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A Blast from Books’ Past


exeposesExeposé Books talks to Ceri Maxwell and Elaine Roberts, Exeposé Books editors from 2008.

How did you first get involved with Exeposé?

Elaine: I started off by just contacting the Editors and asking to write for my favourite sections: Books and Music. I was later given some great news stories to cover such as the Safer Sex Ball Ticketing Controversy of 2007, but I found that what I really enjoyed the most was reviewing the latest books and music. At the beginning of my second year the opportunity arose to run the Books pages. I contacted Ceri, we told everyone why we’d be great at running the pages, and we got the roles!

Ceri: I had written a few reviews for the Books section as well contributing to some Lifestyle features but it wasn’t until Elaine asked me to run for Books Editor with her that I got really involved with the editorial side of things.

What was your favourite section to write for?

Elaine: Books – a little biased of course! My favourite review – probably my favourite because it’s fun to be scathing about such godawful writing – was for the first Twilight book, which had just been released. I gave it one star.

Ceri: Books, of course! I loved reading that section too, it always gave me something to add to my Waterstones’ wish list.

Elaine's first choice for apocalyptic reading...
Elaine’s first choice for apocalyptic reading…

Were you involved in any other societies at uni?

Elaine: Welsh Society and Literary Society, as well as Creative Writing.

Ceri: Hockey, Literary Society and Welsh Soc – the rugby weekends in Edinburgh and Dublin were highlights!

What is your favourite memory of being a part of Exeposé?

Elaine: Probably the XMedia Awards at the end of our second year. An award show, some food and a big party with everyone involved in XMedia. It was a brilliant night. In terms of Exeposé articles, I remember reviewing the debut album of a newcomer called Lady Gaga. I predicted that she’d make it big…

How did you cope juggling your editorial role alongside your degree?

Elaine: Ceri and I split the work evenly. We would work on it whilst we were on campus anyway, for example just after lectures or before a seminar. I don’t really remember it taking up too much of our time – it was mainly just commission, proof and design.

Ceri: Looking back, I don’t remember it taking up a lot of time. We did most of the work after lectures or while we were already on campus.

What is your favourite memory of being at Exeter?

Elaine: Too many! I miss it lots. The weekend trips to Exmouth, the various balls and parties, lying in till noon, meeting lifelong friends… but the standout memory for me was graduation week.

What did you do immediately after graduating?

Elaine: I worked at a bank for a year – definitely not my dream job but the recession had hit hard! The entire year I was searching for a job in publishing.

Ceri: Immediately after graduating I went home to earn some money so that I could go travelling for a few months. When I got back I did some work experience placements in the publishing industry, for a literature festival and in an arts PR agency where I ended up staying for three years.

How has being Books Editor helped you in your career?

Elaine: It has definitely been invaluable. I even took clippings of my Exeposé articles to the interview for my current job role. I also learnt essential InDesign skills, which I occasionally use at work now.

Ceri: Being Books Editor gave me a chance to learn about the different areas of the publishing industry and stay up to date with literary news and trends, this was really important as it gave me things to talk about in my first interviews!

... and Ceri's!
… and Ceri’s!

What is your current role?

Elaine: I’m a Marketing Executive at Routledge, Taylor & Francis. We’re an academic publisher and I work on the Journals side, promoting the latest papers and research to scholars. You may have even quoted from us in your own essays! I’ve been here over three years now and am still having a brilliant time.

Ceri: I’m a publicist for the Vintage Publishing division of Random House. My job is to get books into the hands of readers through targeted promotion – reviews, interviews and features across print, broadcast and online media and through organising author events and festival appearances.

What is your favourite literary genre?

Ceri: I don’t have a favourite genre but I do love books with a very distinctive sense of place, be that geographical or historical, real or imaginary.

If you were stranded on a desert island and could take four books with you, what would they be?

Elaine: Jane Eyre, Robinson Crusoe, the entire Harry Potter series (is that allowed?) and How to Survive on a Desert Island!

Ceri: I would have to take my all-time favourite: Pride and Prejudice by Jane Austen. I love this book and I don’t think I could ever get bored of it. I’d take The Great Gatsby by F. Scott Fitzgerald. I love reading anything about or set in the Jazz Age and for me, this is the quintessential Jazz Age novel. I’d also pick Philip Pullman’s His Dark Materials trilogy and To Kill a Mockingbird by Harper Lee to remind me why I fell in love with reading in the first place. Those are the four I’d pick if ruled by my heart but if I let my head take over for just a second I’d swap in the completely fascinating The Knowledge by Lewis Dartnell. The book explains how to restart the world from scratch after modern life has been destroyed. That could come in handy on a desert island!

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