Amy Elizabeth Bishop Personal Essay

There are a few home videos from the early 90s that show me flat out on my stomach, chubby fingers turning the pages of a book I couldn’t even read yet. I was engrossed, I think, mostly by the big red dots at the beginning and end of the book, but the sentiment is there: I’ve always been a reader. As a kid, I would religiously go to the library every weekend, pile about 10 or 15 books in my little L.L. Bean bag, go home, and sit on the couch, tearing through them until my mother demanded I go outside and “get some fresh air.” By middle school, I could also usually wheedle the school librarians into allowing me to check out more than the five book minimum allowed.

As an English major in college, I got to keep reading–everything from strange old books like Against Nature, by Joris-Karl Huysmans, to diverse authors like Octavia Butler and Mat Johnson. I also got to learn about craft–how to shape a story, the arc of a good character, and how to read with an editorial eye. This all catapulted me into the search for a job that would let me keep reading, editing, and surrounding myself with people who loved books. Publishing seemed like the obvious choice and once I learned about literary agencies, I knew it was where I belonged. It’s thrilling to be a part of the many steps that bring a book to life and into the public world.