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An Inspirational Job for A Writing Student

by Wendy Tilley, Editorial Assistant

In the almost seven months I’ve worked as an editorial assistant for the North Carolina Literary Review, I’ve corresponded with dozens of authors, scholars, and artists from around the state (and country) and as many museums, publishers, bookstores, and publicists. I’ve read dozens of submissions and articles, helped format them in Word and InDesign, and helped gather the images, reproduction permissions, and final review copies needed for articles and reviews to be done on time. It’s exciting, varied work with on-the-job training. And yes, I got to spend a lot of time reading, researching online, and going through the stacks at the library (or requesting books through interlibrary loan), all while gaining valuable editorial experience. 

Wendy, hard at work in the NCLR office

Of course, throughout the semester I learned a lot about North Carolina literature as well. This past semester gave me the opportunity to increase my knowledge of indigenous literature, and I am grateful for having worked for Dr. Bauer and NCLR’s first guest feature editor, Dr. Squint, on NCLR 2023, featuring Native American Literature of North Carolina, and alongside my fellow editorial assistants, Daniel Moreno and Megan Smith, and the interns, Dasani Cropper and Megan Howell. 

Whether I was collaborating with interns to edit an interview transcription, reaching out to local bookstores for photographs of North Carolina authors at events for book reviews, or attending events for NCLR at ECU, working for NCLR was one of the most exciting jobs I’ve had. Period. To be able to help organize submissions for the Alex Albright Creative Nonfiction Prize competition was a particular highlight – as an aspiring writer myself, it was nice to see that there were people at the other end of the submit button who really looked forward to reading what came in. I also quickly learned how many good writers there are in and from North Carolina, which is great: as a reader I’ll never run out of things to read, and as a writer I’ll never run out of the inspiration that comes from reading.  

It’s hard to put it all in a few short paragraphs, but I also learned to work on this website with the help of Professor Hackett (if you mess it up, he can fix it). And I got a lot of practice writing emails in a professional setting, and it eventually got easier. But since I was learning a lot about North Carolina literature, at some point I started realizing who the people were that I had been emailing, and I got nervous again: when almost everyone was a published writer, at the very least I didn’t want to let any typos slip through. 

And speaking of communicating with some of North Carolina’s literary stars, who were always very generous with me and not so intimidating in the end, there were also a few free lunches and events along the way. I was able to meet with some very talented and kind writers in person and online, among them Jason Mott when he spoke at ECU for the Voyages of Discovery Series. I enjoy almost daily chances to read new and unpublished scholarship, poetry, fiction, and nonfiction, while calling these opportunities “work.”

Because this post will be associated with NCLR and will be hosted in a small way among the names of all the dedicated writers, scholars, and artists indexed here, I’ve been nervous to write it. But, to close, I’d like to give thanks to Dr. Bauer, and the artists, scholars, interns, and editorial assistants I’ve had the pleasure to work with at NCLR

Editor Note: We couldn’t continue to create and expand NCLR without the help of our dedicated student staff. For current or future ECU students, find out more about working for NCLR.