John Knight

John Knight - Editor

Harrisville, NH, USA

Seasoned fiction and non-fiction editor specializing in literature, memoir, and biography with 10+ years experience at FSG and McSweeney's

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Overview

I'm an editor with more than 10 years of experience in San Francisco and New York trade publishing. I've done everything from developing nonfiction to line editing novels to conceptualizing book proposals. I've worked with editors and agents across the industry, and know what makes a good story a book, and what makes a proposal appealing to publishers.

I began editing at McSweeney's where I assisted Dave Eggers, and then founded a long-form journalism magazine that I edited for two years. After that I moved to Farrar, Straus and Giroux where I worked for nearly five years, acquiring and editing bestselling and award-winning titles across a variety of categories. I now work as an independent editor, helping authors develop stories, create proposals, and line-edit novels. I have a Masters degree in comparative literature, and have worked on literary fiction, essay collections, memoirs, biographies, cultural histories, and narrative journalism.

I'm excited to work with authors on literary fiction and nonfiction works that include current affairs, technology, art, literature, culture, nature, memoir, science, politics, and history. I work closely with writers to develop the narrative structure for their story, and to write well about their subject. Whether you are looking to put together a proposal for agents, to polish a manuscript to self-publish, or find an editor to help develop a narrative structure or line-edit a complete manuscript, I will work closely with you to find what is most compelling about your book, and build on those strengths.
Languages
English (UK)
English (US)
Non-Fiction
Art
Biographies & Memoirs
History
Music
Nature
Political Science & Current Affairs
Fiction
Literary Fiction
Short Story

Work experience

Independent Book Editor

Self-employed
June, 2017 – Present (about 3 years)

Editor

Farrar, Straus and Giroux
March, 2013 – June, 2017 (over 4 years)

Editor in Chief

Once Magazine
September, 2010 – September, 2012 (about 2 years)

Assistant Editor

McSweeney's
May, 2010 – May, 2012 (about 2 years)

Portfolio (14 selected works)

Impossible Owls: Essays

Brian Phillips

NEW YORK TIMES BESTSELLER. SEMI-FINALIST FOR THE PEN/DIAMONSTEIN-SPIELVOGEL AWARD FOR ART OF THE ESSAY.One of Amazon, Buzzfeed, ELLE, Electric Literature and Pop Sugar's Best Books of 2018. Named one of the Best Books of October and Fall by Amazon, Buzzfeed, TIME, Vulture, The Millions and Vol. 1 Brooklyn.“Hilarious, nimble, and thoroughly illuminating.” ―Colson Whitehead, author of The Underg... read more

NEW YORK TIMES BESTSELLER. SEMI-FINALIST FOR THE PEN/DIAMONSTEIN-SPIELVOGEL AWARD FOR ART OF THE ESSAY.One of Amazon, Buzzfeed, ELLE, Electric Literature and Pop Sugar's Best Books of 2018. Named one of the Best Books of October and Fall by Amazon, Buzzfeed, TIME, Vulture, The Millions and Vol. 1 Brooklyn.“Hilarious, nimble, and thoroughly illuminating.” ―Colson Whitehead, author of The Underg... read more

Dear Cyborgs: A Novel

Eugene Lim

One of Vol. 1 Brooklyn's Favorite Fiction Books of 2017, a Literary Hub Staff Favorite Book of 2017, and one of BOMB Magazine's "Looking Back on 2017: Literature" Selections."Wondrous . . . [A] sense of the erratic and tangential quality of everyday life―even if it’s displaced into a bizarre, parallel world―drifts off the page, into the world you see, after reading Dear Cyborgs." ―Hua Hsu, The... read more

One of Vol. 1 Brooklyn's Favorite Fiction Books of 2017, a Literary Hub Staff Favorite Book of 2017, and one of BOMB Magazine's "Looking Back on 2017: Literature" Selections."Wondrous . . . [A] sense of the erratic and tangential quality of everyday life―even if it’s displaced into a bizarre, parallel world―drifts off the page, into the world you see, after reading Dear Cyborgs." ―Hua Hsu, The... read more

The Kingdom: A Novel

Emmanuel Carrère

A sweeping fictional account of the early Christians, whose unlikely beliefs conquered the worldGripped by the tale of a Messiah whose blood we drink and body we eat, the genre-defying author Emmanuel Carrère revisits the story of the early Church in his latest work. With an idiosyncratic and at times iconoclastic take on the charms and foibles of the Church fathers, Carrère ferries readers th... read more

A sweeping fictional account of the early Christians, whose unlikely beliefs conquered the worldGripped by the tale of a Messiah whose blood we drink and body we eat, the genre-defying author Emmanuel Carrère revisits the story of the early Church in his latest work. With an idiosyncratic and at times iconoclastic take on the charms and foibles of the Church fathers, Carrère ferries readers th... read more

