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Academic Insights for the Thinking World

Getting to know Sara McNamara, Associate Editor

From time to time, we try to give you a glimpse into our offices around the globe. This week, we are excited to bring you an interview with Sara McNamara, an Associate Editor on our Journals team in New York. Sara has been working at the Oxford University Press since September 2012.

When did you start working at OUP?

I joined OUP in September 2012. I had spent the previous year working as an adjunct professor at Hofstra University and John Jay College after completing my Ph.D. in philosophy at Stony Brook University in 2011.

What’s the most surprising thing you’ve found about working at OUP?

Prior to joining Oxford University Press, having both a background in academia and previous experience working on a bioethics journal, I would have said that I had an above average understanding of OUP as an academic publisher. It was, therefore, startling to learn how little I knew, not just about the full size and scope of OUP’s products and publishing operations but also about the global business of academic publishing. There is much I still need to learn about this innovative and competitive industry.

What is your typical day like at OUP?

There are very few ‘typical’ days in journals publishing. Because I am responsible for overseeing the operations of multiple journals, with editorial, production, and marketing team members located across the country, each day can be very different. On the days when I am in the office I spend a lot of time on email, communicating with clients and coordinating with the different OUP staff members dedicated to each journal, and in meetings, discussing company- or department-wide initiatives/developments or working on an upcoming presentation. I also frequently spend time away from the office, traveling to meet with journal stakeholders or to attend academic conferences.

"Sara McNamara, Editorial Assistant." Photo by the Oxford University Press.
Sara McNamara. Photo by the Oxford University Press.

What’s the most enjoyable part of your day?

Spending time with the other members of the Journals team is the most enjoyable part of my day. Whether we are together working on a project or presentation, or goofing around during a moment of down time, I am always pleased and proud to be part of such a talented, passionate, and fun group.

What is the strangest thing currently on or in your desk?

Though it is a new addition to my desk at OUP, my Sigmund Freud action figure has adorned desks of mine for over a decade. My college friends and I each bought an action figure as an emblem of our shared appreciation for Freud’s work. Now, I keep it both for its sentimental value and as a good luck charm.

What are you reading right now?

I do not typically read multiple books at once, but when friend and OUP colleague Robert Repino’s debut novel Mort(e) was released in January I started reading it immediately, even though I was already in the middle of Dan Jones’ The Plantagenets: The Warrior Kings and Queens Who Made England. I am thus alternating between Mort(e) in print and The Plantagenets on my Kindle. I am also listening to the audiobook of Edmund Morris’ fabulous The Rise of Theodore Roosevelt on my walk to and from work.

What’s your favorite book?

Pride and Prejudice is my favorite novel. I have a particular fondness for epic historical fiction (e.g., War and Peace), but nothing can ultimately compete with this work of Jane Austen for the first place in my heart.

 What is your favorite album?

Neutral Milk Hotel’s haunting masterpiece “In the Aeroplane Over the Sea” is one of the best albums of all time. It is beautiful and evocative, and every time I listen to it I am transported to the dreamlike, melancholic world created by singer and songwriter Jeff Mangum’s voice and lyrics. I was able to see Neutral Milk Hotel perform most of the album when they played in Brooklyn this summer, and it was easily the best concert I have ever attended.

If you were stranded on a desert island, what three items would you take with you?

Since I am convinced that I could survive almost anything as long as I have reliable access to multiple seasons of The West Wing, I would bring my iPad, a solar power kit, and something sensible like a survival knife.

What is your favorite word?

My favorite word is the one that hovers on the tip of your tongue, or floats just at the edge of your brain. It is the word that perfectly captures the exact thing you want to communicate in that particular moment. There is nothing better than the feeling you get when that elusive world finally fully materializes in your mind.

Image Credit: “Books” by Curtis Perry. CC BY NC SA 3.0 via Flickr.

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  1. […] a great group of women from different backgrounds and at different stages of their career – from Sara McNamara, who’s just starting in scholarly publishing, having recently moved to Oxford University Press […]

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