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Columbia Publishing Course 2015 Super-Grad

Editor’s note: This article was originally posted on our parent site, Publishing Trends.

It’s that time again! This year’s Columbia Publishing Course (formerly the Radcliffe Publishing Course) Graduates are an impressive bunch. As is our yearly tradition, we’ve culled the most remarkable and curious tidbits from the students’ biography to create one supernaturally talented candidate. With the exception of some connecting phrases, the words are the students’ own.


This year’s Typical Columbia Publishing Course Grad, let’s call her Genevieve, was born an accidental Canadian on her sister’s seventh birthday. She was named after a British girl who believed herself to be a dog. She grew up in a small town in Hometown, USA, but spent most of her youth pretending to be in Middle Earth, slaying orcs in live action role-playing games. Her first break in publishing came at the age of ten when she won a caption contest in Nickelodeon magazine. Genevieve has been playing guitar in various rock and heavy metal bands since she was eleven years old, and has been collecting theatre posters and Playbills since the age of 12.

In college, she was known as the opera-singing rugby player. Genevieve spent her days attending Jamaica Kincaid’s and Mary Gaitskill’s fiction workshops. During semesters abroad, she studied Jonathan Swift’s manuscripts at the Bodleian Library to determine if marks were commas or blotches, and excavated plague skeletons in Ireland. She published a study on the linguistics of college dating and cofounded an organization modeled after TED Talks. Her April Fools’ Day article “Nutella To Be Discontinued By The End Of 2015, Hearts Break Worldwide” captivated readers and grossed over one million views. To prove her commitment to paper, she once refused to download known doorstopper The Luminaries and instead carried it with her, in brick form, in a backpack around India.

After graduation, she became stage manager for a film production company and manager of the drummer-themed app launched by Chad Smith of the Red Hot Chili Peppers. Genevieve, a woman of many talents, has also been a miniature train conductor, a beekeeper, and has sold books at Garrison Keillor’s bookstore. She tackled Mount Kilimanjaro and a 500-mile hike across Spain and was once evacuated from Beirut when the government there collapsed. At the White House, she analyzed constituent mail addressed to the president.

An equal opportunity reader, Genevieve is just as likely to pick up a Janet Evanovich novel as the latest Kazuo Ishiguro. She has a voracious appetite for food, and is a Yelp Elite. She keeps a word/phrase notebook as well as a “lookbook” full of aesthetic inspiration. She is fluent in Spanish, confident in Chinese, and prone to buying purses based on whether or not she can fit a book in them. Currently, she is learning to bind books and hopes to have a homemade collection of her own writing one day.

Genevieve ended six months backpacking around the Americas to attend the Columbia Publishing Course. She hopes to pursue a career in book publishing so she can give back to the literary community that has been like a second family to her over the years. She wants to edit heartbreaking works of staggering genius, to borrow a phrase from Dave Eggers.


To find out more about seeing participants’ resumes (or to read the real biographies) please contact Columbia Publishing Course Assistant Director, Stephanie Chan at (212) 854-9775 or swc37 at Columbia dot edu.

New York’s other major summer publishing course, New York University’s Summer Publishing Institute, celebrated its 37th year this summer. To learn more about NYU’s eligible grads or about the program, contact Executive Director Andrea Chambers at (212) 992-3226 or andrea.chambers at nyu dot edu.

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