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Matthew Somoroff

Matthew Somoroff - Editor

Durham, NC, United States

Copy editor specializing in humanities, social sciences, general and creative nonfiction, as well as literary fiction.

Overview

With years of experience in the publishing industry, an extensive background in scholarly and nonfiction writing, and an obsession with the craft of prose, I can take on editing projects ranging from light copyedits to intensive developmental editing. Each writer is different, and each project is unique. With a supportive, encouraging attitude, I work closely with authors to help them achieve their writing goals.

Testimonials from clients and authors:

"I want to send my thanks to you for the superlative copy edit. Your insights and suggestions are spot-on, and at many turns you've helped make the book a better and more accurate read." —Jas Obrecht, author of Talking Guitar: Conversations with Musicians Who Shaped Twentieth-Century American Music

"Thanks for your careful attention to my manuscript. I appreciate all the great catches." —Silas House, author of Southernmost

"Matthew made a lot of great catches, finding mistakes I’d made, and I’m most grateful. He also made a lot of great tweaks, improving sentences, and clarifying meaning." —Stacy Horn, author of Damnation Island

"Thank you so much for an incredibly smart and careful editing job! You have made the book immeasurably better and I'm grateful." —Amy Gash, Senior Editor at Algonquin Books

"Matthew Somoroff edits with a light and precise touch. He helped me clarify what I had to say through his corrections, the questions he raised, and the suggestions he posed in the margins. He refined my poetics rather than regulated my text." —Louise Meintjes, author of Dust of the Zulu

**Please see the gallery below for acknowledgments from books in print.**

Services
Languages
English (CAN) English (UK) English (US)
Non-Fiction
Art Biographies & Memoirs Education & Reference Health & wellbeing History Music Politics & Current Affairs Social & Behavioral Sciences
Fiction
Literature

Certifications

  • BA, New York University
  • PhD, Duke University

Work experience

Sole Proprietor

Self-employed
July, 2014 – Present (almost 4 years)

Copy editing (light to heavy); developmental editing on book manuscripts, journal articles, and book chapters; content creation for textbook supplements; proofreading; fact-checking; formatting (citations and bibliography); clients include Algonquin Books, Turtle Point Press, UNC Press, Univ. of Arkansas Press, New Mexico Magazine, MPS North America, tenured and junior scholars at universities in the U.S. and Canada.

Assistant Publicist

UNC Press
September, 2014 – January, 2016 (over 1 year)

Communications-focused, deadline-driven publicity operations at a publisher that releases 100+ books per year
• Preparing, copyediting, and updating publicity materials, according to house style
• Coordinating and executing large-scale mailings to media outlets and business partners

Instructor

Duke University
September, 2008 – December, 2013 (about 5 years)

Primary instructor of undergraduate classes; teaching assistant for large lecture courses; designed course syllabi; courses included particular emphasis on developing writing skills

Portfolio (24 selected works)

Talking Guitar: Conversations with Musicians Who Shaped Twentieth-Century American Music

Jas Obrecht

In this lively collection of interviews, storied music writer Jas Obrecht presents a celebration of the world's most popular instrument as seen through the words, lives, and artistry of some of its most beloved players. Readers will read--and hear--accounts of the first guitarists on record, pioneering bluesmen, gospel greats, jazz innovators, country pickers, rocking rebels, psychedelic shape... read more

In this lively collection of interviews, storied music writer Jas Obrecht presents a celebration of the world's most popular instrument as seen through the words, lives, and artistry of some of its most beloved players. Readers will read--and hear--accounts of the first guitarists on record, pioneering bluesmen, gospel greats, jazz innovators, country pickers, rocking rebels, psychedelic shape... read more

The Milk Lady of Bangalore: An Unexpected Adventure

Shoba Narayan

When Shoba Narayan, a writer and cookbook author who had lived for years in Manhattan, moves back to Bangalore with her family, she befriends the milk lady, from whom she buys fresh milk every day. These two women from very different backgrounds bond over not only cows, considered holy in India, but also family, food, and life. After Narayan agrees to buy her milk lady a new cow (she needs one... read more

When Shoba Narayan, a writer and cookbook author who had lived for years in Manhattan, moves back to Bangalore with her family, she befriends the milk lady, from whom she buys fresh milk every day. These two women from very different backgrounds bond over not only cows, considered holy in India, but also family, food, and life. After Narayan agrees to buy her milk lady a new cow (she needs one... read more

Strange Paradise: Portrait of a Marriage

Grace Schulman

"Grace Schulman makes me want to live to be four hundred years old, because she makes me feel there is so much out there, and it's unbearable to miss any of it."—Wallace Shawn The romance of Grace Schulman and her husband, Jerome, a distinguished scientist, burgeons in New York’s Greenwich Village amid the cultural revolution of the 1960s. Their bond stays brilliantly alive through various tri... read more

"Grace Schulman makes me want to live to be four hundred years old, because she makes me feel there is so much out there, and it's unbearable to miss any of it."—Wallace Shawn The romance of Grace Schulman and her husband, Jerome, a distinguished scientist, burgeons in New York’s Greenwich Village amid the cultural revolution of the 1960s. Their bond stays brilliantly alive through various tri... read more

