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Friday, 8 June 2012

Perspective: The Perils of Being Editor

While I did want to write something about the challenges of being an editor, I also want to take this opportunity to shout about the e-book I have been involved with producing.

LadyFest: Winning Stories form the Oxford Gender Equality Festival 2010 is now available for download at the bargainacious price of just £2.99! I can testify to the quality of these wonderfully thought-provoking original stories.

This is the second e-book produced by up and coming digital publishers DEAD INK. If you happen to be in London, you can also attend the launch of this e-book on July 7th at 7pm in Covent Garden.

Contributors include Angela Jackson, Kathy Keown, Rosalind Newman, Laura O'Brien, Sarvat Hasin, Kate Pocklington, Aimee Cliff, Farah Ghuznavi and Cherish Shirley. The event will include readings and a Q & A with the authors. Book your free ticket here.

I'm very much looking forward to having the opportunity to meet some of the excellent writers included in this anthology. I would say it was a pleasure to read their stories, and in a way it was, but the pressure of proofing and editing an actual book was immense. Add to this my determination to stay true to the writing, and it became much more of a challenge than I'd anticipated. 

I was constantly aware that the pages I was looking over would ultimately make up a book. Now, I'm not a complete novice when it comes to editing, and took the responsibility very seriously when it fell to myself and a university friend to edit the creative writing journal. But a book feels very different, particularly when the standard of the writing is so high. 

In the copy of William Burroughs' Junky that I recently reviewed, there were a series of letters included in the appendix, one of which stuck in my mind. It was a letter to his editor, going through his editorial changes at length, and tearing those choices to shreds. Now, some might dismiss this as pointless whining from an egotistical writer, and perhaps they'd be right. Indeed, I'm certain there are many writers who find it difficult to accept that any changes to their work might actually be improvements.

However, it also made me appreciate just how delicate the path of an editor is. They have the enormous responsibility of correcting grammatical errors, typographical errors, and rephrasing without disrupting the voice of the author. It's a difficult job, and not one to be taken on lightly. 


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