They’re back! Year after year, the Columbia Publishing Course (formerly the Radcliffe Publishing Course) introduces a preternaturally cosmopolitan and accomplished cast of students to the world of book and magazine publishing. Just as dutifully, every year Publishing Trends collects the most surprising and impressive tidbits from the students’ biographies and constructs a single (slightly more) superhuman narrative. With the exception of a few connective phrases, all words used are the students’ own.
Like all her classmates, Typical Columbia Publishing Course Grad’s passionate engagement with literature extends far beyond her coursework this summer. She is currently reading every Pulitzer Prize-winner in fiction, along with every book on the New York Times’ bestseller list in the past two years. She can identify the name and author of a novel, given only the first line, at an accuracy almost 1.5 standard deviations above population average. Unsurprisingly, although Grad was initially planning on going into wealth management, she chose instead to intern in the publicity department at Scribner, and hopes to one day work with New Adult fiction.
Born in Kuala Lumpur, Typical Grad grew up in a family of history buffs that kept a six-foot replica Alamo-era cannon in the dining room. She spent much of her adolescence competing in Scrabble tournaments, and, as a teenager, started her first zine distribution website.
Heading off to college, Typical Grad founded an interdivisional research collective of artists and academics to study unmanned aerial vehicles; worked as a newspaper illustrator/comic artist; joined a competitive ballroom dance team; and published her first children’s book. Through her study abroad program, she also wrote reviews of British plays and international films at the Cannes Film Festival and finished her college career by writing her senior thesis on Harry Potter fan fiction.
After graduation, Typical Grad’s penchant for the arts drew her to other projects, such as making a film about ghost towns in Arizona. Additionally, she taught third grade in the least populated parish of Louisiana and enjoyed the unpredictability of farm work, chasing pigs in the Hudson Valley. She ventured to Florida for six months as an intern at Disney World, but discovered soon enough that, for her, NYC is the happiest place on earth—not to mention the place to pursue her publishing career. When she is out of the office, Typical Grad enjoys the quiet pleasures of yoga, juicing, and the company of her Springer Spaniel, Soup.
The Columbia Publishing Course graduates will be available to meet and greet potential employers at the Career Fair to be held on Monday, July 29th. To find out more about seeing participants’ resumes (or to read all 102 real biographies) can contact Columbia Publishing Course Assistant Director, Stephanie Chan at (212) 854-9775 or swc37 at Columbia dot edu.
New York’s other major summer publishing course, New York University’s Summer Publishing Institute, celebrated its 35th year this summer, ending its six-week intensive with a career fair on July 12th. To learn more about NYU’s eligible grads or about the program, contact Executive Director Andrea Chambers at (212) 992-3226 or andrea.chambers at nyu dot edu.