5 Questions with Publishing Intern Taylor McCafferty

January 18th 2019

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We chatted with our new publishing intern Taylor McCafferty, who arrives tommorrow!! Check out what she's excited about in Spartanburg!

What excites you most about Spartanburg and the summer internship program?

It’s rare to be given a chance to step away from a job you like to try another, and the fact that I have that chance now is a gift. Shortly after graduating, I started working at a small publishing company called Islandport Press in Yarmouth, Maine. While I am grateful to have started my career so soon, there’s plenty I haven’t seen! I am eager to learn more about the nonprofit side of Hub City and experience new parts of the industry. This will be the longest amount of time I’ve spent away from my home state, and it feels comforting to move from one place with a rich literary history to another. I love calling Portland home because it’s a city that sometimes feels like a small town. It’s tough to spend time there without running into someone you know. I have a gut feeling that Spartanburg is that kind of city. I am excited to live in a historic southern neighborhood, meet passionate people, and find my own place in Spartanburg’s literary community.

Why publishing? What interests you about it and how did you decide this was what you wanted to pursue?

In my late teens, I decided that I wanted to work in publishing. I have always loved books but never wanted to be a writer. I did enjoy helping my friends proofread and edit papers, though. At first, I thought to work in publishing meant to be an editor in New York, which sounded great. However, as college continued, I fell in love with Maine in a way I never had before. Suddenly the idea of leaving it seemed nearly impossible. I quickly realized that publishing opportunities in Maine were slim, so I widened my definition of publishing. I still haven’t figured out what my dream position would be, but I know for sure that I most enjoy my work when I’m interacting with people outside the office, like bookstore owners, readers, and authors. I also know that a sense of place has become so richly woven into what I do that it’s hard to imagine working at a press that doesn’t have its feet firmly rooted.

Any plans post-internship?

Immediately after returning to Maine, I’ll be moving into a new apartment. I haven’t found one yet, but I have a hope and a vision that it’ll have a built-in bookshelf. My books are scattered between boxes and mismatched shelves, so I dream of the day that my library can live in one place.

What’s the best book you’ve read this year?

I gave myself a fun assignment last year, to read all six of Shirley Jackson’s novels in order of publication, and her final novel, “We Have Always Lived in the Castle” stands out as my favorite. It’s the only Jackson novel I’d read before, but through this second read, I felt like I was on a literary egg hunt, spotting similar characters, settings, or scenarios to her previous novels and short stories. Overall, she leaves an impressive legacy of books, and though she died far too soon, she ended with a powerhouse of a novel.

My interest in Shirley Jackson was sparked in 2015 and has only gotten stronger since then. To me, her work positively represents the complex, restless women of the 1940s, 50s, and 60s. I’m fascinated by how multifaceted her body of work is; the dark psychological dramas and the humorous accounts of motherhood. She excelled at both styles and I love her for it.

Honorable mentions include Her Body and Other Parties by Carmen Maria Machado, Too Fat, Too Slutty, Too Loud: The Rise and Reign of the Unruly Woman by Anne Helen Peterson, and Hub City’s Whiskey and Ribbons by Leesa Cross-Smith.

What do you like to do for fun? Where might we see you on a Saturday afternoon?

Other than reading and learning about Shirley Jackson, I love journaling and planning. I learn a lot about myself that way. While in Spartanburg, I’d like to take that hobby out into the world, so perhaps you’ll see me in a cafe or at the library with a notebook in hand. I’d love to meet fellow stationery aficionados!

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