Emma Dries

Emma Dries – Editor

Editor, teacher & writer. I've worked with bestselling and award-winning authors at Alfred A. Knopf, Doubleday and Ecco Books


"Emma is diligent and attentive, with the ability to be at once ruthless and gentle. This sounds a contradiction in terms, but is precisely what one wants in an editor. She’s a pleasure to work with, and the work itself is always the better for it." — Rumaan Alam, author of National Book Award Finalist Leave the World Behind

I am an editor, writer and teacher with a broad range of experience: I cut my teeth editing best-selling and award-winning authors at Alfred A. Knopf, Doubleday and Ecco Books. I have an M.F.A in Fiction from Johns Hopkins University, where I also taught fiction and poetry to undergraduates.

My experience on all sides of the creative process has led me to an editorial philosophy that prioritizes guiding authors to the best version of the story they want to tell. My role as an editor is not to shoehorn your work, but rather to help you, the author, bridge the gap between vision and execution, to help illuminate what might be buried just beneath the surface. I know that the best editorial feedback takes into consideration the overall arc of the book and its project, while also caring for the small parts—the words, the phrases, the sentences—that make up the greater whole.

I have experience with a wide range of genre—literary, upmarket and commercial fiction, graphic novels, short stories, history, narrative nonfiction, current events and essays. I have worked with authors at every step of the editorial process, and can provide services ranging from manuscript evaluation, to developmental editing, to line editing.

Biographies & Memoirs Humanities & Social Sciences Nature Political Science & Current Affairs
Contemporary Fiction Science Fiction Short Story Women's Fiction
English (US)
  • Master of Fine Arts in Fiction

Work experience

Johns Hopkins University

Sep, 2018 — Apr, 2021 (over 2 years)

• Teach a seminar of 15-30 undergraduates per semester using a curriculum I created, based on the standard departmental syllabus, which introduces students to the building blocks of creative writing.


Jun, 2017 — Present

Ecco Books, HarperCollins

Aug, 2016 — Aug, 2018 (about 2 years)

• Worked with Editorial Director to launch and handle multiple titles each season, while building my own acquisitions list. Contributed to editorial and author meetings. Managed submissions, read incoming fiction and drafted rejections. Composed catalog and flap copy, utilizing specific keywords in metadata to help drive traffic.
• Composed editorial letters and line edited authors, including Ben Fountain, Alissa Nutting, Eleanor Henderson, Louisa Hall, Rumaan Alam.

Alfred A. Knopf & Doubleday Books, Penguin Random House

May, 2015 — Aug, 2016 (over 1 year)

• Assisted two senior editors, publishing on the Knopf, Doubleday and Pantheon lists. Handled up to nine titles a season. Attended and contributed to editorial and author meetings. Read and reported on incoming fiction and nonfiction. Composed catalog and flap copy.
• Composed editorial letters and line edited authors, including Dave Eggers, Peter Heller, Katherine Heiny, Michael Finkel, Kory Stamper.

Flatiron Books, Macmillan

Sep, 2014 — Dec, 2014 (3 months)



Jesse Ball

NAMED A RECOMMENDED BOOK OF 2018 BY The New York Times • The Chicago Reader • Nylon • The Boston Globe • The Huffington Post • The Rumpus • The AV Club • Southern Living • The Millions • Buzzfeed • Esquire • Publishers WeeklyA powerful and moving new novel fro... read more

Elizabeth McCracken

A sweeping and enchanting new novel from the widely beloved, award-winning author Elizabeth McCracken about three generations of an unconventional New England family who own and operate a candlepin bowling alleyFrom the day she is discovered unconscious in a N... read more

Peter Heller

From the best-selling author of The Dog Stars and The Painter, a luminous, masterful novel of suspense--the story of Celine, an elegant, aristocratic private eye who specializes in reuniting families, trying to make amends for a loss in her own past. Working o... read more
Queen of Bebop

Elaine M. Hayes

Publishers Weekly Best Book of 2017Washington Post Best Book of 2017Amazon Editors' Top 100 Pick of the YearAmazon Best Humor and Entertainment Pick of the YearBooklist Top Ten Arts BookQueen of Bebop brilliantly chronicles the life of jazz singer Sarah Vaugha... read more
The Imagineers of War

Sharon Weinberger

The definitive history of the Defense Advanced Research Projects Agency, the Pentagon agency that has quietly shaped war and technology for nearly sixty years.Founded in 1958 in response to the launch of Sputnik, the agency’s original mission was to create “th... read more
Word by Word

Kory Stamper

“We think of English as a fortress to be defended, but a better analogy is to think of English as a child. We love and nurture it into being, and once it gains gross motor skills, it starts going exactly where we don’t want it to go: it heads right for the god... read more
In a sweeping work of reportage set over the course of 2016, New York Times bestselling author Ben Fountain recounts a surreal year of politics and an exploration of the third American existential crisis Twice before in its history, the United States has been ... read more
NAMED A RECOMMENDED BOOK OF 2018 BY:Buzzfeed • The Boston Globe • The Millions • InStyle • Southern Living • Vogue • Popsugar • Kirkus • The Washington Post • Library Journal • Real Simple • NPR“With his unerring eye for nuance and unsparing sense of irony, Ru... read more
NAMED A RECOMMENDED BOOK OF 2018 BY Buzzfeed • The Wall Street Journal • The Millions • Southern Living • Bustle • Esquire • Entertainment Weekly • Nylon • Mashable • Libary Journal • Thrillist“Cassaras’s propulsive and profound first novel, finding one’s home... read more

Emma has 1 review





Pauls T.

Pauls T.

Sep, 2021

Emma was wonderful to work with. I was (well, and remain) an anxious mess -- and she worked through it with calm and professionalism. Her letter was very detailed. It identified problems and offered some specific suggestions to fix them. The deeper structural problems she identified are obviously harder to fix, and kind of baked into the project -- so it's not a panacea -- but anything fixab...
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