Catriona Ross

Catriona Ross – Editor

Insightful, efficient, supportive. Former editor and proofreader at Penguin Random House, now freelance. Loves both fiction and nonfiction.


Reading the first pages of a promising novel gives me goosebumps, and I love guiding the writer in making that book the best it can be. As a senior editor for Penguin Random House, I worked on an array of titles, mainly novels but also nonfiction. I project-managed the South African edition of THE PROMISE by Damon Galgut, winner of the 2021 Booker Prize, and A SIN OF OMISSION by Marguerite Poland, winner of the Sunday Times Literary Award for Fiction in South Africa in 2021. I also edited and championed (loudly, shamelessly) JUNX by Tshidiso Moletsane, winner of the Sunday Times Literary Award for Fiction 2022, and was instrumental in launching Umuzi Trailblazer, an imprint for innovative novellas from Africa and its diaspora. I’ve worked on brilliant debuts (HOW TO HIDE INSIDE A THREE by Jane van der Riet, BURIED TREASURE by Sven Axelrad, THE MADHOUSE by TJ Benson) and novels by established writers such as John van de Ruit, author of the SPUD series, Lauren Beukes (AFTERLAND, BRIDGE), Siphiwe Gloria Ndlovu (THE HISTORY OF MAN, THE QUALITY OF MERCY), Sally Andrew, author of the TANNIE MARIA series (THE SATANIC MECHANIC, DEATH OF THE LIMPOPO, THE MILK TART MURDERS), Michiel Heyns (EACH MORTAL THING) and Justin Fox (PLACE). I’ve evaluated countless manuscript submissions, written reader reports, developed manuscripts, coached authors, copy edited and proofread books for publication, and liaised with international book agents. Before my publishing career, I was a journalist, writing features for magazines and newspapers, and worked as features editor on the South African editions of O, THE OPRAH MAGAZINE and COSMOPOLITAN. As an author, I’ve written novels and nonfiction. I’ve also ghostwritten, from chapters on beautiful gardens for a coffee-table book to a savings and investment guide.

As editor, I’ll help you fix any structural issues in your narrative, shape your story, polish your prose, and produce a final manuscript that connects with readers for maximum impact. To me, that’s what counts in storytelling: emotional connection. The task is to make those changes, whether large or small, that will help a reader feel invested in your story.

Coming of Age Contemporary Fiction Cozy Mysteries Literary Fiction Women's Fiction
English (AUS) English (SA) English (UK)
  • Overall winner, Mental Health Information Centre Media Awards
  • MA in Creative Writing, with distinction, University of Cape Town

Work experience

Penguin Random House South Africa

Jan, 2023 — Apr, 2023 (3 months)

‘Catriona is a seasoned editor, having worked on many bestselling and award-winning books. She joined PRH in November 2018 after a long career in the media, and her calm wisdom has helped the team through many challenges. No task is ever too daunting for Catriona. Her can-do attitude motivates her fellow team members, and her positive energy is contagious.’ – Sylvia De Wet, publishing director, Penguin Random House South Africa

Penguin Random House South Africa

Nov, 2018 — Dec, 2022 (about 4 years)


Jan, 2006 — Oct, 2018 (over 12 years)

O, The Oprah Magazine (South Africa)

Jan, 2005 — Dec, 2005 (11 months)

Cosmopolitan (South Africa)

Jan, 2004 — Dec, 2004 (11 months)

Cosmopolitan (South Africa)

Feb, 2001 — Dec, 2003 (almost 3 years)


Each Mortal Thing

Michiel Heyns

When Natasha, a novice writer from South Africa, is nominated for a major British literary prize, Terence, a young university lecturer, undertakes to introduce her to the sights of London. How... read more
Copy Editing Proofreading
A Sin of Omission

Marguerite Poland

Winner of the 2021 Sunday Times Fiction PrizeIn the Eastern Cape, Stephen (Malusi) Mzamane, a young Anglican priest, must journey to his mother’s rural home to inform her of his elder brother’... read more

Tshidiso Moletsane

In Dobsonville, a few hours before the party of the year, a guy shares a joint with his friend Ari. Ari is always right. Ari is also imaginary. And winged.In a few hours, while Ari plays both ... read more
Developmental Editing

