Amaryah Orenstein

Amaryah Orenstein – Editor

Literary agent/editor with 10+ yrs experience, looking to help authors bring out the best in their manuscripts, proposals, query letters.


As a literary agent, I am familiar with both the publishing industry and the craft of writing. I know what editors and other agents are looking for in a manuscript, proposal, or query letter, and am pleased to provide an array of editorial services to help you give your work its best shot at publication. Though my editorial experience is wide-ranging, some topics do fall outside my field of expertise or interest, and I will not take on a project that I do not feel I can enhance or help to develop. Thematic interests include but are not limited to: contemporary + historical fiction; family relationship + coming-of-age stories; history + current affairs; social + cultural issues; memoir; food.

I have sold books to major and independent trade publishers as well as to university presses, and am frequently invited to MFA programs and writers conferences to give seminars on how to impress agents/editors with your manuscript pages, about how to write query letters that get noticed, and about the publishing process in general.

Please note: I cannot offer representation to anyone I work with in an editorial capacity.

A Bit About Me:
Amaryah Orenstein, founder and president of a boutique literary agency, is thrilled to help writers bring their ideas to life. Aiming to give voice to a broad range of perspectives, she represents a wide array of literary and commercial fiction and narrative nonfiction, and is always looking for works that wed beautiful writing with a strong narrative and tackle big issues in engaging, accessible, and even surprising ways. Amaryah began her career at the Laura Gross Literary Agency in 2009 and, prior to that, she worked as an Editorial Assistant at various academic research foundations, including the Tauber Institute, where she edited books for Brandeis University Press/University Press of New England. Originally from Montreal, Canada, Amaryah earned a BA at McGill University before coming to the United States to pursue graduate studies in American History. She completed an MA at Ohio University’s Contemporary History Institute and a PhD at Brandeis University.
Biographies & Memoirs History Political Science & Current Affairs
Contemporary Fiction Historical Fiction
English (US)
  • BA, MA, PhD

Work experience

GO Literary

Jul, 2014 — Present

Represent broad range of fiction and nonfiction authors; work closely with clients throughout every step of the publishing process, from concept development through publication—editorial guidance, contract negotiation, sub-rights, advocacy, marketing + publicity, career shaping.

Lesley University

Sep, 2014 — Dec, 2014 (3 months)

Lectured and led discussion sections for both undergraduate history majors and non-majors. Advised students on appropriate research topics and evaluated their work. Course taught: “The United States Since World II.”

Laura Gross Literary Agency

Jun, 2009 — Jun, 2014 (about 5 years)

Tauber Institute, Brandeis University

Sep, 2007 — Nov, 2008 (about 1 year)

Line edited Itamar Rabinovich and Jehuda Reinharz, eds., Israel in the Middle East: Documents and Readings on Society, Politics, and Foreign Relations, Pre-1948 to the Present (2nd Edition, Waltham, MA: Brandeis UP/UPNE, 2008) and Sara Bender, The Jews of Bialystok During World War II and the Holocaust (Waltham, MA: Brandeis UP/UPNE, 2008).

Brandeis University

Sep, 2006 — Dec, 2009 (about 3 years)

Lectured and led discussion sections for both undergraduate history majors and non-majors. Advised students on appropriate research topics, edited and evaluated their work. Courses taught:
• “Antisemitism in America” (University Writing Seminar)
• “The US in World War II” (Professor David Hackett Fischer)
• “Hitler, Germany, and Europe” (Professor Rudolph Binion)
• “It Couldn’t Happen Here: 3 American Antisemitic Episodes” (Professor Jonathan D. Sarna)
• “The American Revolution” (Professor David Hackett Fischer)
• “Latin American History: 1870 to the Present” (Professor Sylvia Arrom)


A captivating novel of Renaissance Italy detailing the mysterious life of Bartolomeo Scappi, the legendary chef to several popes and author of one of the bestselling cookbooks of all time, and the nephew who sets out to discover his late uncle’s secrets—includ... read more
Working Daughter is a revelatory look at who’s caring for our aging population and how these unpaid family caregivers are trying to manage caring for their parents, raising their children, maintaining relationships, and pursuing their careers. It follows the a... read more
Surveying the state of American ballet in a 1913 issue of McClure's Magazine, author Willa Cather reported that few girls expressed any interest in taking ballet class and that those who did were hard-pressed to find anything other than dingy studios and imper... read more
Set amongst the scandal, wealth, and upstairs-downstairs politics of a Roman family, Crystal King’s seminal debut features the man who inspired the world’s oldest cookbook and the ambition that led to his destruction.On a blistering day in the twenty-sixth yea... read more
This timely anthology, completely revised and updated from the original edition in 1984, provides convenient access to the most significant documents of the Zionist movement since 1882 and of Israel’s domestic and foreign policy issues between 1948 and 2006. C... read more
This history of Jewish Bialystok during World War II provides an in-depth analysis of one of the largest Jewish communities to pass from Soviet to German occupation, and it enhances our understanding of the response of Polish Jewry to the Holocaust. The Bialys... read more
The Attica Turkey Shoot tells a story that New York State did not want you to know. In 1971, following a prison riot at the Attica Correctional Facility, state police and prison guards slaughtered thirty-nine hostages and inmates and tortured more than one tho... read more
School can be a special sort of nightmare for LGBTQ youth, who are sometimes targets of verbal or physical harassment with nowhere to turn for support. No Sanctuary tells the inspiring story of a mostly unseen rescue attempt by a small group of teachers who le... read more
Remix Judaism: Preserving Tradition in a Diverse World offers an eloquent and thoughtful new vision for all Jews seeking a sense of belonging in a changing world, regardless of their current level of observance. Kwall sets out a process of selection, rejection... read more
Loss, trauma, memory, and, above all, the ties of family and being Jewish are the elements that weave together this panoramic story. Come Back for Me travels through time and place only to bring us, ultimately, to the connections between generations. Artur Man... read more

Amaryah has 48 reviews





James W.

James W.

Sep, 2023

My evaluation was good. In my search for a better way to write a better query and synopsis to attract agents, I feel like I got good feedback for a few added words, but I was hoping for more of a critique. I have sent my work to six former agents who ghostwrite and edit books. Several were with Reedsey and others I found independently. I have re-written both documents using fragments of all the...
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Aug, 2023

I submitted a rough draft of a query letter and CNF proposal and she returned it with clear and concise feedback. I felt I'd given her chicken scratchings and she helped me turn it into colorful plumage! Her approach is professional, but she's also friendly and warm, which is very reassuring in this industry. Writing is personal and she recognized that. Even though I haven't heard back about my...
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Debra G.

Debra G.

Jul, 2023

Amaryah was thorough and very helpful.
Andrew S.

Andrew S.

Jun, 2023

I recently finished my first novel (I have a non-fiction book out since 2016, Waking the Spirit, published by Picador). Although a small circle of friends loved the novel, the first responses from professional readers indicated serious problems. I had already hired Amaryah Orenstein to help me with my query letter, which she handled brilliantly, so I scheduled a Zoom with her to discuss the nov...
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Robert W.

Robert W.

May, 2023

She did a wonderful job on my query letter and will work with her again.

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