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‘Reviewers tend to say that books are either well written or badly edited. It’s the editor’s lot.’ (Fergus Barrowman)

This is a succinct comment I came across recently from a reader of a blog post by Rebecca Carter, editor at Harvill Secker. Rebecca was writing about her survey of how editor/author relationships differ from one country to another. The article itself, ‘A World of Editing’, is excellent, and can be read here.

For further insights into the editorial mindset, literary agent Andrew Lownie has posted wish-lists by several prominent UK editors of the kinds of books they are hoping to commission in 2011. It’s interesting to note that Edmund de Waal’s surprise bestseller The Hare with Amber Eyes is cited both as an example of innovative and ambitious non-fiction publishing and evidence that ‘readership is not dumbing down’. There may be gloom and doom in publishing, but hope springs eternal . . .

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