Students get inside look at publishing world in NYC

New York City is the capital of book publishing in the United States - which is why English Professors Fred Leebron and Kathryn Rhett have taken students there for the last 12 years to meet with both publishing industry leaders and those just commencing their careers.

"For students interested in becoming professional writers, we want to introduce them to the publishing process: how a manuscript is represented, accepted for publication, and becomes a book or a piece in a national magazine, and what an author's career trajectory might look like," Leebron said. "For students interested in entering the publishing industry, we like them to hear firsthand about each individual's career path and what opportunities may be available."

This spring Leebron and Rhett took ten students to New York to meet with Deborah Treisman, fiction editor-in-chief of the New Yorker; Sean McDonald, executive vice president and senior editor of Riverhead Publishing; Liz Farrell and Tina Wexler, agents at International Creative Management; Barbara Jones, executive editor at Hyperion, and some of their junior staff; and Lisa Bain, executive editor at Women's Health. Recent graduate Aubrey Siebenaller '09 helped with some of the logistics for the trip.

Students on this year's trip included Jessica Buckley '10, Annela Levitov '10, Emily Orofino '10, Elizabeth O. Ruby '12, Benjamin Schell '12, Spencer Slaine '10, Sara Thomas '11, Abby Weaver '12, and Julie Weisz '12. Interestingly, Leebron said, only two students going are residents of the College's Writing House, a theme house on campus designed for students who share a common interest in writing. The others chose to participate after taking a writing course.

Leebron, a graduate of Princeton University, Johns Hopkins University, and The University of Iowa Writers' Workshop, has published stories in numerous magazines and anthologies. He is author of the novels Out West, Six Figures, and In the Middle of All This. The Canadian production of Six Figures premiered at the Toronto Film Festival in 2005, and the feature film of his short story "Life in Wartime" is in development.

Rhett, a graduate of Johns Hopkins University, the University of Iowa, and The University of Iowa Writers' Workshop, is the author of the memoir Near Breathing and editor of the anthology Survival Stories: Memoirs of Crisis. Her essays and poetry has been published extensively in reviews and magazines, including the Harvard Review. She was a 2007 Pennsylvania Council on the Arts Fellow in Creative Nonfiction.

For dinner, the group was joined by fellow alums in the writing field: Emily Birx '06, MFA from Queens University in Charlotte in nonfiction, teaches at Rutgers; Anthony Fasciano '05, founder and editor of Digital Americana, a literary and culture magazine; Dulcy Gregory '06, Spa Finder magazine (she will start an MFA in nonfiction at the New School this fall); and Lauren Passell '06, assistant editor, Parenting.com.

Founded in 1832, Gettysburg College is a highly selective four-year residential college of liberal arts and sciences with a strong academic tradition that includes Rhodes Scholars, a Nobel laureate and other distinguished scholars among its alumni. The college enrolls 2,600 undergraduate students and is located on a 200-acre campus adjacent to the Gettysburg National Military Park in Pennsylvania.

Posted: 4/23/10

Contact: Director of Publications & College Editor Jerold Wikoff

Posted: Fri, 23 Apr 2010

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