Oxford University Press's
Academic Insights for the Thinking World

A Q&A with Laura Knowles, marketing executive for online products

We caught up with Laura Knowles, who joined Oxford University Press in January 2017 and is now currently a Marketing Executive for the Global Online Products team. She talks to us about working on online products, her own experience in publishing, and her OUP journey so far.

When did you start working at OUP?

I started working at OUP in January 2017 as a Digital Marketing Coordinator with the UK Primary Education division. I then moved to Global Academic to work on online products in October 2017. It’s been great gaining insight and experience across different teams, and engaging with audiences worldwide.

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

All the ducks! When you walk through the main entrance of OUP there is a fountain in the middle of the quad, home to lots of ducks and ducklings every year. When you look outside in summer, someone’s always on the grass trying their best to get a good picture of them. Once a group of ducks (a safe, ironically) trapped me, falling asleep around my bike—it took me ages to wake them up so I could move around them and go home.

Laura Knowles. Used with permission of the author.

What was your first job in publishing? 

I’ve worked with books and writers since finishing my MA, and I interned for around six months (five of which were spent sleeping on a friend’s sofa—thanks Sam!) before getting my first job in publishing. It was a London-based non-fiction publisher in their publicity team. It was a great experience and I was an ace with the franking machine.

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

Eleven from Stranger Things. A hardcore version of Matilda who can take on the Shadow Monster and rock a buzz cut? Yes.

What one resource would you recommend to someone trying to get into publishing?

An unlimited supply of patience. Also, Twitter. It’s really useful when looking for work experience or internship opportunities and for connecting with those who already work in the industry.

If you didn’t work in publishing, what would you be doing? 

Psychology or social work.

What is your favourite word? 

Flawless. It sounds great in every accent.

What’s the first thing you do when you get to work in the morning?

Run to the kitchen and make tea.

What will you be doing once you’ve completed this Q&A?

I’ll make a cup of tea (notice a theme?) before heading off to a project meeting.

Bikes and ducks. Used with permission of the author.

Open the book you’re currently reading and turn to page 75. Tell us the title of the book, and the third sentence on that page.

New York magazine called it a ‘playful but mysterious little dish’ and I repeat this to Patricia, who lights a cigarette while ignoring my lit match, sulkily slumped in her seat, exhaling smoke directly into my face, occasionally shooting furious looks at me which I politely ignore, being the gentleman that I can be.”

American Psycho by Bret Easton Ellis

What’s your favourite book?

Probably Lolita by Vladimir Nabokov. It’s a beautiful nightmare of a book that makes you empathise with one of the most depraved characters ever written. Everyone should read it. Everyone should also read Incarnations of Burned Children by David Foster Wallace—it’s a really great short story and I promise you won’t regret it. And while I’m at it (I work in publishing, I can’t just have one favourite), Atlantis by Mark Doty is all kinds of wonderful.

What is in your desk drawer?

A Skype headset and a multipack of Ripple chocolate bars. Don’t judge me.

Featured image credit: Oxford Street England by keem1201. Public domain via Pixabay.

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