News • June 11, 2020
What is an editor's role? How does an editor work with an author to elevate and support their work?
As I start my time as an Editorial Fellow, I want to know about the kinds of relationships editors and writers have. I’ve considered this question since seeing Robert Gottlieb speak on a panel at the 2019 Brooklyn Book Festival about his editorial relationship with Toni Morrison. He spoke of taking a backseat to Morrison’s writing process and advocating for her to be able to work full-time as a writer, but also arguing about the placement of a comma.
Maya Angelou in a New York Times article joked that she and her editor, Robert Loomis, were “an item.” She was fiercely loyal to him and his questions, despite them also being "a nuisance.... 'Why did you put a semicolon there, to give the thought some breath? Is that the word you really want?’ I’ve said to him many times you’re bullheaded, I’ll never speak to you again and then I send him night letters or telegrams telling him he’s right."
What other models are out there? Join me for an ongoing series of Master Classes with Editors to explore some possibilities.With best,
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