My name is Marianne Lund, I'm a second year English student at Newcastle Upon Tyne university and I'm working at Tonto Press for one week on a work experience placement, and this is my first day's blog! To start with both Paul and Stu talked me through what kind of things I would be working on over the five days which was useful as it gave me some focus and a time line for the different jobs I would be doing.
So the first thing Paul and Stu wanted me to look at was the manuscript of the book 'Jonny Kennedy; The Story of the Boy whose Skin fell off'. This is a biography as Jonny didn't actually write it himself, instead his friend Roger Stutter wrote down, over the course of ten years, everything that Jonny told him about his life. There is also a very touching foreword by Nell McAndrew, who met Jonny several times. I found this very interesting because I was already aware about Jonny because of the Channel Four documentary a few years ago which chronicled his life and death. I also found it rather exciting that I was the third person to ever actually read the manuscript, apart from obviously both Paul and Stu who have been working with Roger, but more importantly I began to appreciate the amount of work and time that goes into preparing a manuscript before it is ready for publication. I spent the whole day working on this book and I only managed to get to page 28! However I thoroughly enjoyed reading it and trying to find ways to improve it and I think it will be extremely successful when it is published because it is such an unusual story, with surprising amounts of humour in it. I also think that this book will help raise more awareness about the agonising disease Dystrophic Epidermolysis Bullosa (EB) that Jonny suffered from which is not currently widely known about in society.
In the afternoon I also sent an email around to all of the English students at Newcastle university informing them about an upcoming Creative Writing Course that Paul and Stu are putting on which starts on Monday the 23rd of July and lasts a week, until Friday the 27th of July. I thought lots of students might be interested in this but probably wouldn't know about it so this was an ideal opportunity and way to publicise the course.
Students tackle a group writing exercise on the last course
Towards the end of the afternoon I went through all my suggestions about the manuscript with Paul and Stu. At this point they told me more about Jonny's life and his personality, that they had learnt about from working for so long with Jonny's close friend Roger and I found this very interesting. Overall it was a very enjoyable day and i'm looking forward to being able to finish reading the manuscript over the next few days of my placement!
By Marianne Lund.