Carole Blake Open Doors Project
“Carole didn't just leave the door on the latch – she flung it wide open, ushered you inside, poured you a glass of champagne and introduced you to everyone in the room.” - Francesca Main, Editorial Director at Picador, and former Blake Friedmann intern
The Carole Blake Open Doors Project, is a programme specifically aimed at encouraging candidates from a diverse range of backgrounds to enter the publishing industry.
Carole Blake was born in south London, and grew up in a house which did not have many books. When she left school at the age of sixteen with hopes of becoming a librarian, she found a job as secretary at George Rainbird Publishing. The experience kick-started her love of art, broadened her education, and introduced her to the classics. She moved to Michael Joseph in 1970, becoming the publisher’s first Rights Manager, and in 1975 joined Sphere Publishing to run their rights, contracts and publicity teams. After founding her own literary agency with some of the authors she’d come to know and love, Carole merged agencies with Julian Friedmann in 1982 to create the Blake Friedmann Agency.
The Carole Blake Open Doors Project will offer ten days of work shadowing to a selected applicant over a two-week period, including funding for travel, a weekly stipend and up to twelve nights’ accommodation in London. The programme, which will run twice a year, will include close mentorship with Blake Friedmann’s book agents, the opportunity to attend selected meetings with editors and authors, and the chance to be involved in every aspect of day-to-day life as an agent. It is intended that candidates will come away from the project with varied knowledge of working for a leading literary agency, the beginnings of new and essential relationships in the publishing industry, and some excellent experience to include on their CVs.
“Carole offered me my first internship in publishing at Blake Friedman. She was a formidable figure, yet warm and funny. She was deeply encouraging to me as one from a diverse background based on my age, class and race – though it was our mutual love of a great pair of shoes that really sealed the deal! An unforgettable, truly phenomenal woman.” - Valerie Brandes, Founder & Publisher, Jacaranda Books, and former BFA intern
Carole Blake and the Blake Friedmann team have always placed great value on diversity and openness, in the company's client list as well as its hiring practices. We aim to build on this foundation and be proactive about drawing from a wider pool of talented applicants who are passionate about books and ambitious about getting a job in publishing.
What we’re looking for
• Bright and enthusiastic with a can-do approach
• A keen reader with a good knowledge of contemporary English literature
• Eager to learn about the process behind getting a book published
• Friendly and willing to get involved in a close and sociable team dynamic
• Hard-working, organised, with an eye for detail
We will be looking solely at applicants from backgrounds not well represented in publishing including those who have not been to college or university (like Carole), those not from high income families, those from BAME backgrounds, and those who live outside the London metropolitan area.
How to apply
APPLICATIONS FOR THE CAROLE BLAKE OPEN DOORS PROJECT ARE NOW CLOSED. We will be reopening in 2019.
To apply, please email juliet[at]blakefriedmann.co.uk using the subject line “Carole Blake Open Doors Project Application” with the following:
· A covering letter of up to 300-500 words outlining how you meet our candidate specification and diversity guidelines
· 250-500 words on why you want to work in the publishing industry
· A reader’s report of up to 750 words on a book you have read recently, briefly summarising the plot and explaining what you believe to be its strengths and weaknesses. These could include, but are not limited to: plot, chronology, pacing, voice, structure, characterisation, writing quality and style. We would also like to see how you feel this book would fit into the market, what you think its key selling points might be, who might want to read it and any similar books on the market you think are comparable.
NB: Please do not include a CV; these will not be considered as part of the application process.