In a semi-regular blog series, we’ll introduce you to the people behind the press. First up is Alison Major, who is the Marketing and Distribution Manager for UCL Press.
What is your role and what does it involve?
I’m Marketing and Distribution Manager for UCL Press, UCL’s university press. This means that I look after everything that happens after a book or journal has published.
I don’t really have a typical day- I can be meeting authors, negotiating with distributors, knee deep in catalogues/websites/emails, managing our social media presence (see our twitter account @uclpress, Instagram coming soon), talking to socities attending conferences and a whole host of other things.
I’ve been at UCL since July 2015. It’s something of a homecoming, as I studied here as an undergraduate. Previously, I worked for Lippincott Williams and Wilkins (part of Wolters Kluwer) looking after various aspects of their international marketing. My last role there focused on Middle East and global south, and involved a lot of travel to some wonderful countries I might never have visited otherwise, like Oman.
What working achievement or initiative are you most proud of?
I am incredibly proud of what we’ve achieved at UCL Press- it’s been a very fun, exciting journey so far, and we’re extremely proud of the excellent authors that we’ve worked with. In our first year, we have published 12 books than have been downloaded 35,000 times in more than 160 countries worldwide. There are even more exciting titles to come in Autumn!
Tell us about a project you are working on now which is top of you to-do list?
UCL Press’ first birthday. We are extremely proud of what we’ve achieved in the first year, so it’s great to be able to celebrate with those who have played a part in making it the success that it’s become.
What is your favourite album, film and novel?
This is a really, really hard question!
Album: Blue Afternoon by Tim Buckley or Pink Moon by Nick Drake
Film: Probably one of the Dogme films: either Festen (“The Celebration”) or Idioterne (“The Idiots”)
Novel: Master and Margerita by Mikhail Bulgakov every time. It’s just a book that keeps on giving.
What is your favourite joke (pre-watershed)?
I don’t really have a favourite joke that would work well when written, but my three year old niece is obsessed by this one:
What do you call a dinosaur with no eyes?
Who would be your dream dinner guests?
Nelson Mandela, William S. Burroughs, Jón Gnarr, Bill Hicks, Mata Hari, Aung San Suu Kyi, Kathleen Hanna, Pablo Escobar, Mo Mowlam, Dolly Parton, Jeff Buckley, and finally, my Fiance!
What advice would you give your younger self?
The same advice I always give to interns and students: there is no such thing as a stupid question. That, and to always ask yourself “Who died?” when something goes wrong. Inevitably, the answer is no one.
What would it surprise people to know about you?
I have been glacier hiking and didn’t scream once. Or that I can’t drive, and have never even had a single lesson.
What is your favourite place?
Another hard one! It’s so difficult to nail it down. If I really *have* to choose, it’d either be at Roskilde festival, listening to music whilst sharing a few drinks with my very best friends and watching the sun going down…or…on the wonderful island of Lokrum looking out to the Adriatic as the sun goes down, surrounded by peacocks.