Oana Vasile

About Oana Vasile

Passion to Profession: Navigating the World of Books and Publishing

I was born in a small town in East-Central Romania and my journey around books and reading started in my primary school when I practically lived day and night next to Robinson Crusoe dreaming that one day I would find an island for myself and start taming goats and growing wheat (of course, nothing of Defoe’s ironical approach to the British society blurred my bucolic perspective). It then continued when my mom showed me a blue-cover book and told me that I should read it when I was old enough; ‘but I am old enough’, I thought to myself and prepared a master-plan to grab the book and solve the mystery. Just that my mom kept her promise and I was not able to track the place where she had hidden it for a couple of years. 

Then, one day, I found it and devoured it in just a few days; it was an Interwar Romanian love story, neither dangerous nor esthetically challenging. But it was the trigger for me starting to search for new books in both my family’s bookcase and the town’s library. Now, as a literary agent, I continue doing this for a living. Isn’t this great?

This passion slowly turned into a profession and consequently into a job. After graduating Romanian and English Literature at University of Bucharest, I obtained a Theory of Literature and Comparative Literature Master diploma and a PhD in philology, studying the autobiographical writing published in Romania during Communism.

I was lucky enough to join the team of one of the oldest Romanian publishing houses during my post-graduate studies. While working at Univers Publishing House I had the opportunity to get to actually see how a book gets to its readers and how a title from a rights agreement becomes a real object. I worked in the communication and PR department, but I also dealt with related editorial tasks. Apart from meeting great people (of the team, but also translators, editors, bloggers, journalists), reading great books and discovering the way the Romanian literary market works, I also had great experiences when some internationally acclaimed authors visited Romania. During my two years working at Univers I had the chance to assist and organize the visits of the Norwegian authors Hanne Ørstavik and Lars Saabye Christensen, the American-born Spanish editor, translator and researcher Valerie Miles and the Spanish writer José María Merino.

This adventure around books and passionate people who get the stories close to their readers continues now. I joined Livia Stoia Literary Agency’s energetic and enthusiastic team in early 2016 and since then I have been having the feeling that the world is my playground; as a matter of fact it really is, since the new titles I deal with every day come from almost all over the globe and  behind the monitor of my computer there are people from West America up to Australia. Beside the fact that I get to know all the new and cool stuff from the international literary field I also have the opportunity to stay in touch with great people, be it publishers, agents or authors. One of the best experiences so far was the Frankfurt Book Fair I attended in 2016 (my first time ever) where I got the confirmation that working with books is in fact about working with people that create and make stories happen.

Another great achievement of me joining the team is that I discovered how great children and Young Adult literature can be. Perfect mix so far – Miss Peregrine + Eva Green. #staypeculiar. Speaking of combos, I am a big fan of Harry Potter (I even played Severus Snape in a short play in high-school; at the end of the day, he was the coolest) and I am a huge fan of Friends TV series (the roommate game episode is the best).

In 2021 I started Book Industry, a bilingual website where I publish interviews with book industry professionals in both Romanian and English.

When I am not reading, presenting books, selling rights or doing interviews, I am either working with my husband for our NGO (focused on educational and publishing projects on urban culture and history) or cooking. As for the latter (I am more like Gordon style – sorry, Jamie) I like trying new things on every occasion and my husband, my little boy, Tudor, my family and my friends are my trustful testers (poor them).

My plan for the near future is to read more; my medium term plan is to read more; my long term plans are to read more. No, I’m kidding. To have a cozy winter-proof cliff house where to spend my time reading more.

© SMA Studio