Southernmost

Silas House

“A novel for our time, a courageous and necessary book.” —Jennifer Haigh, author of Heat and Light In this stunning novel about judgment, courage, heartbreak, and change, author Silas House wrestles with the limits of belief and the infinite ways to love. In the aftermath of a flood that washes away much of a small Tennessee town, evangelical preacher Asher Sharp offers shelter to two gay men.... read more

“A novel for our time, a courageous and necessary book.” —Jennifer Haigh, author of Heat and Light In this stunning novel about judgment, courage, heartbreak, and change, author Silas House wrestles with the limits of belief and the infinite ways to love. In the aftermath of a flood that washes away much of a small Tennessee town, evangelical preacher Asher Sharp offers shelter to two gay men.... read more

The One-Cent Magenta: Inside the Quest to Own the Most Valuable Stamp in the World

James Barron

An inside look at the obsessive, secretive, and often bizarre world of high-profile stamp collecting, told through the journey of the world’s most sought-after stamp. When it was issued in 1856, it cost a penny. In 2014, this tiny square of faded red paper sold at Sotheby’s for nearly $9.5 million, the largest amount ever paid for a postage stamp at auction. Through the stories of the eccentri... read more

An inside look at the obsessive, secretive, and often bizarre world of high-profile stamp collecting, told through the journey of the world’s most sought-after stamp. When it was issued in 1856, it cost a penny. In 2014, this tiny square of faded red paper sold at Sotheby’s for nearly $9.5 million, the largest amount ever paid for a postage stamp at auction. Through the stories of the eccentri... read more

The Religion of Chiropractic: Populist Healing from the American Heartland

Holly Folk

Chiropractic is by far the most common form of alternative medicine in the United States today, but its fascinating origins stretch back to the battles between science and religion in the nineteenth century. At the center of the story are chiropractic's colorful founders, D. D. Palmer and his son, B. J. Palmer, of Davenport, Iowa, where in 1897 they established the Palmer College of Chiropract... read more

Chiropractic is by far the most common form of alternative medicine in the United States today, but its fascinating origins stretch back to the battles between science and religion in the nineteenth century. At the center of the story are chiropractic's colorful founders, D. D. Palmer and his son, B. J. Palmer, of Davenport, Iowa, where in 1897 they established the Palmer College of Chiropract... read more

Break Beats in the Bronx: Rediscovering Hip-Hop's Early Years

Joseph C. Ewoodzie

The origin story of hip-hop—one that involves Kool Herc DJing a house party on Sedgwick Avenue in the Bronx—has become received wisdom. But Joseph C. Ewoodzie Jr. argues that the full story remains to be told. In vibrant prose, he combines never-before-used archival material with searching questions about the symbolic boundaries that have divided our understanding of the music. In Break Beats ... read more

The origin story of hip-hop—one that involves Kool Herc DJing a house party on Sedgwick Avenue in the Bronx—has become received wisdom. But Joseph C. Ewoodzie Jr. argues that the full story remains to be told. In vibrant prose, he combines never-before-used archival material with searching questions about the symbolic boundaries that have divided our understanding of the music. In Break Beats ... read more

British Musical Modernism: The Manchester Group and their Contemporaries (Music since 1900)

Philip Rupprecht

British Musical Modernism explores the works of eleven key composers to reveal the rapid shifts of expression and technique that transformed British art music in the post-war period. Responding to radical avant-garde developments in post-war Europe, the Manchester Group composers - Alexander Goehr, Peter Maxwell Davies, and Harrison Birtwistle - and their contemporaries assimilated the serial-... read more

British Musical Modernism explores the works of eleven key composers to reveal the rapid shifts of expression and technique that transformed British art music in the post-war period. Responding to radical avant-garde developments in post-war Europe, the Manchester Group composers - Alexander Goehr, Peter Maxwell Davies, and Harrison Birtwistle - and their contemporaries assimilated the serial-... read more

Dust of the Zulu: Ngoma Aesthetics after Apartheid

Louise Meintjes

In Dust of the Zulu Louise Meintjes traces the political and aesthetic significance of ngoma, a competitive form of dance and music that emerged out of the legacies of colonialism and apartheid in South Africa. Contextualizing ngoma within South Africa's history of violence, migrant labor, the HIV epidemic, and the world music market, Meintjes follows a community ngoma team and its professiona... read more

In Dust of the Zulu Louise Meintjes traces the political and aesthetic significance of ngoma, a competitive form of dance and music that emerged out of the legacies of colonialism and apartheid in South Africa. Contextualizing ngoma within South Africa's history of violence, migrant labor, the HIV epidemic, and the world music market, Meintjes follows a community ngoma team and its professiona... read more

Cuban Revolution in America: Havana and the Making of a United States Left, 1968–1992 (Justice, Power, and Politics)

