Claire Strombeck

Claire Strombeck – Editor

I have over 10 years' experience editing for top publishers, including Penguin Random House. Contact me for any editorial services.


As an editor for top publishers, including Penguin Random House and NB Publishers, I have edited and proofread award-winning, bestselling novels and narrative non-fiction texts. I am proud to have had a number of edited novels on bestseller lists, and long- and shortlisted for literary awards, including the Sunday Times Literary Prize and the Commonwealth Short Story Prize. I work closely with top authors including Mark Winkler, Imraan Coovadia, Rahla Xenopoulos, Carol Campbell, Qarnita Loxton, Fred Khumalo, and Niq Mhlongo, among many others. I also co-founded a highly successful online creative writing course with bestselling author, Mike Nicol, which ran for eight years. I thrive when collaborating with authors, assisting them to reach their writing potential and to create the strongest narrative possible. My specialist genres include literary fiction, women's fiction, crime, and memoirs, although I really love reading and editing any story that grabs my attention. My clients will attest to the fact that I am a supportive editor, who only ever gives constructive criticism. I focus on what you're doing right, so that you can do more of that. If you work with me, you will become a better, more confident writer, skilled in all the technical stuff and the things that readers want. My industry experience means I am perfectly placed to know what publishers want, and to shape your manuscripts and cover letters accordingly. Please contact me for any editorial services, including developmental and copy editing, editorial assessments, and editing of cover letters.
Biographies & Memoirs
Chick Lit Contemporary Romance Cozy Mysteries Epic Fantasy Literary Fiction Thriller & Suspense
English (UK) English (US)
  • First-class Master's Degree in English Literature
  • First-class Honour's Degree in English Literature

Work experience


Feb, 2016 — Present

• Copy-editor and proofreader
• Point of contact between commissioning editors, managing editors, and authors
• Write reader reports for potential publication and jacket copy
• Familiar with all stages of publication process
• Several works longlisted for the Sunday Times Literary Awards in 2019 and 2021
• Fred Khumalo’s Talk of the Town won 2020 SALA Nadine Gordimer Short Story Award

The Writers' Masterclass

Jan, 2013 — Dec, 2020 (almost 8 years)

• Independently run supervisory online, multimedia course, founded and supervised by internationally best-selling writer and journalist Mike Nicol and me
• Project-managed course for 25–30 students each year
• Created content on social media platforms to advertise course
• Supervised writing of 60,000-word novels/ non-fiction works
• Each completed year of the class produced at least one traditionally published writer

GetSmarter (2U)

Oct, 2010 — Dec, 2015 (about 5 years)

• Taught online, multimedia creative-writing course alongside Ron Irwin (until end of 2011) and then Mike Nicol (until 2015)
• Liaison between clients and GetSmarter


Jun, 2010 — Present

• Copy-editor and proofreader
• Point of contact between commissioning editors, managing editors, and authors
• Write reader reports for potential publication and jacket copy
• Familiar with all stages of publication process
• Several works longlisted for the Sunday Times Literary Awards in 2019 and 2021
• Irene Muchemi-Ndiritu’s short story, “The Blessing of Kali”, shortlisted for the Commonwealth Short Story Prize 2019
• Imran Garda’s The Thunder That Roars won the 2016 Olive Schreiner Prize for Prose; longlisted for the 2014 Etisalat Prize for Literature


Past Participle

Jane Labous

Lucky Girl: A Novel

Muchemi-Ndiritu, Irene

The Son of the House

Cheluchi Onyemelukwe-Onuobia

A COMPELLING STORY CELEBRATING THE RESILIENCE OF TWO WOMEN AS THEY NAVIGATE WHAT REMAINS A STRONGLY PATRIARCHAL NIGERIA “I absolutely loved his book. Nwabulu and Julie are incredible, fully formed and fully flaw, characters that walk straight off the page and ... read more
Shadow Flicker

Volker, Melissa A.

Glass House

Emezie, Chinenye

It is 1871 and Nthebolang and her mother must flee their home: her father has been accused of witchcraft and sentenced to death. For months they walk, sleeping in the open, living off the veld, until they are offered shelter in Ntsweng in the kingdom of Kgosi ... read more
Single mom Delilah is thrilled when her darling daughter Daisy is tipped to become head girl of her prep school. But things don’t turn out quite as expected, and mother and daughter soon need to deal with much more than disappointment when Daisy’s long-time ri... read more
Only the Dead

Wende, Hamilton

Being Shelley

Loxton, Qarnita

Mermaid Fillet

Arderne, Mia

The Delhi Deception

Sabharwal, Elana

The Fall

Thorpe, Jen

An Unquiet Place

Houston, Clare

Nine Letters

Webb, John

Loves & Miracles of Pistola

Toffoli, Hilary Prendini

My Father Died for This

Calata, Lukhanyo

Being Kari

Loxton, Qarnita

The Season of Glass

Xenopoulos, Rahla

Claire has 62 reviews





Michael J.

Michael J.

Mar, 2024

Claire was a joy to work with throughout the whole editing process!
Stephen N.

Stephen N.

Dec, 2023

Like I said in my previous review of Claire, she is a very sympathetic reader who offers great editing very much in line with the spirit of the text. I have benefitted greatly from her professional approach and empathetic nature.
Mathilde O.

Mathilde O.

Dec, 2023

I worked with Claire for my first fantasy novel and I couldn't wish for anyone better. Claire was understanding and quick. She gave me comprehensive guidance and everything was crystal clear. Not only does she tell you what should be fixed or said better but she also tells you what you're good at (and I think that's important to know that as well). I would highly recommend working with Claire ...
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Chantelle A.

Chantelle A.

Dec, 2023

Claire was so supportive throughout the entire editing process. She encouraged me to share more details on my protagonist's thoughts and feelings, and I believe my novel is better because of her suggestions. I also enjoyed how she kept in my narrative tone intact while understanding the subtext and subtleties of my novel. I hope to work with Claire again in the future!
Kenneth T.

Kenneth T.

Oct, 2023

WOW!, as one of the characters in my novel is wont to say. Claire's job proposal seemed exceedingly ambitious for the amount charged but she came through with flying colors (sorry, Claire, I am using some cliches that I would never put in my usual writing). She did a full substance edit, coupled with some copy editing, and then she gave me a masterclass in third-person limited point of view. Th...
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