Edit, Revise, and Improve: A Reflection on my Time at the UNG Press

As my time here draws to a close, I can’t help but think of my first day of work. I had just completed my introductory blog post virtually and, although I was excited to see my new workplace, I was anxious about many things. Would my supervisor and coworkers be friendly? Would the work prove to be too challenging for me? Would I somehow manage to cause a major catastrophe simply by walking in the front door? Thankfully, all of these nagging worries were dispelled the moment that I stepped into the office.

From the very beginning, Jillian and the other members of the Press have done their best to create a workspace where I can put forth my best effort every day. If there was something I did not know, Jillian or her office library could quickly fill the gaps in my knowledge. Additionally, any mistakes that I made were treated as part of the learning process which encouraged me to improve with confidence. As I learned more about the publishing industry, I knew that everyone at the Press was committed to my success.

The assignments that I worked on during the course of the internship all related directly to the industry, such as my blog post on manuscript submissions and my report on levels of copyediting. In addition to these assignments, I also created content for the social media platforms of the UNG Press. By far, my favorite project was a month-long marketing project celebrating the 200th anniversary of Frankenstein’s release. Along with my fellow intern Josh, I put together two blog posts — one on the origin of Frankenstein and a general author profile on Mary Shelley — as well as a series of social media posts relevant to the horror genre. Be sure to keep an eye out for it this October!

As I put together my post-internship portfolio, I can see a marked difference in my writing. I have always tended towards wordiness. However, with Jillian’s editorial assistance, I have made great strides towards becoming a more concise and clear writer. As I get ready to step out the door one last time, I would like to thank Jillian, Mrs. Parson, and Dr. Robinson for taking me on as an intern and helping me to grow as a writer. My dream is to work at a publishing press that specializes in translated literature. With my completion of this internship, I am one step closer to that goal.

5 Books Before the Fireworks

Fireworks burst into brilliant arcs of light overhead, a parade of bellowing trains leave candy in their wake, and the Star-Spangled Banner waves proudly from every homestead. It’s the Fourth of July! To celebrate this occasion, we’ve put together a reading list for the season. Ever wanted to learn more about our founding fathers? How about the unsung men and women who contributed to the Revolution? Whatever your area of interest may be, you’re sure to find an engaging and educational title on this list. Curl up in a nice and cozy spot under the glow of the fireworks, pick up one of these books, and celebrate the birth of America with a great new read!

1. Founding Brothers: The Revolutionary Generation by Joseph J. Ellis

From Penguin Random House, 2002

In this landmark work of history, the National Book Award-winning author of American Sphinx explores how a group of greatly gifted but deeply flawed individuals–Hamilton, Burr, Jefferson, Franklin, Washington, Adams, and Madison–confronted the overwhelming challenges before them to set the course for our nation.

The United States was more a fragile hope than a reality in 1790. During the decade that followed, the Founding Fathers–re-examined here as Founding Brothers–combined the ideals of the Declaration of Independence with the content of the Constitution to create the practical workings of our government. Through an analysis of six fascinating episodes–Hamilton and Burr’s deadly duel, Washington’s precedent-setting Farewell Address, Adams’ administration and political partnership with his wife, the debate about where to place the capital, Franklin’s attempt to force Congress to confront the issue of slavery and Madison’s attempts to block him, and Jefferson and Adams’ famous correspondence–Founding Brothers brings to life the vital issues and personalities from the most important decade in our nation’s history.

2. The Idea of America: Reflections on the Birth of the United States by Gordon S. Wood

From Penguin Random House, 2012

The preeminent historian of the Founding Era reflects on the birth of American nationhood and explains why the American Revolution remains so essential.

For Pulitzer Prize-winning historian Gordon S. Wood, the American Revolution is the most important event in our history, bar none. Since American identity is so fluid, we have had to continually return to our nation’s founding to understand who we are. In a series of illuminating essays, he explores the ideological origins of the Revolution—from Ancient Rome to the European Enlightenment—and the founders’ attempts to forge a democracy. He reflects on the origins of American exceptionalism, the radicalism and failed hopes of the founding generation, and the “terrifying gap” between us and the men who created the democratic state we take for granted. This is a profoundly revealing look at the event that forged the United States and its enduring power to define us.

3. Black Americans in the Revolutionary Era: A Brief History with Documents by Woody Holton

From Macmillan, 2009

In this fresh look at liberty and freedom in the Revolutionary era from the perspective of black Americans, Woody Holton recounts the experiences of slaves who seized freedom by joining the British as well as those— lave and free—who served in Patriot military forces. Holton’s introduction examines the conditions of black American life on the eve of colonial independence and the ways in which Revolutionary rhetoric about liberty provided African Americans with the language and inspiration for advancing their cause. Despite the rhetoric, however, most black Americans remained enslaved after the Revolution. The introduction outlines ways African Americans influenced the course of the Revolution and continued to be affected by its aftermath. Amplifying these themes are nearly forty documents—including personal narratives, petitions, letters, poems, advertisements, pension applications, and images—that testify to the diverse goals and actions of African Americans during the Revolutionary era. Document headnotes and annotations, a chronology, questions for consideration, a selected bibliography, and index offer additional pedagogical support.

