An aspiring writer, who is aiming to pursue a career in publishing and editing, will represent the British Library at the internationally acclaimed London Book Fair. Florence Hall, a talented Year 12 English student at Richmond Sixth Form College, was offered the tremendous opportunity after impressing Rebecca Nuotio, Publishing Manager of the British Library, with her passion for books and the publishing industry.

Seventeen-year-old Florence is overjoyed and is looking forward to being a representative for the renowned British Library, saying: “This is an incredible honour and opportunity and will provide me with specific experience in the publishing world.  Rebecca stressed the need for experience and how much it is valued by employers, whether that be an internship, working in a bookshop or volunteering, it is all beneficial.”

Florence is already building up a portfolio of experience and loves working as a volunteer in the book room at Oxfam, in Richmond.  Part of her role involves sorting through the donations, from which she is learning more about which books sell and which ones don’t, how to recognise first editions and first prints, as well as contributing to her community, especially in these difficult times. Although Florence volunteers alongside someone else, she is given a fair amount of responsibility and scope over the book room, which encourages her to think particularly about its presentation in conjunction with what she thinks would be the best books to sell.

Florence’s experience at Oxfam, which in fact started two years ago during her Year 10 school work experience placement, has prompted her to write poetry. This has helped her to gain a particular perspective and a much greater appreciation of poetry. Florence is studying A-levels in English Language, English Literature, Mathematics and Classics and hopes to read English literature at Durham or at an Oxbridge University. As well as being an accomplished writer, Florence is also an extremely talented musician where her creativity is most evident through her stunning vocals and proficient guitar playing.

Miss Weston, Lead Teacher for English, said: “I am delighted that Florence has been given such a fantastic opportunity – this is in no doubt down to her passion and enthusiasm for English Literature and her commitment to pursuing her goal of working in publishing. Florence is one of the most well-read A-level students I have taught; her intelligent, critical observations about her reading and her willingness to engage in debate and discussion about the subject beyond the A-level syllabus, are attributes that will take her far.”

In addition to being invited to represent the British Library, Florence has also been offered the opportunity of a Zoom meeting with Bloomsbury, a leading publisher.  Alongside her work at Oxfam and her connection with the British Library, Florence is now very focused on her future career in publishing and is building a more defined idea of what field she may be able to go into.

Ms Mannion, Careers Leader added: “Not many students come to see me with the latest Booker Prize winning novel in their hand, so I knew that Florence was serious about literature! What has impressed me most is how Florence seizes opportunities, such as the online meeting with The British Library. I attended the Zoom meet with Florence in case she needed my support, however she was so planned and organised with her questions and she gave the meeting its structure. She had such a positive impact and it was no surprise when she was asked to attend the London Book Fair with the team.”

Florence concluded: “I find the world of publishing and editing quite enticing, as I think it would be so gratifying to work closely with authors. My discussion with Rebecca at the British Library has given me a lot to think about, as well as more determination to find a career I enjoy. I am hugely grateful to Ms Mannion, Careers Leader, who made the amazing introduction with the British Library and to Mr Tait, of the Areté Learning Trust, for his support in setting up the meeting with Bloomsbury.

“Although I look forward to my future and time at university, I do love being at Sixth Form, as I find that I am able to constantly expand my knowledge around literature and I feel that I have already learned so much from my wonderful English Literature teachers, Miss Weston and Mrs Wand.”

The London Book Fair takes place at Olympia from 29th June to 1st July www.londonbookfair.co.uk/en-gb.html