Amaryah Orenstein

Amaryah Orenstein - Editor

NYC, NY, USA

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

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Overview

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.
Languages
English (US)
Non-Fiction
Biographies & Memoirs
History
Political Science & Current Affairs
Fiction
Contemporary Fiction
Historical Fiction

Certifications

  • BA, MA, PhD

Work experience

Founder and Agent

GO Literary
July, 2014 – Present (over 8 years)

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.

Adjunct Professor

Lesley University
September, 2014 – December, 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.”

Assistant Literary Agent

Laura Gross Literary Agency
June, 2009 – June, 2014 (about 5 years)

Editorial Assistant

Tauber Institute, Brandeis University
September, 2007 – November, 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).

University Instructor

Brandeis University
September, 2006 – December, 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)

Portfolio (16 selected works)

Feast of Sorrow: A Novel of Ancient Rome

Crystal King

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 year of Augustus Caesar’s reign, a young chef, Thrasius, is acquired for the exorbitant price of twenty thousand denarii. His purchaser is ... 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 year of Augustus Caesar’s reign, a young chef, Thrasius, is acquired for the exorbitant price of twenty thousand denarii. His purchaser is ... read more

Ballet Class: An American History

Melissa R. Klapper

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 imperious teachers. One hundred years later, ballet is everywhere. There are ballet companies large and small across the United States; balle... 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 imperious teachers. One hundred years later, ballet is everywhere. There are ballet companies large and small across the United States; balle... read more

Working Daughter: A Guide to Caring for Your Aging Parents While Making a Living

Liz O'Donnell

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 author, who was enjoying a fast-paced career in marketing and raising two children when both of her parents were diagnosed with terminal ... 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 author, who was enjoying a fast-paced career in marketing and raising two children when both of her parents were diagnosed with terminal ... read more

The Chef's Secret: A Novel

Crystal King

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—including the identity of the noblewoman Bartolomeo loved until he died.When Bartolomeo Scappi dies in 1577, he leaves his vast estate—propert... read more

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—including the identity of the noblewoman Bartolomeo loved until he died.When Bartolomeo Scappi dies in 1577, he leaves his vast estate—propert... read more

Come Back for Me

Sharon Hart-Green

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 Mandelkorn is a young Hungarian Holocaust survivor whose desperate quest to find his sister takes him to post-war Israel. Intersecting Artu... 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 Mandelkorn is a young Hungarian Holocaust survivor whose desperate quest to find his sister takes him to post-war Israel. Intersecting Artu... read more

Remix Judaism: Preserving Tradition in a Diverse World

Roberta Rosenthal Kwall

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, and modification of rituals that allow for a focus on Jewish tradition rather than on the technicalities of Jewish law. Her goal is no... 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, and modification of rituals that allow for a focus on Jewish tradition rather than on the technicalities of Jewish law. Her goal is no... read more

No Sanctuary: Teachers and the School Reform That Brought Gay Rights to the Masses

Stephen Lane

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 led the push to make schools safer for these at-risk students. Their efforts became the blueprint for Massachusetts’s education policy and... 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 led the push to make schools safer for these at-risk students. Their efforts became the blueprint for Massachusetts’s education policy and... read more

The Attica Turkey Shoot: Carnage, Cover-Up, and the Pursuit of Justice

Malcolm Bell

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 thousand men after they had surrendered. State officials pretended that they could not successfully prosecute the law officers who perpetra... 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 thousand men after they had surrendered. State officials pretended that they could not successfully prosecute the law officers who perpetra... read more

The Jews of Bialystok During World War II and the Holocaust

Sara Bender

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 Bialystok community’s fate is representative of many other Jewish communities in Poland and Lithuania, but unlike other communities, Bialystok... 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 Bialystok community’s fate is representative of many other Jewish communities in Poland and Lithuania, but unlike other communities, Bialystok... read more

Israel in the Middle East: Documents and Readings on Society, Politics, and Foreign Relations, Pre-1948 to the Present (The Tauber Institute for the Study of European Jewry Series)

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. Comprised largely of primary sources from Israeli, Arab, and American records, documents encompass not only political and diplomatic hist... 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. Comprised largely of primary sources from Israeli, Arab, and American records, documents encompass not only political and diplomatic hist... read more

Amaryah has 30 reviews

Professionalism
Professionalism
Quality
Quality
Value
Value
Communication & Punctuality
Communication & Punctuality

Sumaya Conners
This has been hard for both Sumaya and Judith to give you feedback on Amryah Orenstein. We have talked this over and one thing that really made us nervous was that she never contacted us all during the time she had our manuscript until the final date of the total payment and only after I personally texted and emailed her when are we going to see anything regarding what we fully paid for. She di...
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Sumaya Conners, November 2022


Mira Tudor
Amaryah suggested highly useful edits, allowing me to take the presentation of my book in a new, more compelling direction and change the overall feel of the letter. My query is greatly improved. I really appreciate her help!

Mira Tudor, October 2022


Karen Paley
Amaryah has not learned how to help writers revise without being snarky. I was surprised that she made only 1 positive comment from reading about 15000 words. It seems that she was irritated and triggered by the content of what she was reading. The edgy tone of her comments was widely different from the inviting tone of the language in her bid. Having said that, I will be able to use some of...
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Karen Paley, October 2022


Nipun Shukla
Thanks for a fantastic review of my Synopsis and for your guidance and pointers on the path ahead!

Nipun Shukla, October 2022

Amaryah Orenstein
Thanks so much, Nipun. It's been a pleasure working with you. PLEASE keep me posted on the status of this work. :)

Reply from Amaryah Orenstein


Nipun Shukla
Provided invaluable input. The edits really helped summarize my query letter to all that was salient.

Nipun Shukla, September 2022

Amaryah Orenstein
Thanks so much, Nipun! I'm thrilled to hear that you found my suggestions useful, and I wish you the best of luck with your project :)

Reply from Amaryah Orenstein

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