Current age: 28
Where are you currently situated on the planet: Johannesburg, South Africa!
Last time we spoke with you, you were working at Penguin Books (SA) in their Editorial and Production department …fill us in on what has happened since:
I was a bit undecided as to what direction I wanted to move – either design or editorial – but I eventually focused on editorial and now have the fun job of commissioning new book projects. My days are spent researching and evaluating new book projects, approaching authors, discussing contractual terms, etc. It can be daunting but I love the free reign I have and I get to meet many interesting people.
Your career has progressed, would you say that it went according to plan or you just went with the flow…were there any surprises on the way:
My career has progressed to almost the exact point where I wanted it to go, which I think is very lucky. Everything just followed a natural progression but there were also a few unwanted surprises – mentors and colleagues leaving, a possible move to a new city that didn’t work out – but these just help keep things interesting.
Since we last spoke to you have there been any major career highlights which have happened:
The highlight of any commissioning editor’s job is seeing a project through to completion and then having it be much more successful than imagined. I commissioned a book of sports trivia which ended up selling very well and I got to work with David O’Sullivan and Kevin McCallum, both of whom are brilliant and lots of fun. I’ve also been lucky to work with great authors and personalities such as Simon Gear, Justin Bonello, John van de Ruit and many others. (FirstStep.me says: super cool!)
Where do you see yourself in 5 years time and what will you being doing during time to get there:
At this point in time it is quite difficult to predict where the publishing industry will be, and thus quite difficult to predict where I will be. Publishing will definitely go almost entirely digital, but whether that will be in 5 years or 10 is not possible to say at this time. I’m interested in the potential of new media so I may decide to venture more into online media, but I’m also fond of travelling and photography so may decide to take a year or two off and travel the world and write about my experiences. Whatever happens, my job will change quite drastically in the next few years.
What’s the plan for 2010, are you going to rock the boat and have a big year:
I think a lot of South Africans are seeing 2010 as a big year for the country – one that will either put us firmly on the map or one that will show us our biggest flaws and where we need to improve. I’m going to continue to build Penguin’s brand and presence in the South African book market, and sign up some major authors.
Okay as always serious questions take too much time…so let’s throw in some cool and chilled out ones:
How many countries have you travelled through in the last 5 years:
I’ve been lucky to travel to Kenya, Australia, Turkey and Botswana in the last few years and loved each of them. Istanbul is one of the most amazing cities I’ve ever been to and is a must-visit destination for everyone – such history and the most beautiful architecture.
What is your favourite movie, website and book:
Movie: Tie between Star Wars Episode IV: A New Hope and Hitchcock’s classic Rear Window. The former because it changed the way movies are made and the latter because it is perfectly scripted, directed and acted, and stars the most beautiful actress of all time, Grace Kelly. (FirstStep.me notes: anything with Yoda in it rocks!)
Website: www.imdb.com: I’m very into film and this site is a good starting point.
Book: The Road by Cormac McCarthy. A dystopian future has never been so bleak, heart-wrenching and beautiful. A close second is A Clockwork Orange by Anthony Burgess.
If you could live on and have your very own planet what would you name it:
Clavivoxia. No it’s not some weird disease; I’ve named it after one of Raymond Scott’s inventions (see below).
Do you have any role models past and present who inspire you:
Raymond Scott, who forever changed the face of music by inventing instruments and machines to achieve his vision. He inspires me to think out of the box and to create new avenues and methods of achieving your dreams if ones don’t already exist.
James Randi, a fantastic magician, writer and educator. He has boundless energy and inspires me to continue to learn as much as possible.
What message do you have for the youth of the world:
When it comes to your career, the best time to take risks is when you’re young. A few years spent pursuing something new is not wasted time but valuable experience that one just doesn’t have time for later in life.
Check out David's past interview on FirstStep.me!