Meet Magdalen: Editorial Assistant

If there’s one thing anyone who’s worked in indie publishing can tell you, there’s no such thing as too many helping hands. (Well, they also can tell you that the claim “my manuscript is absolutely unlike anything written before” is far less enticing than people seem to think.) That’s why this summer Atticus is warmly welcoming four interns to learn the ropes and do the dirty work–er, gain invaluable experience–around here this summer. Third in our enthusiastic lineup is Magdalen Silberman, a rising senior and Creative Writing major at Carnegie Mellon University.


If there’s one novel currently in print that you wish had your name on the cover as the author, what book do you wish it was and why?

The Eyre Affair by Jasper Fforde. I first read this book when I was in middle school and I probably understood about 5% of the deluge of literary references Fforde makes in it (I hadn’t even read Jane Eyre yet), but that didn’t keep me from falling in love with its strange and exciting world, its gripping plot, and its quirky sense of humor. Each time I reread it and its sequels over the years, I was clued in to more aspects of the literary world that Fforde explores in such a unique way and it made me love the series all the more.


What fictional character do you think best represents you?

Some combination of Hermione Granger (bushy brown hair, a predilection for rule-following), Liz Lemon (geeky writer, fan of cheesy snack foods), and the Cheshire Cat (mischievous, and I just really like cats).


What is one book that you’ve read that you can’t live without?

If I were to be completely honest I would say Harry Potter—my middle school years were a time of endless fan fiction reading and posting on Harry Potter message boards—but in an effort to choose something more revelatory (because how many people my age didn’t grow up on Harry Potter?) I’ll say Dandelion Wine by Ray Bradbury. Just a beautiful set of linked stories that captures something magical about the growing up children do in the summertime. I reread it every time I get the chance.


What is one book (contemporary or classic) that you think is highly overrated?

The Catcher in the Rye. Maybe I just missed the boat on this one by not reading it until I was past the throes of teenage angst, but I found Holden to be incredibly annoying and his narration ineloquent. Yeah, I get that he’s a teenager, who are often known for being annoying and ineloquent, but I wouldn’t want to read an actual teenager’s angst-filled diary, so why should I want to read Holden’s? I’m even less forgiving of the work because I’m a huge fan of Salinger’s short stories—I know he’s capable of much better.


If you could make any book (fiction or non-fiction) into a movie, which book would you choose and who would you cast in the leading roles?

I’m surprised Good Omens by Terry Pratchett and Neil Gaiman isn’t a movie already—the Apocalypse was made for the big screen. There are so many characters, but a few casting suggestions just to scratch the surface:

Aziraphale—James McAvoy
Crowley—Robert Downey, Jr.
Anathema Device—Bonnie Wright
Newton Pulsifer—Nicholas Hoult


What did you long to be when you were growing up?

When I was in middle school I wanted to be a WNBA player, but then I remembered that I’m 5 foot 2 and relatively unathletic.


Do you write? If so, what type of writing? 

Yes, I write fiction and screenplays.


In haiku form, please share your thoughts on contemporary publishing/writing.

Keep writing books that
Break my heart or bust my gut
And we’ll be just fine

…like I said, I write fiction and screenplays…


What are you currently reading?

I’m always in the middle of a few things at a time. Current endeavours include A Game of Thrones, Death Comes to Pemberley, and Everything Is Illuminated, as well as various Meg Cabot books that I’ve read before. Jumping back and forth between books can get a bit disorienting, especially when I turn on my Kindle and find myself in the midst of Cabot’s chick lit banter instead of the George R. R. Martin battle scene I was expecting.


Why did you apply for an internship with Atticus Books?

As writer who dreams of one day having a book of my own published, I was taken with Atticus’ strong stance on valuing the quality of the writing above all else and how truly eager they are to discover great work, no matter the source. The passion everyone at Atticus has for the written word shines through in everything they do and made me certain that it was something I wanted to be a part of.

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