Studying English at King’s allowed me to choose from a range of modules, empowering me to study the areas of literature that interested me most - such as Old English and its translation, and 17th-century literature - which honed my skills interpreting literary meaning in light of historical context.This has proved of great help in my legal career. Understanding the context of statements when they are difficult or unclear, as well as being able to understand the intricacies of English, are vital skills.
While at King's I also joined a number of extracurricular clubs, such as the KCL Literary Society, Creative Writing Society, History and Economics societies. Writing for journals allowed me to hone my writing skills across different disciplines, which has been hugely helpful in law. Attending events meant I mixed with a wide range of people, building confidence for the working world.
King’s allowed me to pursue my love of literature in many directions. I learned new perspectives on old favourites, fell in love with new fields and developed my commitments to social justice through a number of amazing classes.
The intellectual generosity and pastoral support I received is the model I hope to reproduce in my own research and teaching, as I study for a PhD at the University of Cambridge and plan for a career in the academy. Alongside my studies, however, I am also a successful performance poet.
While still a student, I published my debut poetry collection and performed at venues as varied as Parliament, the Glastonbury Festival and the Royal Albert Hall. Much of the confidence to pursue my work as a poet talking openly about mental health and other social issues comes from the challenging teaching and careful mentoring I received at King’s.
Studying English Literature at King’s allowed me to explore wide areas of history from the Anglo-Saxons through to Jacobean theatre, the Romantics, Second Wave Feminist critical theory and American cinema & popular culture.
The range of approaches we were introduced to, from New Historicism to sociolinguistics, allowed me to develop analytical tools that I use to this day. As a dress historian, the texts I now read and contextualise are clothes rather than literature, but many of my methods remain the same.
For more information about Amber's current projects, visit her personal website.
[ Photograph by Jo Duck ]
When I left King’s I wasn’t sure exactly what I wanted to do, but I knew that whatever it was, it would involve books.
I worked for a year in publishing, but left after deciding I wanted to write a novel. To support myself I got a job bookselling and enjoyed it so much that, after around three years, I set up a shop of my own: Burley Fisher Books. In the meantime, I finished The Chameleon, a novel which is, in many ways, built out of texts that I studied at King’s (I never imagined I would return to Ancrene Wisse!).
Bookselling gives you a view of what is being neglected and underprivileged in the wider trade, so setting up a small press seemed the next logical step. In 2017, along with a friend I met in my first week at King’s, we crowdfunded our first four titles.
I am a writer at VT, a news and entertainment website with a community of over 23 million followers on Facebook, and an editor for the women’s interest website, Four Nine. This is not what I expected to be doing when I graduated King’s a few years ago.
Instead, I first pursed a career in publishing. I soon learned, however, that I was not using the skills that I had most enjoyed developing in my English degree.
And so, after a few sideways steps, including working as a studio production assistant in fashion, I secured my present job as a journalist at Jungle Creations. My day-to-day now involves sourcing, writing and editing stories about anything from Donald Trump’s political blunders to the Kardashian family’s latest stab at ‘breaking the internet.’
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6 November 2019, 13:00
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