Justin Fox

Place is a moving love letter to South Africa, merging literature and land­scape, and taking the reader on a breath-taking journey – into the heart of South Africa’s spectacular landscape and ... read more
Developmental Editing
Following his brother’s funeral, Chisoni, a thirty-three-year-old Malawian, embarks on a long-haul flight to England, where he lives. His neighbour on the plane is a loquacious Irishman who sp... read more
Copy Editing
Buried treasure

Sven Axelrad

Welcome to Vivo, where the only cemetery is run by old Mateus and his dog, God. Mateus’s eyes aren’t so good these days, which is why he has been burying bodies in the wrong graves, and also w... read more

Douglas Kruger

Katrina Hunt is a journalist with a secret. From her early days growing up in the poverty of a trailer park, she has been able to detect the sour notes of corruption in others. And she's never... read more
Copy Editing
Things I used to wish were true: 1. On the morning of your twenty-first birthday you were handed a top-secret manual explaining how to be a grown-up. 2. Mr Hoody and the legions of others in t... read more
Copy Editing

David Ralph Viviers

A century-old trunk has been dug up near the railway village of Sterfontein. Inside is the lost journal of Victorian author Elizabeth Tenant – and what appear to be the remains of a child. Mic... read more
Copy Editing

Charlie Human

Clementine Khoza is a hard person; hard to know, hard to love, hard to fight. When she was a little girl, her grandfather put a stick and a shield in her hands and taught her the ancient stick... read more
Copy Editing

Beukes, Lauren

Editorial Assessment
Little Diamond Eye

Ross, Catriona

The Love Book

Ross, Catriona

Across the Kala Pani

Shevlyn Mottai

In 1909, four women board a ship in Madras to cross the Kala Pani, the ‘black water’, to Natal. Lutchmee, a young widow, has escaped her vengeful mother-in-law and self-immolation on her husba... read more
Still Life

Zoe Wicomb

Few in his native Scotland know about Thomas Pringle – the abolitionist, publisher, and – some would say – Father of South African Poetry. A biography of Pringle is in order, and a reluctant w... read more
Copy Editing
The History of Man

Siphiwe Gloria Ndlovu

Emil Coetzee, a civil servant in his fifties, is washing blood off his hands when the ceasefire is announced. Like everyone else, he feels unmoored by the end of the conflict. War had given hi... read more
Copy Editing
The Quality of Mercy

Siphiwe Gloria Ndlovu

This is indeed a story of mercy – and the redemption it offers. On the eve of his retirement, Spokes Moloi, a police officer of spotless integrity, investigates one final crime: the possible m... read more
Copy Editing

Mike Nicol

Fish Pescado, Vicki Kahn and one last case. Children find a body in the Strandfontein sand dunes. A populist politician is gunned down outside parliament. His number two executed in bed with a... read more
Copy Editing
Money. Money. Money. Tons of it. In us dollars. And it’s all being funnelled into a government tender snagged by family-owned Amalfi Civils. Which would be great for business if ceo Angela was... read more
Developmental Editing
The Weight of Skin

Alastair Bruce

‘You would not think it to look at you, but your voice, when you use it: akin to a god’s. You must be careful what you do with it.’ Exiled Jacob Kitara takes in injured compatriots and nurses ... read more
Developmental Editing
The Madhouse

TJ Benson

The dazzling story of a Nigerian family. The house at the end of Freetown Street in Nigeria’s Sabon Gari was once a sanatorium for colonists deranged from the heat and insanity of the place. N... read more
Developmental Editing Editorial Assessment

Catriona has 2 reviews





Ariel S.

Ariel S.

Feb, 2024

Catriona was very kind and informative and helped me every step of the way in proofreading my novel. She also leaves helpful and sometimes funny commentary in the margins to let me know parts of the work she liked! I recommend her highly! I will, of course, credit her when it (hopefully) gets published.
Anni K.

Anni K.

Aug, 2023

My proof-reader Catriona exceeded my expectations. She provided a fair, thorough and competent evaluation of my manuscript, and besides that was always friendly and punctual. I received weekly updates on the work and always had the feeling that she was not only highly qualified, but that she was truly interested in my work. I felt I had a true friend! The proof-reading was done to my fullest sa...
Read more

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