"An internship that challenged my own perception of my abilities"
We catch up with fourth-year English student Miriam Hussain as she reflects on her experience as 'Rebel Intern' with the Scottish Book Trust, as part of Book Week Scotland 2018.

What did your placement involve?

Reviewing, proofing and sharing stories submitted to the Secrets and Confessions public campaign, and attending and participating in team and staff meetings.

What were the highlights?

Working alongside creative activists who are all dynamically changing how Scotland view reading and writing, and having the opportunity to work within different teams.

My first day in particular was memorable. I sat in on a meeting where the team was finalising events for Book Week Scotland. I was incredibly touched at how quickly they treated me as their fellow team member, actively seeking my opinion and feedback and listening to my perspective.

Any challenges?

Navigating my dyslexia. I was diagnosed as dyslexic during my first year at university and have difficulty with my spelling, letter formation and the ordering of my ideas. So, an internship that relied heavily on my copy editing and proofreading skills was at first glance rather daunting. However, once I discussed it with Head of Reading Communities, I felt confident to openly use software that helped me through my internship without fear of judgement.

What have you learned from the experience?

Through my placement with Scottish Book Trust I learned that I am more than capable to handle the tasks required of me. Even obtaining the internship was a real boost to my confidence. Knowing that I had been picked out of all the applicants to fulfil the role of Rebel Intern was a big achievement. I learned to not limit myself.

Would you recommend your placement to other students?

Definitely. Take a chance and apply. I had confidence in my cover letter and application but thought I would likely be pipped to the top by students who held more relevant qualifications.

Scottish Book Trust provided me with an avenue of opportunities to gain experiences in all the differing teams. From marketing to social media, there’s plenty of chance to gain insight into the running of a charity and gain skills in the areas of interest. It’s also a great addition to your C.V and the prospect of gaining some great contacts.

What are your plans for the future?

There are so many avenues I want to go down, I find it difficult to filter it down to one thing. What I’m certain of is that I’m passionate about storytelling and intersectionality. I want to create spaces for South Asians narratives.

Anything you’d like to add?

Alongside fellow Napier students in the School of Creative Arts, I participated and won the Creative City Challenge in 2017. This is where I had my first interaction with Scottish Book Trust. It felt like a full circle moment when the following year I was chosen as their Rebel Intern. It pays to put yourself out there and take the opportunities that Edinburgh Napier provide for you.


Miriam is the founder and president of Edinburgh Napier’s Southern Asian Social Society and a student helper at Edinburgh Napier, working at the Merchiston Campus Library, Jack Kilby Computing Centre, and as a Social Media Ambassador.