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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.
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Chapter 8: Louise Doughty, Novelist


← 102 | 103 → Chapter 8


Novelist, journalist, teacherInterview: Wednesday, April 2, 2014by telephone, London

Louise Doughty is a London-based journalist, critic and novelist. At the time of writing, the most recent of her seven novels was Apple Tree Yard (2014). An earlier work, Whatever You Love, was shortlisted for the Costa Novel Award and longlisted for the Orange Prize for Fiction, and she has won awards for radio drama and short stories. Doughty was a judge for the Man Booker Prize in 2008 and has chaired other panels including the Orange Award for New Writers, the John Llewellyn Rhys Prize and the Somerset Maugham Award. She gives lectures and classes on the practice of creative writing, for example at the Faber Academy and the Arvon Foundation.1

In this interview, Doughty’s account of how and why she puts her work through a developmental process of her own devising—before submitting it for publication—provides an example of editing taking place across the communications circuit. Her experience also confirms the gap in public awareness about this process; for example, in the questions fielded (or not fielded) at literary festivals.

SG Do you think of yourself as an editor?

LD I am a novelist, but I do think of myself as an editor as well. What I say to all my writing students is, don’t think of yourself as just a writer; think of ← 103 | 104 → yourself as...

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