By Riley Jane McLaughlin
Contributor to The Underground
On Tuesday, February 13th, in Arts & Letters Hall at 6:30 pm, Chicago Women In Publishing hosted a mentorship night for DePaul students. The three panelists—Jeff Fleischer, Marian Mangoubi, and Kristen Raddatz—discussed their individual career journeys and what it is like to work in the writing, publishing, and editing realms in Chicago today. The floor was also open for any questions the students had regarding careers in those fields and the best way to start preparing for success.
Jeff Fleischer discussed how he began his career writing for newspapers. Fleischer ran his college newspaper at Indiana University, and then ran a local newspaper in a rural town in Indiana. After coming to Chicago, he began to write for magazines and publications before receiving fellowship to go to New Zealand for a year, where he was able to write on current issues such as climate change, among other topics. After coming back and bouncing around freelance writing and editing jobs, he took a day job working forty hours a week. Outside of this, he published his first nonfiction book in 2011, and then wrote his first fiction book in 2013.
Marian Mangoubi grew up editing medical texts with her mom as a young girl. She got more into creative writing after taking a screenwriting class, and it inspired her to begin a career in freelance writing. While Mangoubi identifies the hardships of doing freelance writing as a full-time job and making a living out of it, she informs her listeners that she has a spouse who also has an income, which allows her the ability to do freelance writing for her career. During the summer, Mangoubi also teaches creative writing at a camp for young girls.
Kristen Raddatz graduated from Wesleyan University about five years ago. She realized her sophomore year that she wanted to be a publisher, and soon began networking with alums during her junior and senior years, after discovering her interest in marketing. Thanks to the connections she made during her internship at an academic magazine, Raddatz was able to get a publicity assistant position at the University of Chicago Press. She’s been promoted a few times since then, still working in publicity at UChicago. As a creative outlet, Raddatz volunteers as the executive editor at Review Books.
Overall, the advice that the panelists offered to the eager students was that networking is essential for success in writing, publishing, or editing, as it allows them to make the crucial connections they need in order to get opportunities and interviews in their field. Also, the panelists offered insights on the difficulties that are very apparent for these careers—they can be unreliable and scary at times. However, they each encouraged students to stick with it if they are truly passionate about writing or publishing.