Jack Livings

Jack Livings – Editor

Award winning fiction writer published by FSG. Former editor at The Paris Review, Fortune, Newsweek. I'm religious about narrative.

Overview

I’m a writer and editor with two decades of experience working with short story writers, novelists, and journalists. I studied fiction at the Iowa Writers’ Workshop with Marilynne Robinson and Elizabeth McCracken and was a Wallace Stegner Fellow at Stanford, where I worked with Tobias Wolff. My short story collection The Dog won the PEN / Bingham Award for debut fiction in 2015. I’ve also received two Pushcart prizes and the Rome Prize for Literature. My first novel, The Blizzard Party, was published by FSG in early 2021, was named a best book of the year by Kirkus, and was long listed for the Cabell First Novelist Award.


As an editor, I’ve worked with writers who’ve gone on to win National Book Awards and Pulitzers. In recent years I've served as a developmental editor on fiction published by Houghton Mifflin, Harper Collins, Simon & Schuster and Ecco, among others. My editorial career started at The Paris Review, where I worked on short fiction and interviewed Salman Rushdie and Tobias Wolff for the Art of Fiction series. I’ve also worked as an editor at Newsweek and Time, Inc., where I trained and edited journalists for overseas editions of magazines including Fortune, Sports Illustrated, Travel + Leisure, and Food & Wine.


Whether editing fiction or nonfiction, novelists or journalists, I strive to hone narrative, character, and language, and to elevate what Toni Morrison called the deep structure of a work--the essential nature of the story. Sometimes all your work needs is a second set of eyes; sometimes it needs a bone-deep edit. Regardless of how you want me to approach your manuscript, my goal is to help you make your story sing. I edit on your terms, according to what you want to accomplish.


I'm happy to work with authors of fiction, memoir, and non-fiction about culture, literature, current events, travel, sports, or anything else you're passionate about. Whether you're just getting started or have a complete manuscript that you'd like to get across the finish line, I'm here to help.



Services
Non-Fiction
Biographies & Memoirs
Fiction
Contemporary Fiction Historical Fiction Literary Fiction Short Story
Languages
English (US)
Awards
  • PEN / Robert Bingham Award for Fiction
  • Rome Prize for Literature
  • Pushcart Prize (2009, 2014)
Certifications
  • M.F.A., Iowa Writers' Workshop
  • Wallace Stegner Fellow, Stanford University
  • A.B., English, Davidson College

Work experience

Self

Jan, 2000 — Present

Short fiction published in The Paris Review, A Public Space, StoryQuarterly, The New Delta Review, Tin House, Guernica, Best American Short Stories, and Pushcart Prize Stories anthologies. Reviews and scholarly noodling in Newsweek International, the San Francisco Chronicle, and Nabokov Studies. My story collection, The Dog, published by FSG, won the PEN / Bingham Award for Debut Fiction, the Rome Prize for Literature, and was named to best book of the year lists by the New York Times and the Times Literary Supplement. My novel, The Blizzard Party, was published by FSG in the winter of 2021.

Princeton University

Sep, 2023 — Present

I teach introductory and advanced fiction writing.

Stanford Continuing Studies

Mar, 2021 — Present

I teach novel writing in the Online Writing Certificate program, as well as short fiction writing.

Fortune Media Group

Dec, 2018 — Apr, 2020 (over 1 year)

I worked closely with editors and reporters at Fortune's editions in China, Korea, India, Turkey, Italy, Greece, and Mexico with a particular focus on the creation of narrative backbones for longer stories. At some magazines I top edited every story and helped set each edition's overall editorial strategy.

Time, Inc. / Meredith

Jul, 2011 — Dec, 2018 (over 7 years)

I top edited the overseas editions of magazines including Fortune, Sports Illustrated, Golf, Travel+Leisure, Departures, and Food & Wine (over 50 editions worldwide).

Newsweek International

Jun, 2003 — Jul, 2011 (about 8 years)

I oversaw licensed editions of Newsweek in China, Korea, Japan, Russia, Turkey, Indonesia, the Levant, Argentina, Poland, and Mexico. I also helped build Newsweek Pakistan.

The Paris Review

Sep, 2002 — Sep, 2007 (about 5 years)

I edited short fiction for the magazine and interviewed Tobias Wolff and Salman Rushdie for the The Art of Fiction series.

Jack has 62 reviews

Professionalism

Quality

Value

Responsiveness

David P.

David P.

Apr, 2024

I looked at what Jack had written and the comments and advice he gave me and it's like a mini-course in writing. He helped me solve a lot of issues regarding clarity, length, wordiness, and general structure in my stories. I'm still taking apart his comments and advice and digesting it all, which is exactly what I was looking for. Very satisfied and hope to work with him again.
Brett S.

Brett S.

Mar, 2024

Great ability to analyze the strength and weakness of the story, Insightful in offering suggestions for further exploration. Rigorous in feedback on sentence structure. Would strongly recommend his services.
Leah E.

Leah E.

Feb, 2024

This is my first project on Reedsy and I'm still processing all of Jack's feedback but on first reading, it's more valuable than I even imagined. Suddenly, I'm seeing my project in a completely new light with new potential. I'm not only excited to integrate Jack's feedback, but I now believe the project can be even better than I expected. I'm so grateful for the experience and to have benefite...
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Jonathan G.

Jonathan G.

Jan, 2024

Jack has provided editorial services for multiple short stories of mine in the last few years. His recommendations are consistently insightful and actionable. He brings a clear-eyed but supportive approach to his critiques that inspires further development. It is clear from his comments that he has read extensively and thought deeply about the craft of storytelling. I highly recommend working w...
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Emily G.

Emily G.

Sep, 2023

Jack is an amazing writer, reader, editor, and teacher. I worked with Jack on developmental edits for my book-length short story collection manuscript (literary fiction), and he was everything I could have hoped for in an editor. He read each story very deeply and returned them to me with detailed commentary, questions, and suggestions. As I worked through the notes, I messaged him with additio...
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