC Thomson’s children’s titles.
Growing up, I was a huge fan of Jacqueline Wilson and I’m a certified animal lover too, so I wrote quite a long and gushy cover letter. Though I’ve always loved to write, and I’d volunteered to write a few articles in the past, I didn’t study journalism at university so I didn’t expect to be invited to an interview, but I was!
Before I knew it, I’d moved up to Dundee from my home town in the North West of England.
Aside from “JW Mag” and “Animals and You”, I’ve also written on a lot of our children’s one-shot titles, such as “This is . . . Unicorns!” and “This is . . . Halloween!”
They were always a lot of fun to work on. I think I share my children’s magazine background with a couple of other fiction team members!
I’ve also written some more grown-up pieces for “Time Out”, the Manchester Literary Festival blog and, most recently, “No. 1 Magazine”.
I’m joining the “Friend” at a very strange time, but I still feel well and truly welcome despite it!
What made you decide to apply to join the “Friend” team?
The job description really called out to me — who wouldn’t want to read for a living?
I did a lot of research first, though, reading through a stack of past weekly issues, Specials, a pocket novel, the blog and social media channels. The more I read, the more I wanted to join the team!
I really admire the magazine for its 151 years of storytelling, and the opportunity it presents to new writers and voices. What other women’s magazines can say that?
I had also heard how lovely the team is. and I could see that when I watched Shirley’s leaving speech earlier this year.
The things she said really resonated with me, and you could feel the love and warmth in the room. It was a beautiful moment.
What are you looking forward to most?
I’m most looking forward to reading through all the submissions, chatting to writers about their stories and seeing them get published. It’s really exciting!
I think we all need a little boost of happy in our lives now more than ever, so I’m looking forward to spreading some joy through the magazine.
I’m also looking forward to getting back to the office to see some friendly faces!
Who are your own favourite authors?
My current favourite would probably be Madeline Miller, the author of “The Song of Achilles” and “Circe”.
Both are re-tellings of Greek myths and I devoured both. I can’t wait for her to write another!
I don’t often read an author’s works back to back like that, so that shows how much I loved her writing.
What are you reading at the moment?
I’m reading “Girl, Woman, Other” by Bernadine Evaristo for the book club at work.
It won The Booker Prize last year, along with “The Testaments” by Margaret Atwood. I’m really enjoying it — she has the kind of writing that just disappears and makes way for the images she wants you to see.
I’m also reading “The Tenderness Of Wolves” by Stef Penney. It’s set in the 1860s in Canada and it’s very atmospheric.
You really get a feel of how vast, empty and unforgiving the land would have been at that time, but also the beauty of it.
For more from the team, read our blog here.
Abbie joins us as we’re working from home due to the current lockdown. For information on how we’re handling fiction and poetry submissions during this time, click here.