James Magniac

James Magniac – Editor

Developmental editor and former literary fiction editor at two-time Man Booker-winning publisher Oneworld Publications


"James explored the work with extreme care, and left no page and detail unchecked … He understood—almost instinctively—my aesthetic style and offered salient recommendations. I am the better for this partnership—both as a writer and a creative. Thank you."
Aya Saed, Reedsy, 2020


I specialise in editorial assessments and developmental edits for literary fiction and upmarket commercial fiction. Having worked in the editorial departments at two of London’s most prestigious and fiercely independent publishers—Oneworld Publications and Granta Books—I have spent the last decade reading, assessing, positioning, and editing works of prize-winning literary fiction. I want to use my insider’s knowledge to help make your novel the best it can be, and to de-mystify the publishing process so that you can choose the right path when taking your work to market.

I spent five years as a fiction editor at independent publisher Oneworld (2012-2017) where I was brought in to help build the company’s fiction list. Working closely with the Publisher in a small, hands-on team, I took great pride in working with authors at every stage of the editorial process, from early to advanced stages of editing. In 2015-16, we won back-to-back Man Booker Prizes with Marlon James’s A Brief History of Seven Killings (2015) and Paul Beatty’s The Sellout (2016); the Guardian described it as ‘an incredible achievement for any publisher, let alone one the size of Oneworld’. We also won a bunch of other literary prizes, and won the IPG Trade Publisher of the Year in 2016.

I focus on working with individual authors on a freelance basis, focusing on works of literary and upmarket commercial fiction—so if that's you, drop me a line!


'James is that rarest of things: an excellent reader and editor with a fine, critical mind who also has extensive knowledge of the publishing marketplace. He has considerable experience working on fiction and non-fiction across a wide array of genres and is a complete pleasure to work with. I know James would be a huge help to aspiring, and established, writers.'
—Rosalind Porter, Deputy Editor, Granta Magazine

‘James has an excellent editorial eye and is a delight to work with. He has a rare insider’s knowledge of how publishers acquire and publish literary and upmarket commercial fiction, and he has a wonderfully deft touch when it comes to instilling confidence and helping writers find their voice.’
—Jenny Parrott, Publishing Director, Point Blank, Oneworld Publications
Contemporary Fiction Cultural & Ethnic Historical Fiction LGBTQ Fiction Literary Fiction Mystery & Crime Short Story Thriller & Suspense
English (AUS) English (CAN) English (NZ) English (SA) English (UK) English (US)
  • Oneworld Publications won back-to-back Man Booker Prizes in 2015 and 2016
  • Queen Mary University of London
  • University of Oxford

Work experience


Aug, 2017 — Present

As a freelance editorial consultant, I work with literary agents, literary scouts, book publishers, and writers. I offer structural consultancy and advice on editorial issues; I also mentor writers, assess manuscripts, book-doctor, and help authors in difficulty.

Oneworld Publications

Jun, 2012 — Aug, 2017 (about 5 years)

Working closely with the Publisher, I read and assessed all fiction submissions, commissioned translations, and provided structural and developmental edits on literary fiction working with writers at early and advanced stages of editing. I also helped: launch a crime imprint, Point Blank; launch a young adult imprint, Rock the Boat; and develop Oneworld’s list of prize-winning fiction in translation.

Granta Books

May, 2010 — Jun, 2012 (about 2 years)

I read and assessed literary fiction for the editorial department, writing clear and professional reports on agented submissions. Reports included comment on: content; storyline (if appropriate); style and tone; suitability to market; likelihood it will be taken on by commercial/literary publishers; recommendations for further work required.


