You’ve read our classics, such as Viktor Frankl’s Man’s Search for Meaning, Octavia Butler’s Kindred, the work of Martin Luther King, Jr., and James Baldwin’s Notes of a Native Son; and many of you know our current list, featuring books by Cornel West, Lani Guinier, Anita Hill, and Christopher Emdin—books that speak to the condition of the world, and add to our understanding of urgent social issues. Whether it’s the environment or race, cultural or class dynamics, we publish all our books with a purpose. Now you can meet the people who work at Beacon Press in our blog series “Beacon Behind the Books.” Each month, we’ll introduce to you a member of our staff and give you a behind-the-scenes look at what goes on at our office.
For December, we introduce you to Wesley Updike, our business operations assistant.
What drew you to publishing, Wesley? How did you find your way to Beacon?
I’ve always loved books and viewed them as important tools, so by extension, I’ve probably always had an interest in the publishing business. A love of reading and writing led me to the realm of English and humanities in high school, and ultimately guided me through a degree in English literature as an undergraduate. I’ve been incredibly fortunate to read so many outstanding books throughout my life; it feels fitting that I’m now a part of their production. Several of Beacon’s titles, such as Dr. Cornel West’s books, were featured in my college English courses, and having grown up in Cambridge, MA, Beacon was always a familiar name.
What helps you focus when you’re at work?
Caffeine is usually a good start. If that fails, podcasts and music do the trick.
In your time at Beacon, what has changed and what has stayed the same?
In my time here I’ve seen colleagues come and go, and while our personnel changes periodically, it’s remarkable to see the staff’s devotion to Beacon’s mission. No matter how long our employees have been with us, everyone is committed to producing works of enduring value.
Hobbies outside of work?
I have an obsession, bordering on pathology, with playing/watching/writing/reading about Soccer. Outside of work, I can generally be found doing one of those things.
Favorite book ever?
About Wesley Updike
Wesley Updike joined Beacon Press in July 2015. He is a graduate of Trinity College and earned his BA in English Literature.