Humans of the English Department: Hailey Bibbee

Monday, 24 April 2017

Humans of the English Department: Hailey BibbeeHailey Bibbee is the definition of a bibliophile. Her past, present,…

Posted by English Department at Marshall University on Monday, April 24, 2017


Hailey Bibbee is a bibliophile, past, present, and future all filled with books—reading, writing, and creating them.

She’s an only child from Parkersburg, WV who spent every summer with her grandparents. “My grandmother was a giant bookworm—it’s how we spent time together, baking and reading. And I would build birdhouses or work in the garden with my grandpa. I’m from a quiet family—when we’re reading, the other members of the family know to leave us alone. ‘Hey Hailey, come set the table—oh, you’re reading, never mind!’ Reading time is reverent, holy. I guess you could say I was primed to be a Creative Writing major!”

Hailey is a senior in Marshall University’s Creative Writing program, minoring in History (with particular interests in 20th Century and American histories) and trying to decide whether to pursue a political science minor, or a double-major in Literature. “I considered going to Wesleyan, but Marshall was closer to home. I knew people from high school who were going there, and my Dad was an alumnus. He always wanted me to go to Marshall’s Medical School and become a doctor. But I didn’t. So I went to Ohio University, in Athens. But I didn’t really feel connected. I finally decided to come to Marshall because the faculty were so helpful, so personal.”

“I always knew I wanted to go into writing, ever since I got into a young adult series in middle school. I’m not going to say what it was, because it’s embarrassing! But because of that series, I knew I wanted to write YA and inspire other kids to want to write. I want to bring credibility to the genre of Young Adult Fiction. I want to focus on the ‘adult’ of ‘Young Adult.’”

This semester, Hailey’s been working with John Patrick Grace at Publishers Place in Huntington, as part of an English Department internship. Publishers Place is a local, not-for-profit publishing house dedicated to publishing the work of local authors—like Dwight Harshbarger and the anthology Wild Sweet Notes. The aim is to promote local creativity. With her internship, Hailey gets to keep in contact with authors on the progress of their books, learn to type set, and to market the published works—to get stores to sell the books, journals to review the books, and libraries to accept them.

Hailey says this internship has really helped her focus on her own future: “I thought I wanted to do both, write and publish. This internship has helped me keep my plans in perspective. I’ve realized I’ve gotta choose whether to edit or write, because it’ll be hard to do both—I’ll burn out. I’m also thinking about teaching: then I can do both—write, and freelance edit. I’m learning I can do all the things, just not at the same time.”

“With this internship, I’ve learned the value of compromising: I’ve learned to compromise with authors, and be patient with compromising. I’ve learned to listen.”

“I definitely think others would benefit from an internship like this. You learn how hard the publishing business is. These internships ground you—it makes you keep your plans realistic; it helps you narrow down your choices for the future. It also gives a better appreciation for the publishing process, and for books themselves.”