This summer, Emory partnered with Plympton, a San Francisco-based literary studio that focuses on innovation in publishing, to offer paid internships to thirteen students, most of them English majors. Plympton works across a range of practices, from story format to book cover design to library licenses to writer compensation. It is also building a database of short stories, called the Writing Atlas, which includes rich information about each story, such as plot summaries and reader annotations, to help understand why some stories have been successful and how some might also be successful as TV or film adaptations. It aspires to be the world’s most comprehensive database of short stories.
Emory student interns each read approximately one hundred and twenty short stories this summer, most from the history of the Best American Short Story series, and prepared accounts of them for the Writing Atlas. In addition, they had opportunities to meet with industry professionals. Each week, Plympton hosted figures working in a range of positions to speak with and take questions from the interns, which allowed them to explore possible careers. Finally, Plympton invited interns to share their particular passions and helped them find special projects to take on, which included working with adaptation rights from literature to film, designing ebook covers, and writing treatments of novels for Hollywood producers.
The Department of English is delighted to spotlight Ananya Mohan’s participation in the internship, read her reflections below!
Emory University, Class of 2024
Remote internships can seem like a necessity enforced by the pandemic – complicated to execute and difficult to participate in – but my experience with the Emory-Plympton internship was anything but. The primary objective was to work on the Writing Atlas, which is a database storing information on American short stories going back several decades. By itself, this was engaging work – being exposed to the variety within the sub-genre and working with stories that overlap in interesting ways with other fields of study.
However, the best part of this internship was the extra value that it offered by way of weekly speaker sessions. These meetings allowed interns to connect with people who have been working in the publishing industry for many years, who offered advice and insight into the realities of the job. The main thing that I took away from this internship is the real-world applicability of an English major, especially since Plympton supplemented their speaker meetings by giving interns the opportunity to work on their other projects as well.
Overall, this was an experience that I really enjoyed. The environment was welcoming, the hours were more than reasonable, and even though it was remote, it felt well-connected. I hope Emory carries this forward in the coming years!