Aliya Gulamani, Project and Communications Assistant
Aliya Gulamani is a Project and Communications Assistant at Spread the Word, London’s writer development agency. She loves having the opportunity to discover and nurture new writing talent, and working to improve accessibility and representation in the sector.
I’m originally from North London, though I’ve now moved to Brixton and work in Deptford.
What job do you do?
I’m a Project and Communications Assistant at Spread the Word, London’s writer development agency.
What qualifications do you have?
I have a BA in English and Drama and a MA in Creative and Life Writing, both from Goldsmiths College.
How did you become a Project and Communications Assistant?
I think that having such a varied employment history enabled me to develop a broad skill set across different fields - in administration, communications, marketing and project management that were all essential for this role. That, alongside a shared ambition for Spread the Word’s mission statement to boost opportunities for writers.
What do you do for your job?
On a day-to-day basis I support the running of our various projects, facilitate our communications and marketing outreach, oversee office administration and work closely with our managers in developing our programme. More recently, I managed PLATFORM, our new artist development scheme, which was a brilliant experience.
What is the best thing about your job?
There’s so much I enjoy about my job but if I had to pick, it would be the excitement I get when I read or see brilliant new writing – the kind that stops you in your tracks. I’m constantly surprised and excited by the talent out there.
And the worst thing?
For me, it’s sending rejection emails to aspiring writers – as someone who is interested in writing myself, I understand how hard it can be to get these responses. On the other side, it’s really nice to be able to offer opportunities to selected writers. So it works both ways.
How do I get into your field?
The top tips I have to share with people interested in a similar sort of role or in working in the literary/Arts sector are:
Be interested – When I started interviewing for jobs in the literary sector, it helped that I knew faces already from attending events in my own time. Not only does this break the ice, but it also emphasises genuine interest in the Arts.
Be aware – As a profoundly Deaf woman of colour, I’m very aware of the politics within (and beyond) the publishing sector – which has been a really useful talking point in my interviews, alongside a real understanding on access, equality and representation.
Engage with others – Network, network, network. The most rewarding aspect of my job is meeting new people, sharing ideas and constantly being amazed by the talent that London has to offer – of which I can see there is absolutely tons of it.
Actively seek out career role models – I’m a believer in developing your career as you go along, but my path from University to where I am now (and will go next) has been significantly shaped by individuals I’ve met. Seek out professional role models and if you can, engage with them. Everyone started somewhere after all.