Show Less
Restricted access

Editors Talk about Editing

Insights for Readers, Writers and Publishers


Susan L. Greenberg

The work of «editing» is by and large something that happens behind the scenes, noticed only when it is done badly, or not done at all. There is not much information about what editors do. The result is that editing is not often talked about in its own right – not even by the people who do it. This collection of interviews attempts to fill some of the gaps. The author, a former editor herself, interviews practitioners at the top of their game – from newspapers, magazines, broadcast news, book publishing, scholarly editing, academic publishing and digital curation. The interviewees think out loud about creativity and human judgment; what they have in common and what makes them different; how editing skills and culture can be shared; why editing continues to fascinate; and why any of this might matter.
Show Summary Details
Restricted access

Chapter 3: Ileene Smith, Farrar, Straus and Giroux


← 44 | 45 → Chapter 3


Vice-president and executive editor,Farrar, Straus and GirouxInterview: Friday, November 9, 2012Manhattan, New York

Ileene Smith joined the literary publisher Farrar, Straus, and Giroux (FSG)1 in February 2012. In that role she acquires and edits authors on both the FSG and Hill & Wang lists. Her first acquisition for FSG was a biography of the publishing ‘matriarch’ Blanche Knopf.

Before that, Smith was ‘executive editor at large’ for general interest books at Yale University Press, a senior editor at Random House, and executive editor at Summit Books. She is the recipient of the PEN Roger Klein Award, the Tony Godwin Memorial Award, and a Jerusalem Fellowship.

Smith’s career illustrates, among many other things, the potential creativity of ‘linking’, the third element identified in this book’s definition of editing. In this case, it involves building groups of associated authors on a publisher’s list. The interview captures the intensity of feeling that dedicated editors have about what they do, and the joy of understanding a text in all its dimensions.

SG What drew you to this kind of work? How did it enter your head to work in publishing?

IS I started at Simon & Schuster in 1979, reading the slushpile. I was doing it part-time to earn money, to further my musical education. But I fell in love ← 45 | 46 → with the culture of the publishing house and...

You are not authenticated to view the full text of this chapter or article.

This site requires a subscription or purchase to access the full text of books or journals.

Do you have any questions? Contact us.

Or login to access all content.