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Academic Insights for the Thinking World

A Q & A with Georgie Leighton, assistant commissioning editor for classics

We caught up with Georgie Leighton, who joined Oxford University Press in November 2012 and is now Assistant Commissioning Editor for Classics and Ancient History. She talks to us about her proudest moments, advice for first-time authors, and her OUP journey so far.

What is your typical day like at OUP?

There’s a lot of variation, as I tend to start each day by looking through my emails and making a plan based on what’s in those and what’s already on my to-do list. Keeping on top of my inbox is a challenge but it’s always a huge rush when a new manuscript lands on my desk!

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

The sheer amount of cake in the building at any given time.

What is the one piece of advice you would give a first time author?

Make sure you check early whether you have used any copyright material and if you will need to clear permission to include it. If you’re not sure, take a quick look at our Author Guidelines and ask your OUP Editor if you need advice.

What is the most important lesson you learned during your first year on the job?

Definitely to ask for help – even after a year in my current role I still run into questions I don’t know the answer to and drawing on other colleagues’ experience makes them a lot less daunting.

What is the strangest thing currently on your desk?

That’s a tough call! I think it’s the plastic unicorn cake topper – nothing says ‘hardworking professional’ quite like one of those.

Unicorn cake topper. Photo by Georgie Leighton, used with permission.
Unicorn cake topper. Photo by Georgie Leighton, used with permission.

What was your first job in publishing?

I did the Summer Internship at OUP in 2012 and started my first job not long after as the administrator for my current department and Personal Assistant to our Editorial Director. It was a great introduction to publishing and started me on the path to my current role.

What are you reading right now?

I’m halfway through a few books but most recently impulse-bought Austin Wright’s Nocturnal Animals (originally Tony and Susan) on a trip to London – I’m rushing to finish it before watching the film!

Tell us about one of your proudest moments at work.

A recent highlight was the publication of the first book that I had seen all the way through production – it felt great to have contributed even in a small way to help the author’s hard work come to fruition.

If you could trade places with any one person for a week, who would it be and why?

Whoever runs Area 51 – I love that unicorn cake topper but would swap it in a heartbeat to find out the truth about what happened at Roswell.

What is the most exciting project you have been part of whilst working at OUP?

Oxford Scholarly Editions Online. I initially started working on it around a year after it launched and it’s been amazing to see it grow so fast in content and functionality since then. The Latin modules are now live so I can brush up my knowledge without leaving my desk!

What is your favourite word?

Defenestrate. Use it in a sentence today.

Featured image credit: Georgie Leighton, used with permission.

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