Alumni News | Hannah Koerner fills her NYC apartment and career with books

Hannah Koerner ’17BA, an alumnus of Ohio University, interned at two publishing houses as a student. Now she is living her dream by working for a book publisher in New York.

“In college, I got all the publishing-related experience I could through internships at OHIO and summer internships in New York, and then I took the Columbia Publishing Course the summer after I graduated,” Koerner says of his journey to publishing.

“My first job was in the contracts department of a large publisher, where I negotiated author deals for a few years before realizing I wanted to work more directly with books. So I joined the contract department. subsidiary rights, where I work to sell the underlying rights to a title – translation rights to international publishers, book club rights to companies like Book of the Month, large print rights, audio rights and sometimes even film or television rights,” she said.

Hannah Koerner in a cafe in New York
Hannah Koerner in a cafe in New York

In her role as Associate Director of Subsidiary Rights at Hachette Book Group, Koerner was able to accomplish what she describes as her greatest professional achievement to date.

“One of my goals for 2021 was to connect with more independent publishers in countries where LGBTQ+ children’s fiction is not typically published,” Koerner said. “Often independent publishers can be more willing to take a risk with ‘controversial’ books they believe in! to a Russian publisher, which was unprecedented for It’s a real joy to make important books available to a wider audience and to connect with people around the world who do this work.

“I love sharing my enthusiasm for books, so connecting with other readers and imagining new possibilities for great stories is a dream!” she added.

Hannah Koerner in New York
Hannah Koerner, lives and works in New York

Q&A with Hannah Koerner

Q: What path did you follow to get to where you are today?

A: In college, I got all the publishing-related experience I could through internships at OHIO and summer internships in New York, and then took the Columbia Publishing Course the summer after I graduated. My first job was in the contracts department of a major publisher, where I negotiated author deals for a few years before realizing I wanted to work more directly with books. I moved into the subsidiary rights (“sub-rights”) department, where I work to sell the rights underlying a title: translation rights to international publishers, book club rights to companies like Le livre du months, large print rights, audio rights and sometimes even film/TV rights. I love sharing my enthusiasm for books, so connecting with other readers and imagining new possibilities for great stories is a dream!

Hannah Koerner spent a summer as an intern at publishers Melville House.
Hannah Koerner spent a summer as an intern at publishers Melville House.

Q: What was your major/degree, and are there any minors or certificates?

A: I majored in English through the Honors Tutorial College. I didn’t have a minor or a certificate, but I want to thank the Women’s, Gender, and Sexuality Studies program! I have taken many courses through WGSS and found incredible mentorship and inspiration there.

Hannah Koerner interned at The Ohio University Press.
Hannah Koerner interned at The Ohio University Press.

Q: Who were your favorite teachers and how have they impacted your life?

A: Dr. Carey Snyder inspired my love for modernist fiction and introduced me to almost all of my favorite books during my first two years at OHIO. It’s thanks to her classes that I have an entire shelf in my small apartment in New York reserved for Virginia Woolf books! And I could never approach Ulysses without her.

Dr. Julie White taught me by example how to stay curious, critical, and enthusiastic about so many areas of life that I never expected. I think about his seminar on the politics of friendship all the time still years later.

Dr. Eric LeMay tirelessly encouraged me to get out of my comfort zone and experiment creatively (two things I’m very resistant to!), and it’s made me an infinitely better fiction writer.

I had the opportunity to study abroad in London through a program led by Dr. Joe McLaughlin, where I learned a lot about how to appreciate literature by discovering places, visiting museums and simply engaging in a more tangible and unstructured way with art.

Q: Do you still keep in touch with one of your teachers?

A: Fortunately, yes. And I plan to continue as long as they let me clutter their inboxes!

Q: What was your ah-ha moment in OHIO – that moment when you were like, “I’ve got this! »?

A: I remember a morning reading New Ohio Review submissions and proofreading of the next issue where I thought not only is this exactly how I want to spend my time, but I can actually do it. I worked for NEITHER as an intern my senior year and Dr. Dave Wanczyk, the editor, imparted to me a wealth of editorial skills that I was lucky enough to take with me into the publishing world!

Q: What was the toughest hill to climb (not counting Jeff Hill) in OHIO? And how did you overcome any challenges or obstacles on your way?

A: Honestly, time management was a big challenge! There were so many courses I wanted to take and so many opportunities to do meaningful work outside of the classroom. I decided to try as many things as possible in my first two years and then really ask myself what made me feel fulfilled creatively or academically. It wasn’t always what I expected, but I never regretted using it as a metric for where to focus my time!

Q: What are your favorite memories from OHIO?

A: The Spring Literary Festival every year! I still can’t believe I met Kelly Link, Colm Tóibín and Dorothy Allison, among others. What a wealth of incredible writers to discover. (And yes, I’m very jealous of everyone who saw Lauren Groff at the 2022 festival!)

Q: What is one thing you would say to a new OHIO student not to miss?

A: In no particular order: interesting courses outside of your major; the aforementioned Spring Literary Festival (even if you have a lot of homework that night!); the cherry blossoms near the Convocation Center in the spring; Casa Nueva brunch; the Nelsonville Music Festival in the summer; hike to Strouds Run; the Papaya Festival; learn about Appalachian literature and activism; longer-term, focused research projects (I didn’t quite appreciate how rare it is to have the time and support to pursue these!).