James Wright: A Life in Poetry

Jonathan Blunk

The authorized and sweeping biography of one of America’s most complex, influential, and enduring poetsIn the extraordinary generation of American poets who came of age in the middle of the twentieth century, James Wright (1927–1980) was frequently placed at the top of the list. With a fierce, single-minded devotion to his work, Wright escaped the steel town of his Depression-era childhood in ... read more

The authorized and sweeping biography of one of America’s most complex, influential, and enduring poetsIn the extraordinary generation of American poets who came of age in the middle of the twentieth century, James Wright (1927–1980) was frequently placed at the top of the list. With a fierce, single-minded devotion to his work, Wright escaped the steel town of his Depression-era childhood in ... read more

Gamelife: A Memoir

Michael W. Clune

You have been awakened.Floppy disk inserted, computer turned on, a whirring, and then this sentence, followed by a blinking cursor. So begins Suspended, the first computer game to obsess seven-year-old Michael, to worm into his head and change his sense of reality. Thirty years later he will write: "Computer games have taught me the things you can't learn from people."Gamelife is the memoir of... read more

You have been awakened.Floppy disk inserted, computer turned on, a whirring, and then this sentence, followed by a blinking cursor. So begins Suspended, the first computer game to obsess seven-year-old Michael, to worm into his head and change his sense of reality. Thirty years later he will write: "Computer games have taught me the things you can't learn from people."Gamelife is the memoir of... read more

The Selfishness of Others: An Essay on the Fear of Narcissism

Kristin Dombek

They're among us, but they are not like us. They manipulate, lie, cheat, and steal. They are irresistibly charming and accomplished, appearing to live in a radiance beyond what we are capable of. But narcissists are empty. No one knows exactly what everyone else is full of--some kind of a soul, or personhood--but whatever it is, experts agree that narcissists do not have it.So goes the popular... read more

They're among us, but they are not like us. They manipulate, lie, cheat, and steal. They are irresistibly charming and accomplished, appearing to live in a radiance beyond what we are capable of. But narcissists are empty. No one knows exactly what everyone else is full of--some kind of a soul, or personhood--but whatever it is, experts agree that narcissists do not have it.So goes the popular... read more

What Belongs to You: A Novel

Garth Greenwell

Longlisted for the National Book Award in Fiction • A Finalist for the PEN/Faulkner Award for Fiction • A Finalist for the Los Angeles Times Book Prize for Fiction • A Finalist for the James Taite Black Prize for Fiction • A Finalist the Center for Fiction First Novel Prize • A Finalist for the Green Carnation Prize • A New York Times Book Review Editors’ Choice • A Los Angeles Times Bestselle... read more

Longlisted for the National Book Award in Fiction • A Finalist for the PEN/Faulkner Award for Fiction • A Finalist for the Los Angeles Times Book Prize for Fiction • A Finalist for the James Taite Black Prize for Fiction • A Finalist the Center for Fiction First Novel Prize • A Finalist for the Green Carnation Prize • A New York Times Book Review Editors’ Choice • A Los Angeles Times Bestselle... read more

Void Star: A Novel

Zachary Mason

A riveting, beautifully written, fugue-like novel of AIs, memory, violence, and mortalityNot far in the future the seas have risen and the central latitudes are emptying, but it’s still a good time to be rich in San Francisco, where weapons drones patrol the skies to keep out the multitudinous poor. Irina isn’t rich, not quite, but she does have an artificial memory that gives her perfect reca... read more

A riveting, beautifully written, fugue-like novel of AIs, memory, violence, and mortalityNot far in the future the seas have risen and the central latitudes are emptying, but it’s still a good time to be rich in San Francisco, where weapons drones patrol the skies to keep out the multitudinous poor. Irina isn’t rich, not quite, but she does have an artificial memory that gives her perfect reca... read more

The Dawning Moon of the Mind: Unlocking the Pyramid Texts

Susan Brind Morrow

A stunning and original interpretation of an ancient system of poetic, religious, and philosophical thoughtBuried in the Egyptian desert some four thousand years ago, the Pyramid Texts are among the world’s oldest poetry. Yet ever since the discovery of these hieroglyphs in 1881, they have been misconstrued by Western Egyptologists as a garbled collection of primitive myths and incantations, r... read more

A stunning and original interpretation of an ancient system of poetic, religious, and philosophical thoughtBuried in the Egyptian desert some four thousand years ago, the Pyramid Texts are among the world’s oldest poetry. Yet ever since the discovery of these hieroglyphs in 1881, they have been misconstrued by Western Egyptologists as a garbled collection of primitive myths and incantations, r... read more