The Sellout

Paul Beatty

**WINNER OF THE MAN BOOKER PRIZE 2016**‘Outrageous, hilarious and profound.’ Simon Schama, Financial Times‘The longer you stare at Beatty’s pages, the smarter you’ll get.’ The Guardian‘The most badass first 100 pages of an American novel I’ve read.’ The New Yo... read more
The Water Thief

Claire Hajaj

How much would you risk to right a wrong? From the award-winning author of Ishmael’s Oranges comes a searing novel with a profound moral conflict at its heart.When a heart attack kills his father, young architect Nick abandons his comfortable London life to vo... read more
When she was good she was very, very good. But when she was bad she was horrid!Pearl can be very, very good. More often, though, she is very, very bad. But she’s just a child. A mystery to all who know her; a little girl who has her own secret reasons for esca... read more
Back Up

Paul Colize

Berlin, 1967: four members of the British rock band Pearl Harbor die at the same time but in separate locations. Inexplicably, the police conclude natural causes are to blame. Brussels, 2010: A homeless man is hit by a car outside the Gare du Midi, leaving him... read more

Paul Lynch

Orchid & the Wasp

Caoilinn Hughes

'Caoilinn Hughes is a massive talent.' – Anthony Doerr, Pulitzer Prize-winning author of All the Light We Cannot See A dazzlingly original debut set in Dublin, London and New York, exploring the ethical underbelly of contemporary society through the coming-of-... read more
Haunted by a past that has kept her from Nairobi for over three years, Leena returns home to discover her family unchanged: her father is still a staunch patriot dreaming of a better country; her mother is still an arch traditionalist, unwilling or unable to l... read more
A Siege of Bitterns

Steve Burrows

Newly appointed police inspector Domenic Jejeune doesn’t mind ruffling a few feathers. Indeed his success has elevated him into a poster boy for the police. The problem is Jejeune doesn’t really want to be a detective at all; he much prefers watching birds.Rec... read more
A gritty and gorgeous debut that follows a cast of gay and transgender club kids navigating the Harlem ballroom scene of the 1980s and ’90s, inspired by the real House of Xtravaganza made famous by the seminal documentary Paris Is Burning It’s 1980 in New York... read more
On the day that Obinna’s village is savagely attacked by the rebel army and his father murdered, he witnesses violence beyond his imagination. Along with his older brother he finds himself thrown into a truck when the soldiers leave, to be shaped into an agent... read more

Anakana Schofield

A wickedly funny and wonderfully deranged literary debut introducing a brilliant new voice in contemporary Irish fiction
Shortlisted for the Prix Goncourt Winner of the Goncourt du Premier RomanWinner of the Prix des Cinq Continents Winner of the Prix Francois MauriacTHE NOVEL THAT HAS TAKEN THE INTERNATIONAL LITERARY WORLD BY STORMHe was the brother of `the Arab' killed by the ... read more
Little Nothing

Marisa Silver

An enchanting, atmospheric new novel from New York Times-bestselling author Marisa Silver In an unnamed country at the beginning of the last century, a peasant couple longs for a child. In despair they turn to gypsy tonics and archaic prescriptions, and one co... read more

James has 19 reviews





Steven H.

Steven H.

Dec, 2023

James was a perceptive, insightful and sensitive reader of my MS and provided an editorial assessment that understood what I was attempting to accomplish and gave me guidance as to how to better achieve my aims. His comments were thorough and intelligent and I now have a better novel thanks to his assistance. I would recommend James to anyone looking for the sort of editorial assessment and que...
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Mo V.

Mo V.

Jul, 2022

James' review was spot on. He got to the heart of the problems I was facing, suggesting ways of resolving and strengthening my novel. I am now reworking the draft, confident in the knowledge that I'm on the right tracks. He went far beyond the service I was expecting, discussing characterisation, point of view, and plot (the weak part!) with a professionalism and sensitivity I really appreciat...
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Peter L.

Peter L.

Jun, 2022

James was fantastic to work with. He gave a clear roadmap for working together. Communicated effectively. Read and reviewed my novel with compassionate and insightful feedback. I will be working with James in the future and would happily recommend him to others.
Abhay P.

Abhay P.

Jun, 2022

It was a pleasure working with James and his incisive observations have been helpful in taking the first draft of my novel forward.
Veronica Z.

Veronica Z.

Oct, 2021

Very, very satisfied. Collaborate with him. James is encouraging, thorough, tough and fair. I collaborated with him for an Editorial Assessment. He accurately describes strengths and more importantly weaknesses and areas where the work can be improved. I found him to be highly respectful of the writer's role, his as an editor with an eye for the developmental aspects of the work, and well ve...
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