Donato M., Ph.D.

Donato M., Ph.D. – Editor

In publishing since 2001, I have editorial experience with several literary genres and non-fiction disciplines, at all stages of development


People often ask me: "What's the secret to becoming a successful writer?" The answer: effective editing.

Whether your project is in its early phases or is in need of that final push and polish, I can help you. I am keen to take on projects with writers at any level of experience, and/or writing projects at any stage of development. I have worked with established authors and eminent scholars, as well as with beginners and with highly talented first book authors.

In practice, my editing style is interactive — sensitive to the needs of the occasion. My goal is not only to help you improve your manuscript, but to provide you with tools and inculcate habits that will make you a better writer overall.

Projects I have worked on include books of fiction, poetry, linguistics, medieval studies, law, and art criticism. As an omnivorous, well-rounded reader, I can accurately tune in to the stylistic requirements of any genre.

I offer copy-editing, substantive editing, developmental editing, book project mentorship, as well as fact-checking and simple proofreading. In addition, I can offer expert research assistance and grant writing services.



I've had the pleasure of working with many prominent Canadian literary editors. I can state without hesitation that my collaboration with Dr. M. has been the most productive editorial relationship I have enjoyed to date. Dr. M. displays an intuitive understanding of authorial intent, and an impressive capacity for offering suggestions about the best methods to attain those objectives. His approach is responsive and collaborative. He's adept at establishing and maintaining a truly supportive relationship. - Mike Blouin

Donato is the kind of editor who isn’t interested in simply drywalling away the holes in the walls. He will be your assistant architect and will help you envision a new structure out of the foundation that you have already constructed. As I have completed two books of poetry with his editing suggestions, I can attest to his skill at disrupting my inner solipsist. What’s wonderful about Donato is that he doesn’t tell you what to think, rather he offers multiple potentialities. Donato is not some cursory copy-editor; he will open things up and allow you to surprise yourself. - Tom Prime

I recently approached Dr. Donato M. with the goal of learning how to write a short story. He set the bar high right from the start, but he also provided me with enough practical knowledge to approach the task with confidence. That is saying a lot, due to the fact I'm a neophyte at writing fiction. A series of highly instructive revisions followed wherein I gained insights into different aspects of writing, such as effective story structure and the value of dramatic irony. Dr. M.'s encouragement and professionalism helped make the entire learning process a rewarding experience. - Tom Koperwas

Art Law Philosophy
English (CAN)
  • Griffin Poetry Prize (Nominee, 2018)
  • Canada Council for the Arts (Research and Creation, 2020)
  • Social Sciences and Humanities Research Council of Canada (Post-Doctoral Fellowship, 2018-2020)
  • Paul G. Stanwood Dissertation Prize (University of British Columbia, 2016)
  • Social Sciences and Humanities Research Council of Canada (Doctoral Scholarship, 2011)
  • British Columbia Arts Council (Grants to Individual Writers, 2009)
  • Doctor of Philosophy (English Literature, University of British Columbia)
  • Master of Arts (English Literature, Simon Fraser University)
  • Bachelor of Arts (History in Art, University of Victoria)

Work experience


Jan, 2014 — Present

Since 2014, I have been providing developmental editing, copy-editing, proofreading, and manuscript mentorship for a variety of authors, in a diverse range of fields. Through my training as a literary scholar and my experience as a widely published creative writer, I understand many different writing genres. Whatever stage your writing is at, together we can take it to the next level.

Johns Hopkins University

Jan, 2018 — Jan, 2020 (about 2 years)

At Hopkins, I mainly conducted research for my book A Flea the Size of Paris. The book comprises translations of comically surreal French poetry from the 13th-century, along with annotations and a lengthy introduction. My responsibilities on this volume included all the copy-editing, and the proofreading of the foreign language texts. Working across three languages, it was the most difficult editing task I have ever undertaken, and I am proud of the book's success.

University of Windsor

Sep, 2017 — Jan, 2018 (4 months)

During the residency, my time was split 60/40 between my own creative writing and public teaching duties. The teaching included: weekly manuscript consultations with numerous writing students, class visits, and a special writing seminar integrated into the upper-level creative writing curriculum. In Windsor I gained a lot of experience editing fiction, because most of the students submitted fiction for their manuscript consultations.

Various Authors

Mar, 2017 — Present

Since 2017, I have worked periodically as an assistant for two authors (one a scholar, one a creative writer) and for one mid-career classical music composer. My responsibilities vary considerably.

At various times, I may:

— edit works-in-progress (developmental editing, copy-editing, substantive editing, etc.)
— co-write parts of these works-in-progress
— act as an expert sounding board for ideas
— conduct primary research
— compile annotated bibliographies
— proofread citations
— fact-check
— produce subject indexes
— translate from French to English
— research grant opportunities
— write grant applications
— handle correspondence with contributors to a multi-author volume

University of British Columbia; Simon Fraser University

Sep, 2006 — May, 2017 (over 10 years)

As part of my graduate studies, I worked as a teaching assistant for a variety of literature courses at UBC and at SFU. I designed lessons, and often gave lectures. Most of all, I was responsible for grading all the students' writing throughout the semester. The courses were writing intensive, with up to 5 assignments per student, per semester, and as many as 60 students. The skills I acquired through teaching writing to hundreds of students in this way inform my work as an editor.

All Music

Jun, 2000 — Jan, 2003 (over 2 years)

Over the course of three years, I sold nearly 1,000 short (500 word) articles about music to the online encyclopedia All Music. Many years later, hundreds of my articles are still on the site, and are still quoted in concert programs. I also took a minor in music composition at the University of Victoria. It would be a joy to work with music writers - so go ahead and get in touch. Let's see if I would be a good fit for your project.

Donato has 7 reviews





Isaac L.

Isaac L.

May, 2024

Donato is a consummate professional, but more importantly, he is a poet. I had the privilege of working with him for a couple of months, and I’m here to tell you to drop everything, grab your best five or six poems and send them along. He draws on a huge swath of poets to help you tune your ear to your own poems: what is going on in there? is that the note you wanted to ring? how does it balan...
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Paul M.

Paul M.

Apr, 2024

This was my first experience working with an editor and I must say that he exceeded all of my expectations. His profile was thorough and informative, giving me confidence that he could meet my needs. He was easy to communicate with and very responsive. He addressed every issue I presented to him and vastly exceeded my expectations with respect to thoroughness and the quality of his suggestio...
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Spencer C.

Spencer C.

Oct, 2023

Donato's attention to detail and connections is beyond anything I had ever expected. He is understanding in the perspectives and methods you try to take, and is very encouraging, even when giving constructive criticism. You can feel the personality and drive he has for you to be the best writer you can be. He always responds on time and makes sure to keep up with any reasonable updates. I can...
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Chris H.

Chris H.

Sep, 2023

Donato did everything as promised. Very happy with his help. I recommend him highly.
Alex H.

Alex H.

Jul, 2023

Pleasant, patient, and insightful. In his Manuscript Assessment, Donato offered fruitful feedback on multiple aspects of my writing, all appropriate to the stage my writing is in. His assessment will continue to provide guidance both in my current edits, and moreover, in my development as a writer. I truly appreciate the time and care spent to highlight major themes, and procure the food-for-th...
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