Juliet in Publishing by Elizabeth Churchill is a book I’ve added to my collection as an adult and it’s one of my favourite career novels.  I don’t have anything else by Elizabeth Churchill and I don’t know if she wrote more.

As we meet her, Juliet has just arrived in England from Australia and is on the train up to London from Southampton.  Serendipitously, she finds a job as secretary at the Iliad Press, a small but well-known publishing house.  Along with Juliet, the reader is plied with information about the book trade as Juliet moves from post to post.  If the book is to be believed, publishing was at a turning point (Juliet was published in 1956) and the Iliad Press, a small family concern is contrasted with the modern, much more commercial Symmons and Symmons.

Naturally, openings for women were few and far between and were mostly secretarial.  I’m just of a generation that didn’t expect to find discrimination at work although, of course, it was still there but Juliet, who’d have been ages with my mother, lived and moved and had her being in an altogether different world where successful businesswomen were still regarded with suspicion.

1 Comment

  1. Lots of prejudice in publishing in the US when I was in the industry! For one thing, it was practically all white, although HR always said that was a relection of job applicants. There were many rivalries: editorial vs. sales/marketing, hardcover vs. paperback, big publishing house vs. small, independent bookstores vs. chains, anger against the warehouse clubs that can make a book successful but is just as likely to return thousands of copies without warning. And while I did not feel discriminated against as a woman per se, it was amazing how – because there were not a lot of men – their careers always seemed to take off, regardless of skill.

    I do love a good career novel! Both the kind intended for 12 year olds and those that use it as background in adult fiction. Some of those set in publishing are unfortunately quite dull (Bestsller by Olivia Goldsmith got a lot of hype because she put real people in it but I didn’t like it) but my favorite was called Lipstick on His Colla. rhttps://www.goodreads.com/book/show/2022744.Lipstick_on_His_Collar?from_search=true&from_srp=true&qid=OlWKQN8VVb&rank=2

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