Helen Mortimer

Helen Mortimer – Editor

I am a freelance editor with over 25 years of in-house experience in children's publishing.


I am an extremely diligent and imaginative freelance editor with over 25 years’ in-house children’s publishing experience. Having worked for Oxford University Press, Simon and Schuster, Gullane Children’s Books, David Bennett Books, Quarto and HarperCollins, I offer a range of services that can be tailored to your needs.
My area of expertise is in picture books, gift books, young fiction, pre-school, novelty and illustrated non-fiction. I love the alchemy that develops on the page as words and pictures combine to create a powerful storytelling whole for children and adults alike.
I can provide manuscript review, story shaping, help with character development, plotting and pacing for both picture books and young fiction.
I have worked with some stellar authors and illustrators including Lauren Child, Catherine Rayner, Yuval Zommer, Valerie Thomas, Korky Paul, Jane Clarke, Tom Moorhouse, Richard Byrne, Corrinne Averiss, Fiona Woodcock, David Roberts and many, many more.
I think this testimonial from Layn Marlow best describes what it's like to work with me: ‘Helen is an exceptionally talented editor. I’ve always found her to have a light touch coupled with deep understanding and this sensitivity extends to the all-important visuals too. Helen always manages to be friendly, prompt and responsive at the same time as taking a well-considered, thoughtful approach to every project. For me, that’s a perfect combination!’

Children’s Non-Fiction
Middle Grade Picture Books
English (UK)
  • University of Cambridge MA Hons Geography

Work experience


Jul, 2019 — Present

Oxford University Press

Nov, 2004 — Jul, 2019 (over 14 years)

Through commissioning and delivering exciting picture books, character brands, young fiction and gift
publishing, I helped to shape and build a successful children’s list.

My stable of authors and illustrators included Richard Byrne, Corrinne Averiss, Fiona Woodcock, Sean Sims, Layn Marlow, Tim Warnes, Lalalimola, Mark Sperring, Lauren Child, Briony May Smith, Tom Moorhouse, Ross Collins, Rebecca Ashdown, Sarah McIntyre, Valerie Thomas, Korky Paul and Simon Rickerty.

• Commissioned and edited commercially successful titles with strong market and customer appeal.
• Attracted high-profile author and illustrator talent to the list, including David Roberts, Yuval Zommer
and Catherine Rayner.
• Generated new ideas, characters and concepts for pre-school titles, picture books and young fiction
before bringing creative teams together to realise them.
• Developed storylines and wrote texts.
• Rejuvenated backlist gems into new formats appropriate for today’s market.
• Provided trusted author and illustrator care, including career and creative development support.
• Offered industry insights to organisations such as SCBWI, Bath Spa University and The Story Museum
through one-to-one mentoring, panel events and presentations.


I want to go first!

Richard Byrne

The littlest always goes last―that’s the elephant rule. But Elphie, the littlest elephant, is determined to go first. And where there’s a will, there’s a way! With a little help from you, reader.From the author-illustrator of This book just ate my dog! comes a... read more
Title: I Don't Want to Be a Pea! <>Binding: Hardcover <>Author: AnnBonwill <>Publisher: AtheneumBooksforYoungReaders
We'll be there in a whisker!On a bright sunny day, Thistledown Meadow is the perfect place for a nature walk. But when frisky little kitten Ginger gets stung by a bee, it's up to Dr. KittyCat to come to her rescue!This book has two-color art inside! Supercute ... read more
A Dot in the Snow

Corrinne Averiss

As Miki the polar bear romps in the snow, he spots a bright red dot far off in the distance. It turns out to be . . . a little girl with a twinkly face and gurgling laugh! Now Miki has someone to play with. Together the brand-new friends toss snowballs, have i... read more
This Christmas, families can together this heartfelt, gorgeous holiday story about a lonely little Christmas tree that learns what it means to be loved—with a powerful message to children that they are perfect just as they are.A small, crookled fir tree is lef... read more
When her dog disappears into the gutter of the book, Bella calls for help. But when the helpers disappear too, Bella realizes it will take more than a tug on the leash to put things right. Cleverly using the physicality of the book, This book just ate my dog! ... read more

Helen has 4 reviews





Jenica L.

Jenica L.

Mar, 2021

Was a pleasure working with Helen. She was really detailed with her feedback and editing style and also very honest. Would be a pleasure to work with again if the opportunity arises.
Helen M.
Thank you so much for your review, Jenica. It was lovely to work with you again!
Juhi A.

Juhi A.

Aug, 2020

Helen is a very experienced editor. Her valuable editorial feedback helped in transforming my manuscript a lot. Thank you Helen for all your help.
Helen M.
Hello Juhi, I am glad you found the comments useful. Good luck with your ongoing work on this manuscript and your other ideas. Keep writing!
Jenica L.

Jenica L.

Jul, 2020

Working with Helen was a pleasure. Communication was great and delivery was ahead of time. Thank you so much.
Helen M.
Thank you so much for this review Jenica and good luck with all your publishing ventures!
Freeman N.

Freeman N.

Jun, 2020

Provided really detailed feedback on my picture book dummy, even going beyond what was asked for in a few cases, that didn't just point out lots of individual problems for me to fix, but helped me regularize the layout of the entire book in a way that, in itself, adding significantly to the power of the book. I felt like I had just undergone a course in picture book design!
Helen M.
Thank you for your review, Freeman, and best of luck for the rest of your picture book's journey.

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