This year’s Trailblazers are an array of professionals who prove that the future of publishing is bright. We’ve interviewed this year’s winners so that you can get to know them. Up first is Taliha Quadri.
Taliha Quadri is a copyeditor and proofreader with an interest in commercial fiction and select non-fiction (memoir, technology). She holds a Professional membership with the Chartered Institute of Editing and Proofreading.
Taliha is one of the co-founders of The Selkie Publications CIC, an online literary magazine for underrepresented voices. Recently, she was part of the Luton Creative Leaders programme, focusing on literature and publishing, and was an events officer for the Society of Young Publishers, UK.
Outside of ‘booky’ things, she enjoys suffocating her cats with love, coding, failing at yoga, painting and learning new things.
What did it mean to win an LBF Trailblazer Award?
I was surprised when I found out I was shortlisted, let alone a winner! I recognised a lot of the names on the list and thought they were all really impressive people doing amazing trailblaze-y things. It was surreal to see myself there, and I didn’t expect to win the award at all. It means a lot to be recognised alongside such an inspirational line-up of Trailblazers.
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Tell us what you do in 20 words.
I’m a freelance copyeditor and proofreader. Honestly, I spend most of my time losing sleep over commas.
What was your first job in the book industry?
I was a publishing assistant/intern at Anthem Press during my university placement year. I worked on different projects across departments: one day, I was helping editorial with proofreading, and the next, I was supporting marketing with research. The role helped me get an overview of how publishing works and what each department does.
What is the one piece of advice you’d give to someone starting in publishing today?
Probably the obvious: don’t sleep on social media. It’s easier to gauge what’s what and who’s who when you’re a part of the online industry bubble(s).
It can be a great tool for networking and staying on top of the latest news and hot topics. Just make sure you take frequent breaks off it too.
It’s easy to think using platforms like Twitter, Instagram and TikTok isn’t work, but when you’re using them to immerse yourself in the book world and engage in discussions about publishing, you aren’t letting yourself switch out of work mode. A recipe for disaster, that.
In life, what guides you?
Nothing exciting or profound, unfortunately! I just try to be kind to others and myself. I don’t get it right every time, but it’s something I work towards every day.
What was the last book you read, and where did you buy it?
Zazi Finds Plantain by Ogaga Emuveyan and Asma Aden Mohamed – I got it for my niece. It’s a lovely children’s rhyme book about a girl who goes to the market with her dad to find some plantain for dinner. I ordered it from the publisher’s website (Formy Books).
What’s next on your reading list?
Which is your favourite bookshop or e-bookstore, and why?
Lighthouse Bookshop in Edinburgh is my favourite of all time. It’s a cute and cosy little space and, best of all, there’s a bookshop doggo!
What would be the title of your autobiography?
Read Something Else
What was your favourite book when you were a child?
Peter Pan. I was obsessed.
Read more Trailblazer Awards 5-minute interviews.