Literature and Publishing Courses

By Mariza Halliday - Last update

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What are Literature and Publishing?

Literature is defined by any work of art made up of words. Usually, literature is written but some literature may have been passed on by word of mouth. Literature is any well-written work such as poetry, prose, plays, or novels.

To publish means to make information and literature available to the public for viewing. Publishing is the process of producing and distributing literature to the public and traditionally means printing newspapers and books on paper but has since evolved to include digital works as well.

Publishers have the job of delivering content that will appeal to their target audience and sell well. This can mean sifting through lots of unsuitable submissions from authors, musicians, agents to find viable material that they think will do well. Once all of the details of contracts and payments have been negotiated the work can be published and distributed to wholesalers or individual stockists if appropriate.

What 3rd level courses are available?

Universities and colleges in Ireland are offering Literature and Publishing courses in the following subject areas:

  • English Literature Appreciation – Gain insight and knowledge into the study of great works of literature.
  • Modern English Literature – The study of English literature and contemporary critical theory.
  • MA in Children’s and Young Adult Literature – The study and appreciation of children’s and young adult literature.
  • Irish Literature: From Yeats to McKeon – An introduction to critically reading some of Irelands best literature with reflection on the poetic technique in poetry and prose.
  • Irish Literature: From Plunkett to Rooney – An introduction to critically reading some of Ireland’s best-known literature in the context of a progressing Ireland.
  • Diploma in Literature and Creative Writing – Gain the knowledge and skills to earn a diploma in literature and creative writing.
  • MA In Literature – The study of the written word and an in-depth look into what makes great Literature
  • Approaching Literature – An introduction to studying literature, fiction, poetry, and drama and the meaning of texts.

Studying Literature and Publishing in college

Many Literature and Publishing courses take place over 1 year to 4 years depending on the course and modules selected. There are also part-time courses and night courses available so you can be sure to fit in your studies no matter what your schedule is like.

Courses will cover all theory work through lectures, assignments, tutorials, and taught modules. Assessments will take place continuously with written examinations and practical assignments combined to achieve a qualification.

You could also consider work experience or internship to allow you to discover what it’s like to work for a publishing house and if the career is for you. Work Experience will not only allow you to obtain a deeper knowledge and understanding of the industry, but it will also give you a chance to do some essential networking with other industry professionals and gain valuable contacts for the future. With any work experience make sure you get the most out of your time with a team by asking specific questions about their work, requesting experience in other aspects of their role, putting yourself forward to help out with a specific project, or asking to be introduced to colleagues in other departments.

Career options

After completing a course in Literature and Publishing you will be able to get started in a career that uses specific knowledge of clinical trials and research.

Most publishers work in an office environment and working hours will generally be within set business hours. The hours are usually full-time, Monday to Friday. You should expect to work some evenings, although weekend or shift work is uncommon.

Roles vary depending on the type of publishing and the department you work in, and while pay is reasonable you won’t find top-level salaries in publishing, so you’ll need a genuine love of what you do. Digital publishing is also a growing field, especially in academic, educational, and STM publishing.

Opportunities differ depending on whether you work for a large or small publisher. Each has good and bad points. For example, the chance to meet and work alongside high-profile authors is more likely at bigger, well-known publishing houses, while access and exposure to other departments and experienced colleagues is more likely in smaller publishers.

Related jobs include:

  • Writer
  • Publishing copy-editor
  • Proof-reader
  • Digital copywriter
  • Editorial assistant
  • English as a foreign language teacher
  • Lexicographer
  • Magazine journalist
  • Newspaper journalist
  • Private tutor
  • Secondary school teacher
  • Web content manager
  • Academic librarian
  • Advertising copywriter
  • Archivist
  • Arts administrator
  • Education consultant
  • Information officer
  • Learning mentor
  • Marketing executive
  • Media researcher
  • Primary school teacher
  • Public relations officer
  • Records manager
  • Social media manager

Further study

After completing a course in Literature and Publishing you may choose to pursue further study in a specialist field to increase your knowledge base and skillset. Postgraduate study can also be used as a means to change career focus or to gain professional qualifications required to practice in certain career areas such as English language and literary studies, creative writing, Victorian, fantasy or medieval literature, or linguistics.

Or you may choose to study in areas such as teaching, journalism, librarianship, or the law. English graduates may decide to undertake further study in areas such as marketing and management, finance, human resource management, and business to enhance their knowledge of a specific career area.


What skills are important for a course in literature or publishing?

The ability to communicate effectively, both orally and in writing is very important.

You should also be able to work independently and manage your time well. Being organized and well researched with a good plan makes all the difference in success.

Leading and participating in discussions and articulating knowledge and an understanding of texts and theories will set you apart from the rest.

Is there anything I can do to increase my chance of a successful career in literature?

·         Do your research – not just of the company you’d like to work for, but also the authors it publishes, its competitors, and the wider publishing industry.

·         Sharpen your literacy skills – Knowledge of spelling, punctuation, and grammar are crucial in this industry.

·         Target your applications – Always make sure to start your cover letters from scratch and personalize them to the company you are applying to. A copy and paste letter are easy to spot from a mile away.

Where can I study Literature and Publishing?

Explore your options here

Did You Know?

· “I am.” is the shortest complete sentence in the English language.

· Lewis Carroll’s book ‘Alice in Wonderland was banned in China as the book suggests animals can talk and write just like humans, which according to the governor of Hunan, China is “disastrous”.

· The sentence “The quick brown fox jumps over the lazy dog.” uses every letter in the alphabet.

· There are only four words in the English language which end in ‘dous’: tremendous, horrendous, stupendous, and hazardous.

· Roald Dahl, the author of Charlie and the Chocolate factory tested chocolates for Cadbury’s while he was at school.

Mariza Halliday

Translation Studies Courses
Deaf Studies


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