Alumni Spotlight

Becky Walsh - Editor - Booker Prize nominated novel

14 Aug
Becky Walsh

Becky Walsh is an Assistant Editor at John Murray Publishers, London. Her first acquisition ‘Elmet’ by Fiona Mozley has been long-listed for The Man Booker Prize. Becky talks to us about the friends she made in UCC and how her degree led to a career in publishing.

Course/subjects studied at University College Cork

BA Language and Cultural Studies with French (2006–10). During my first year I studied four subjects: English, French, History and Archaeology. I was never going to be an archaeologist but I really enjoyed that subject. After the first year, I dropped History and Archaeology and continued with English and French. It was a four year course with the third year spent studying abroad in France. I spent my year in Clermont-Ferrand in the Auvergne - it was a great year and I would encourage everyone to consider studying abroad.

Best memory of UCC

I don’t think I have one specific memory but I do remember really enjoying my final year and I have some lovely memories from that time. I had just come back from a year abroad in France where I had really bonded with other UCC students who had also done Erasmus, as well as making friends with people from all around the world. Final year was a lot of fun because of those friendships even if there was a lot of work to get done – there was a real sense of camaraderie especially in the lead up to the exams.

How has your time at UCC helped you to get to where you are now?

I studied English literature as part of my degree and it was while at UCC that I decided to go down the publishing route after I graduated. It gave me a really good grounding for my future career – my degree encouraged me to think analytically and laterally which are both important skills in an editor. I also still use my French as I read and consider most of the French manuscripts that get submitted to us.

What is your advice to current UCC students?

Get involved in everything that you can. Get out there and make friends – they will be your friends for life. Make the most of your time at UCC as it really goes very quickly.

What person/people at UCC had the most positive influence on you?

I had some really great tutors and teachers, especially in my smaller French classes, who were very good at encouraging us. I particularly remember enjoying Patrick Crowley’s postcolonial classes. I also made friends while I was at UCC who I still see regularly – I was quite shy before going to university and they helped me to open up and become more confident.

Were you involved in any Clubs or Societies?

I joined a lot of clubs and societies the first week of university but didn’t attend too many on a regular basis. I used to enjoy being part of the UCC French Society though – they would often show French films and there would be cheese and wine evenings. Canoeing and badminton were also fun. In my final year, I also became a ‘buddy’, looking out for foreign students who were new to UCC. I didn’t fully appreciate at the time all the opportunities that were open to us in terms of the different clubs and societies.

Favourite UCC legend or superstition 

I only know the one about quad but I definitely crossed it before doing my final exams and passed!

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