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Q & A with Alex Christodoulou

Alex Christodoulou has been part of the SUP team from February to April 2021. He will soon complete the Master of Publishing at Sydney University, and is eager to see more diverse voices in Australian print.

A young man with brown hair, wearing a white shirt looking at the camera, with greenery in the background.

What have you been working on at SUP?

A bit of everything really, but mainly jobs within editorial and marketing. I’ve been working on unpublished manuscripts, sometimes proofreading or editing, other times reading them and providing my feedback about the overall structure. I’ve also done a bit of promotional work, writing blog posts, composing author Q&A questions, and helping identify book quotes to attract potential readers. What else? I wrote a media release, came up with potential book titles and blurbs, and even helped move boxes of books around – who would’ve thought!

What has been the best part of the role? How about the most challenging?

I’ve learnt so much in my short time here, so I’d have to put that down as the best part. Not just new skills, but all the fascinating information contained in each of the SUP titles I worked on. Now I’ve got a sound knowledge of so many topics that I wouldn’t have given a second thought before starting this internship.

I’ve found making editorial decisions while proofreading and copyediting to be the biggest challenge. Sometimes a sentence is grammatical and has nothing necessarily wrong with it, but you still don’t like the way it sounds. It’s a fine balance to respect the author’s words, while at the same time ensuring clarity of expression for the reader.  

Has anything surprised you about SUP/scholarly publishing?

I suppose I had a bit of a preconceived idea that scholarly publishing would be old-fashioned and conservative. While I can only speak from my experience at SUP, I’ve found that it’s a very modern and forward-thinking press, both in terms of the books they publish but also in the ways that their content can be accessed.

What skills have you used most during your internship?

While nearly everything I’ve done has involved reading or writing, I’d say it was my communication skills that I had to draw on most. Everyone at the press has so many jobs going on at once and having to organise and communicate where you’re at is crucial. Plus being able to communicate effectively is key when writing and deciding what to edit.   

What was your dream job when you were 12? What is your dream job now?

I’ve repressed most memories of my 12-year-old self, but I do remember wanting to work at KFC when I was six or seven, thinking it would provide me with an endless supply of free fried chicken. I was pretty chubby back then.

My dream job now is anything that involves words, and hopefully something that helps make a positive or meaningful difference to society.

You have to take a week-long road trip with a fictional or historical character. Who do you choose and why?

Definitely someone normal if I’m going to spend a whole week with them. Maybe Toru Okada from The Wind-Up Bird Chronicle. We could talk about our shared love of music and pasta (provided I brush up on my Japanese). I also think we’d be able to go for long stretches without talking to each other, and it wouldn’t be awkward. He spends most of his time sitting at the bottom of a well anyway, so I doubt he’ll mind if I don’t talk to him for a few hours or so.   

What are you planning to do next?

It’s almost lunch time so I’m planning to go for a walk to Broadway and see what the food court has to offer. Maybe it was the memory of KFC, but I feel like something unhealthy.