4. Revolutionary Mothers: Women in the Struggle for America’s Independence by Carol Berkin

From Penguin Random House, 2006

The American Revolution was a home-front war that brought scarcity, bloodshed, and danger into the life of every American. In this groundbreaking history, Carol Berkin shows us how women played a vital role throughout the conflict.
The women of the Revolution were most active at home, organizing boycotts of British goods, raising funds for the fledgling nation, and managing the family business while struggling to maintain a modicum of normalcy as husbands, brothers and fathers died. Yet Berkin also reveals that it was not just the men who fought on the front lines, as in the story of Margaret Corbin, who was crippled for life when she took her husband’s place beside a cannon at Fort Monmouth. This incisive and comprehensive history illuminates a fascinating and unknown side of the struggle for American independence.

5. Forgotten Allies: The Oneida Indians and the American Revolution by Joseph T. Glatthar and James Kirby Martin

From Macmillan, 2007

Combining compelling narrative and grand historical sweep, Forgotten Allies offers a vivid account of the Oneida Indians, forgotten heroes of the American Revolution who risked their homeland, their culture, and their lives to join in a war that gave birth to a new nation at the expense of their own. Revealing for the first time the full sacrifice of the Oneidas in securing independence, Forgotten Allies offers poignant insights about Oneida culture and how it changed and adjusted in the wake of nearly two centuries of contact with European-American colonists. It depicts the resolve of an Indian nation that fought alongside the revolutionaries as their valuable allies, only to be erased from America’s collective historical memory. Beautifully written, Forgotten Allies recaptures these lost memories and makes certain that the Oneidas’ incredible story is finally told in its entirety, thereby deepening and enriching our understanding of the American experience.

 

Zora Neale Hurston and Barracoon: The Importance of Preserving Dialect in Literature

Book cover of "Barracoon" by Zoea Neale Hurston
From HarperCollins, 2018.

Barracoon is a heretofore unpublished series of interviews between Zora Neale Hurston and a man named Cudjo Lewis who was the last survivor of the Atlantic Slave Trade. It has recently come into the public eye with the announcement of its upcoming release.

 Born in West Africa, Lewis (whose original name is Kossula) relates his harrowing story to Hurston: His abduction from his village as a young man; his trauma at witnessing the deaths of his kinsmen; his forced journey aboard the Clotilda; his time as a slave; and the creation of his own small community after he gained his freedom.

In keeping with Hurston’s preference for authentic dialogue, Lewis’ story is laid out in his own words and voice. For years, she struggled to find a publisher as they pressured her to present his story in “language rather than dialect” (Alter, New York Times). She strongly refused to give in to this demand and as a result, we now have an invaluable document of history. A firsthand account of the horrors of the slave trade and the efforts of African Americans to rebuild their lives in a new land once released from their bonds.

For the reader, this collection of interviews is an important addition to the growing body of work produced by African American artists in all genres. As a group whose voices have been oppressed and silenced throughout our country’s history, it is essential that every effort is made for their stories to be told authentically.

To this end, Barracoon represents an important and positive shift in the publishing industry, as there is now a concentrated effort to rediscover and present the words of those who have suffered in the past—without censorship or alteration.

Photograph of Cudjo Lewis, using his given name Kossula. From the book "Barracoon".
Photograph of Cudjo Lewis, using his given name Kossula.

We very sorry to be parted from one ’nother. We seventy days cross de water from de Affica soil, and now dey part us from one ’nother. Derefore we cry. Our grief so heavy look lak we cain stand it. I think maybe I die in my sleep when I dream about my mama. (Zora Neale Hurston, Barracoon: The Story of the Last ‘Black Cargo, quoted in The New York Times article of the same name.)

Intern Spotlight: Brooke Caine

Salutations, fellow lovers of language! My name is Brooke Caine, and I am a senior who will be joining the UNG Press as an intern this summer. Until my junior year of high school, I did not ever see myself in an institution of higher learning, as none of my family members have ever obtained a degree, and my grades were modest at best. However, thanks to the urgings of my mother and some well-selected Advanced Placement courses during my junior and senior year, I am proud to say that I graduated from North Forsyth High School in 2011 with a GPA of 3.2 and a letter of admission to UNG for the following fall semester.

My decision to pursue writing and publication as a major was born largely from the fact that I have been almost unnaturally obsessed with literature since before I could even read or speak properly. One of my mother’s favorite stories: At fifteen months old, I would regularly pull down every book from a shelf that was even larger than myself and babble nonsense in an attempt at ‘reading’. Imagine a small and rather chubby child sitting on a mountain of discarded but nevertheless beloved books with an enormous smile on her face—that is me, albeit slightly larger now and fairly literate by this point.

In addition to my passion for the written word, I am also a lover of languages. During my time at UNG, I have studied Chinese and Russian (the first briefly and the second as a minor) both in the classroom and with native speakers who were generous enough to invite me into their culture and share with me their language, food, and friendship. Naturally, I am always delighted to see works by authors whose countries and customs are different from my own. My favorite English course by far was Immigrant Literature as it gave me an intimate perspective on the struggles and joys of those who come to this country as dreamers and the memories of the lands and people that they left behind.

Ever since I was a child, I have been a firm believer that every story deserves to be told as there is always someone who needs to hear it. To that end, my goal is to work in a publishing company that focuses specifically on the voices that have heretofore been pushed aside or even erased in the flow of history. During the course of my internship, I would like to learn the basics of the industry—proofreading, editing, marketing, design, production—in a work environment that promotes a global and open-minded perspective, both in business practices and the works that we produce for our student body and community.