Dawn Raffel

Dawn Raffel – Editor

Deep experience editing memoir, narrative nonfiction, novels and short stories.


I enjoy working with writers at all levels, from debut authors to seasoned pros. When I edit, I pay very close attention to language, structure, pacing, and logic. I really try to get inside the DNA of the book to make it the best it can be on its own terms. You can expect lots of line notes and comments, and I'm always happy to answer questions. I try to make the process as painless as possible! Yes, it can even be fun.

In addition to editing, I teach creative writing and serve as an emerging writer mentor at AWP and the Center for Fiction. I'm also a writer myself, so I know how it feels to be on the other side of the desk. I'm interested in literary fiction, narrative nonfiction, and memoir, and am always delighted to see my clients' books make their way into the world.
Biographies & Memoirs Buddhism Entertainment History Judaism Writing & Publishing
Contemporary Fiction Literary Fiction
English (US)
  • Two National Magazine Awards
  • Client long-listed for 2019 National Book Award
  • Client won short story collection contest and 2020 publication

Work experience


Jan, 2015 — Present

I work with individuals, publishers, and organizations to develop books and other creative content.

The Literarian

Dec, 2010 — Jan, 2014 (about 3 years)

Launched and edited a literary magazine for the Center for Fiction in New York, working with a wide variety of well-established and debut authors.

Reader's Digest

Feb, 2010 — Nov, 2014 (over 4 years)

Assessing, acquiring, editing and shaping substantial book excerpts for Reader's Digest magazine, covering the full book market, and gaining a comprehensive understanding of the marketplace. In this position, I also acquired and edited original content, working with everyone from Pulitzer Prize winners to novices.

More Magazine

Dec, 2006 — Feb, 2010 (about 3 years)

Acquired and edited articles and book excerpts and covered the whole book market for a mass circulation women's magazines with one-million plus circulation.

O, The Oprah Magazine

Oct, 1999 — Nov, 2006 (about 7 years)

Helped launch the magazine and create its architecture. Extensively acquired and edited articles and book excerpts for seven years.


Hiro's War

Taniguchi, R.

Praise for Dancing with Elephants:"If you need some encouragement in living with joy, read this book. It will change your perspective on everything." —Lana Philips "Sawatsky beautifully models a way to dance in the gale of full catastrophe, to celebrate life, ... read more
"Very few people have spent as much time as William E. Glassley in such deep wilderness. So it would behoove us to pay attention even if he had not brought back such a fascinating, lovely, and useful set of observations. This is a remarkable book." ―Bill McKib... read more
Cry Sanctuary

Kulikowski, C.

Hamlet's Mirror

Kanefield, E.

Tuscan Son

Berne, R.

In her debut memoir, Carole Firstman traces her strained relationship with her eccentric and distant father, a gifted biology professor whose research on scorpions may have contributed to the evolutionary theories of Stephen Jay Gould. Through unexpected forms... read more
Loreena's Gift

Colleen M.

** WINNER: 1st Place Idaho Author Awards (2016 Fiction) ** ** SOLO MEDALIST: New Apple Book Awards (2016 Cross Genre)**** WINNER: Foreword Indies Book Awards (Silver, 2016 Fantasy) **** HONORABLE MENTION: Reader Views Literary Awards (2016 General Fiction)** F... read more
Two young Americans meet en route to studying in Spain and forge an unusually close friendship. Once back in the United States, one of the women, who is married, invites the younger to come live with her and her husband. Over time a ménage à trois develops. Bu... read more
Camille, Rosanna, and Joanne are three former models who’ve been the best of friends since their runway days. They may have gained a little cellulite, but they’ve also packed on a whole lot of wit and savvy. Their Sex and the City–like escapades in Manhattan’s... read more
Funny, thought-provoking, and always entertaining, personal essayist Marion Winik is known for decades of storytelling on NPR and the stunning memoir First Comes Love. Memory and identity are the focus of this new collection, Guesswork, drawn from a column tha... read more
Winner of Child magazine’s Book of the Year award for her hilarious and candid book on single motherhood, The Lunch-Box Chronicles, Marion Winik returns to the topic of parenting in these nine essays. Beginning with the story of her second wedding and her move... read more
Ona Gritz has had cerebral palsy all her life, but until she gave birth to her son, she didn’t really understand what it meant to be disabled. Her cerebral palsy affects her coordination and balance but not enough to have ever truly hindered her. “For the most... read more
In Nest. Flight. Sky: On Love and Loss, One Wing at a Time, award-winning memoirist Beth Kephart returns to the form for the first time in years to reckon with the loss of her mother and a slow-growing but soon inescapable obsession with birds and flight. Keph... read more

Dawn has 17 reviews





Byron S.

Byron S.

May, 2023

Excellent once again!
Gabe R.

Gabe R.

May, 2023

Dawn was incredibly insightful and I am very grateful she was able to edit my project.
Dawn R.
Gabe, it was truly a pleasure to work with you! Dawn
Kristen F.

Kristen F.

May, 2023

I am beyond pleased with my collaboration with Dawn thus far. Her responses to questions are timely and thoughtful. Her suggested edits have balanced her expertise against deference to my art and my story. I am thrilled to be taking my manuscript to its next iteration with her guidance.
Dawn R.
Thank you, Kristen! It's a joy to work with you!
Byron S.

Byron S.

Mar, 2023

I feel especially fortunate to have been able to work with Dawn -- very helpful insights and guidance from a true professional.
Dawn R.
Thank you! It was truly a pleasure to work with you.
Kathleen L.

Kathleen L.

Feb, 2023

Dawn was wonderful to work with. She helped me see where I could improve my piece, corrected my many grammatical errors, and made suggestions that cut out unnecessary words to make each sentence more effective. I'm so grateful she accepted my request for editing!
Dawn R.
Thank you! It was a pleasure to work with you.