November 7, 2019, by Postgraduate Placements Nottingham

Interning at the Buxton International Festival

This week we hear from Shakshi Singh about her Graduate School PPN placement at Buxton International Festival.

Shakshi SinghI distinctly remember the day I received a call from the outreach officer at the Buxton International Festival, informing me that I had not been selected for the position I had recently interviewed for. I was about to have the saddest walk home in my entire life when she rang back to tell me that they had created a new position for me in the team. I was employed as a ‘Book Intern’ for the Buxton International Festival. For a 20-year old literature student, this was a dream job and it turned out to be even more adventurous than I thought it would be.

In only a couple of weeks I was introduced to a bandwagon of the brightest and most artistic minds I have ever met. The team at BIF is a collective of individuals who are masters in their fields, each day in the office feels like well-choreographed opera performance where everybody moves in sync with each other. The office had an environment that helped me push my boundaries and be the most productive I could be each day. Moreover, each member graciously offered me their knowledge and skills to help me learn and deliver my work efficiently.

In the five months of working for BIF, I inhaled knowledge and ideas like air. Victoria Dawson, the Book Festival Director and my boss, was a delight to work for. Every week we drove down to the office together talking about everything under the sun and believe me when I say that each conversation can be made into really entertaining individual podcasts. During my time at BIF, I rolled into closing train doors, mastered the art of spreadsheet making, stole flowers from a church garden, and devoured the best reads of all my life with her. I named her James Bond for her ability to execute mighty tasks with unbelievable panache. In turn, I was made the PA to James Bond which in my opinion is an excellent job title for a twenty-year old.

“… the most rewarding experience of my life”

I shifted to Buxton for a month during the festival where I lived the best time of my life. I got an opportunity to meet and work with authors from around the country. I was mesmerised each day with the people I met and the events I helped organise. The BIF team even gave me a chance to present a cookery demonstration on stage with Masterchef winner, Saliha Mahmood Ahmed, and I got a chance to work with Kate Humble while she delivered her talk during the festival. The Buxton International Festival team showed great confidence and trust in my abilities and elevated my title to ‘Book Festival Assistant’ which further pushed me to expand my skill set and learn as much as I possibly could. I not only polished my skills but also renewed my faith in the literary world I wish to pursue for the rest of my life.

Working for the Buxton International Festival was the most rewarding experience of my life and I can confidently say that apart from professional accomplishments, it packs a lifetime of stories I will keep recounting no matter where I go next.

A version of this blog was originally published at

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