When I left university I spent the summer mainly eating peanut butter and coming up with grandiose titles for my possible novel (Recompense was a particular favourite). But nowadays these kids have drive and ambition right off the bat and they’re ready to get up and get on asap, and so we’re delighted to welcome our shiny new intern Anya Lawrence, who’s joined us straight from Cardiff University’s excellent journalism school. Here’s her introducing herself in her own words, touching on coffees, cafes and the difficulties of negotiating south east Asian borders with would-be rudeboys…
How do you explain what you do to your parents?
Something along the lines of exploring my way around London, writing about things I love and meeting some nice people along the way. Coming from a village right in the thick of the countryside, journalism there doesn’t tend to stretch much further than tales of cats getting themselves stuck up trees so the suggestion of writing all day about art is enough to keep my mum both happy and intrigued.
Who do you look like?
Currently I am donning a curly hair bob, I thought this may make me look semi-professional and maybe a little older than my baby face may suggest but instead I am told I look like a spaniel. Failing that I look like my mum, she tells me this is incredibly fortunate but I am yet to be convinced.
Did your education count?
Absolutely. I studied journalism in Cardiff and I learnt a lot along the way. I didn’t know what exactly I wanted to do when I started out as a bright-eyed and bushy-tailed 19 year-old and somehow three years of library sessions, late-night writing and one or two wise lecturers later I ended up here. I’m still bright-eyed and bushy-tailed but miraculously I am no longer entirely unsure of what I want to do.
What’s the best mistake you have ever made?
I’d like to say it was something really daring that changed my life in ways that I never imagined possible but instead it was probably just taking a wrong turn (this happens often) and discovering a really nice cafe at the end of the road that sells wonderful cakes.
“A smile goes a long way, worrying about stray crumbs is a waste of time and a coffee always helps every situation.”
When did you realise that this is what you were good at?
I am not sure that I have completely realised just yet, but hopefully I am on my way to getting there. I fell in love with writing a long time ago and for now I hope that is good enough. I think if you love something enough you can eventually become good at it.
What rules do you live by?
A smile goes a long way, worrying about stray crumbs is a waste of time and a coffee always helps every situation.
What makes your day?
A little bit of old fashioned chivalry goes a long way – somebody holding the door open for me or a smile on the bus to work is nice. A granny smith apple is pretty good too.
What did you want to be when you were growing up?
A cereal-making air hostess. It may seem like a strange combination but I really liked cereal at the time and I suppose for a six year-old combining this with flying seemed an exciting yet completely reasonable career path. Unfortunately my hopes were dashed when I took my first flight and not a single bowl of cereal was in sight.
What one thing would you like to be remembered by/for?
That despite my imperfections and my scattiness I ended up doing something just a tiny bit great. I’m not quite sure what great is quite yet, it could be writing something really wonderful or it could just be finally mastering how to roll my tongue or doing a dance routine to Steps really really well.
What’s your favourite combination?
Rather simply, salt and vinegar crisps and chocolate.
What’s the funniest thing you have EVER seen?
Attempting to cross a border between Thailand and Cambodia with a charismatic rap star wannabe. After discovering he’d lost his camera he proceeded to shout and swear (in his rap lingo) his way through the crossing despite the notorious no-nonsense, gun clad security.
The whole hour-long experience was hilarious if slightly unnerving but the highlight has to be him ‘pound-hugging’ a tiny Cambodian security guard with such enthusiasm that he lifted him off of his feet. Needless to say his camera was finally returned.