Liberal Arts Career Services
Liberal Arts Career Services

Texas Book Festival

Spring 2018

Position: Intern
Student: English Junior

The Texas Book Festival has six main staff members: literary director, communications coordinator, administrative coordinator, executive director, outreach manager, and the development director. Almost each of these positions require interns in the summer and fall. I personally interned for the literary director and communications coordinator (they work closely together) in the spring (I was a guinea pig intern and was the first intern to ever intern for them in the spring).
As for a “Day in the Life,” I did many things for them. My main job was to log any
incoming submissions into the spreadsheets. To be honest, you basically have to manage all
the main master spreadsheets: the submissions, invitations, confirmations, early interests, etc.
So even though I took an MIS class at UT, I never knew how much more I would be
learning in the field. This job is definitely detail-oriented and very self-motivating, as you’re
expected to be independent and proactive. When I wasn’t logging submissions, I would prep
for the committee meetings by printing and labeling all the forms the members would be
looking at. I also worked on research projects such as researching video content and writing
the occasional blog post for the TBF blog. When my main supervisor didn’t have any tasks
for me, I found myself translating some vocabulary words for the outreach manager, looking
for contact information for the development director, or doing some administrative tasks
(such as conducting inventory or measuring posters for possible clients) for the administrative coordinator. I was expected to contribute at least 10 hours a week. In addition to the hours, I sometimes had to table at events such as Michael Pollan’s event at the Long Center or the San Antonio Book Festival.

Fall 2016  

Position: Festival Programming Intern
Student: English Senior

As a festival programming intern, I normally begin my day by logging on to the computer at my small desk and checking my Texas Book Festival email account. The emails that I receive from my supervisors normally tell me what I will be doing that day. For example, they might need spreadsheets made, or the website might need to be updated. Every day is different, and some days they might need more menial tasks to be finished, such as taking packages to the post office or filing documents. Normally, however, I am doing something on the computer related to helping organize event logistics, writing content for the website, making digital forms for events online, and proofreading important documents. I also have to write emails to authors and publishers to go over logistical details about their involvement with the festival. The internship site is in an office building downtown. This provides interns with experience working in an office setting. 

Right before and during the festival, however, the internship is a lot more chaotic. The interns are responsible for picking up authors from the airport, delivering gifts for authors to their hotels, decorating the venues for the festival, dealing with unhappy festival-goers, and basically doing whatever needs to be done at that moment. It is a three day commitment, and there is not really time for a break from Friday morning to Sunday evening (but it is still really fun!). The interns do, however, get to choose what they want to help out with during festival weekend.

Fall 2015 

Position: Programming Intern
Student: English Sophomore

The Texas Book Festival is a nonprofit organization founded in 1995 by Laura Bush with the purpose of celebrating authors and their contributions to the culture of literacy, ideas, and imagination. The festival has evolved into one of the premier literary events in the country and takes place in and around the State Capitol in Austin, hosting about 300 authors each year. More than 40,000 book lovers of all ages attend the Festival annually, enjoying author readings and presentations, panel discussions, book signings, cooking demonstrations, live music, local food, YA authors, children’s activities, and exhibiting vendors from across the state.

With a four person staff, the Texas Book Festival relies heavily on its volunteer and intern base. No two days interning at the Texas Book Festival are ever the same, and that is part of what makes the experience so thrilling. Because of the nature of the festival, there are different priorities for each month. Sometimes you must keep track of book submissions during the early months of the year while during the weeks before the festival date you focus on addressing the concerns of authors who are already confirmed to attend.

Some of my responsibilities included communicating with the Festival’s 300-some authors and their publicists about the various events authors attend during the Festival; writing descriptions of Festival sessions for the Festival’s website; writing thoughtfully about the authors’ books and bios for the Festival’s website; managing one or several of the festival’s special events; working with the Festival’s design firm and PR director; and escorting authors and other VIPs throughout festival grounds.

I formed many close connections with the festival’s staff and with the featured authors and their publicists. As a booklover myself, my experience interning at the Texas Book Festival is something that I will remember and cherish for the rest of my life.

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    University of Texas at Austin
    FAC 18
    2304 Whitis Ave. Stop G6200
    Austin, Texas 78712-1508