Knots: Stories

Gunnhild Øyehaug

A mesmerizing collection of playfully surreal stories from one of Norway’s most celebrated writersFirst published in Norway in 2004, Knots is Gunnhild Øyehaug’s radical collection of short stories that range from the surreal to the oddly mundane, and prod the discomforts of mental, sexual, and familial bonds.In both precise short-shorts and ruminative longer tales, Øyehaug meanders through the... read more

A mesmerizing collection of playfully surreal stories from one of Norway’s most celebrated writersFirst published in Norway in 2004, Knots is Gunnhild Øyehaug’s radical collection of short stories that range from the surreal to the oddly mundane, and prod the discomforts of mental, sexual, and familial bonds.In both precise short-shorts and ruminative longer tales, Øyehaug meanders through the... read more

Cannibals in Love: A Novel

Mike Roberts

A post-9/11 novel about the love, self-destruction, absurdity, and ambition that define the millennialsSoulful, gritty, and hilarious, Cannibals in Love is the debut novel from a bold new voice in fiction, and a manifesto for the generation that came of age at the dawn of the twenty-first century. Mike is about to graduate from college and inherit a world much different from the one he was pro... read more

A post-9/11 novel about the love, self-destruction, absurdity, and ambition that define the millennialsSoulful, gritty, and hilarious, Cannibals in Love is the debut novel from a bold new voice in fiction, and a manifesto for the generation that came of age at the dawn of the twenty-first century. Mike is about to graduate from college and inherit a world much different from the one he was pro... read more

Eye of the Sixties: Richard Bellamy and the Transformation of Modern Art

Judith E. Stein

In 1959, Richard Bellamy was a witty, poetry-loving beatnik on the fringe of the New York art world who was drawn to artists impatient for change. By 1965, he was representing Mark di Suvero, was the first to show Andy Warhol’s pop art, and pioneered the practice of “off-site” exhibitions and introduced the new genre of installation art. As a dealer, he helped discover and champion many of the... read more

In 1959, Richard Bellamy was a witty, poetry-loving beatnik on the fringe of the New York art world who was drawn to artists impatient for change. By 1965, he was representing Mark di Suvero, was the first to show Andy Warhol’s pop art, and pioneered the practice of “off-site” exhibitions and introduced the new genre of installation art. As a dealer, he helped discover and champion many of the... read more

Future Sex

Emily Witt

A funny, fresh, and moving antidote to conventional attitudes about sex and the single womanEmily Witt is single and in her thirties. Up until a few years ago, she still envisioned her sexual experience “eventually reaching a terminus, like a monorail gliding to a stop at Epcot Center.” Like many people, she imagined herself disembarking, finding herself face-to-face with another human being, ... read more

A funny, fresh, and moving antidote to conventional attitudes about sex and the single womanEmily Witt is single and in her thirties. Up until a few years ago, she still envisioned her sexual experience “eventually reaching a terminus, like a monorail gliding to a stop at Epcot Center.” Like many people, she imagined herself disembarking, finding herself face-to-face with another human being, ... read more

Listening to Stone: The Art and Life of Isamu Noguchi

Hayden Herrera

A master of what he called "the sculpturing of space," Isamu Noguchi was a vital figure for modern public art. Born to an American mother and a Japanese father, Noguchi never felt like he belonged anywhere and spent his life assembling identities in his statues, monuments, and gardens. He traveled incessantly from New York to remote Japanese islands, from Paris to Bangladesh, synthesizing aest... read more

A master of what he called "the sculpturing of space," Isamu Noguchi was a vital figure for modern public art. Born to an American mother and a Japanese father, Noguchi never felt like he belonged anywhere and spent his life assembling identities in his statues, monuments, and gardens. He traveled incessantly from New York to remote Japanese islands, from Paris to Bangladesh, synthesizing aest... read more

John has 55 reviews

Professionalism
Professionalism
Quality
Quality
Value
Value
Communication & Punctuality
Communication & Punctuality

Colin Dowling
A thorough and useful editorial assessment balanced with criticism and encouragement. Excellent follow up on any questions or concerns.

Colin Dowling, August 2020


Ngonlardje MBAIDJOL
Very professional and available all times. I appreciate John's feedback and am ready to work with him again.

Ngonlardje MBAIDJOL, July 2020


Jeffrey Solomon
I liked working with John, and I believe that my work will benefit from it. His reading was astute, and he communicated that astuteness well. His manner was both professional and friendly, and he did exactly what he said he would do, and he did it when he said he would do it. I was satisfied by the experience, and I would work with him again.

Jeffrey Solomon, July 2020


Omar N
John did a great job with my academic text.

Omar N, July 2020


Rick Ferrara
I hired John to perform developmental and line edits, where necessary, to a late draft of my novel. John is a conscientious editor and good partner for a project, and I would hire him again. He takes care to read the material and look at the larger story arc, details, and (in a dev / line edit combination assignment) make necessary line edits to an MS. I think that his best qualities howeve...
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Rick Ferrara, July 2020

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