Teishan A. Latner

When a grassroots revolution prevailed on America's doorstep, it provoked the wrath of the American political establishment but fueled intense interest within the multiracial American Left. In this groundbreaking book, historian Teishan A. Latner contends that in the era of decolonization, the Vietnam War, and Black Power, socialist Cuba claimed center stage for a generation of Americans who l... read more

When a grassroots revolution prevailed on America's doorstep, it provoked the wrath of the American political establishment but fueled intense interest within the multiracial American Left. In this groundbreaking book, historian Teishan A. Latner contends that in the era of decolonization, the Vietnam War, and Black Power, socialist Cuba claimed center stage for a generation of Americans who l... read more

Damnation Island: Poor, Sick, Mad, and Criminal in 19th-Century New York

Stacy Horn

The gripping voices of the inhabitants of Blackwell's Island make this history come alive. Today it is known as Roosevelt Island. In 1828, when New York City purchased this narrow, two-mile-long island in the East River, it was called Blackwell’s Island. There, over the next hundred years, the city would build a lunatic asylum, prison, hospital, workhouse, and almshouse. Stacy Horn has crafted... read more

The gripping voices of the inhabitants of Blackwell's Island make this history come alive. Today it is known as Roosevelt Island. In 1828, when New York City purchased this narrow, two-mile-long island in the East River, it was called Blackwell’s Island. There, over the next hundred years, the city would build a lunatic asylum, prison, hospital, workhouse, and almshouse. Stacy Horn has crafted... read more

Chop Suey and Sushi from Sea to Shining Sea: Chinese and Japanese Restaurants in the United States (Food and Foodways)

The essays in Chop Suey and Sushi from Sea to Shining Sea fill gaps in the existing food studies by revealing and contextualizing the hidden, local histories of Chinese and Japanese restaurants in the United States.The writer of these essays show how the taste and presentation of Chinese and Japanese dishes have evolved in sweat and hardship over generations of immigrants who became restaurant... read more

The essays in Chop Suey and Sushi from Sea to Shining Sea fill gaps in the existing food studies by revealing and contextualizing the hidden, local histories of Chinese and Japanese restaurants in the United States.The writer of these essays show how the taste and presentation of Chinese and Japanese dishes have evolved in sweat and hardship over generations of immigrants who became restaurant... read more

Dragon at the Edge of a Flat World: Portraits and Revelations

Joseph Keckler

Joseph Keckler?s signatures are his magnificent three-plus-octave operatic voice and the mesmerizing stories he tells. Combining original pieces with material from his acclaimed performances, Keckler confirms his storytelling mastery, revealing still more of himself on the page.In these tales, one can?t easily draw a line between reality, embellishment, and fantasy. Odd jobs and odder employer... read more

Joseph Keckler?s signatures are his magnificent three-plus-octave operatic voice and the mesmerizing stories he tells. Combining original pieces with material from his acclaimed performances, Keckler confirms his storytelling mastery, revealing still more of himself on the page.In these tales, one can?t easily draw a line between reality, embellishment, and fantasy. Odd jobs and odder employer... read more

Father Luis Olivares, a Biography: Faith Politics and the Origins of the Sanctuary Movement in Los Angeles

Mario T. García

This is the amazing untold story of the Los Angeles sanctuary movement's champion, Father Luis Olivares (1934–1993), a Catholic priest and a charismatic, faith-driven leader for social justice. Beginning in 1980 and continuing for most of the decade, hundreds of thousands of Salvadoran and Guatemalan refugees made the hazardous journey to the United States, seeking asylum from political repres... read more

This is the amazing untold story of the Los Angeles sanctuary movement's champion, Father Luis Olivares (1934–1993), a Catholic priest and a charismatic, faith-driven leader for social justice. Beginning in 1980 and continuing for most of the decade, hundreds of thousands of Salvadoran and Guatemalan refugees made the hazardous journey to the United States, seeking asylum from political repres... read more

Stone Free: Jimi Hendrix in London, September 1966–June 1967

Jas Obrecht

A compelling portrait of rock's greatest guitarist at the moment of his ascendance, Stone Free is the first book to focus exclusively on the happiest and most productive period of Jimi Hendrix's life. As it begins in the fall of 1966, he's an under-sung, under-accomplished sideman struggling to survive in New York City. Nine months later, he's the toast of Swinging London, a fashion icon, and ... read more

A compelling portrait of rock's greatest guitarist at the moment of his ascendance, Stone Free is the first book to focus exclusively on the happiest and most productive period of Jimi Hendrix's life. As it begins in the fall of 1966, he's an under-sung, under-accomplished sideman struggling to survive in New York City. Nine months later, he's the toast of Swinging London, a fashion icon, and ... read more

Look Both Ways: A Double Journey Along My Grandmother's Far-Flung Path

Katharine Coles

Walter Link and Miriam Wollaeger, a young geologist couple in 1920s Wisconsin, set out to find oil to supply the surging U.S. demand. This exciting work will allow them to build their lives in South and Central America, Indonesia, and Cuba. But from the first posting in Columbia, they quickly discover that no women are working in the field in these places. While Walter faces the hardships and ... read more

Walter Link and Miriam Wollaeger, a young geologist couple in 1920s Wisconsin, set out to find oil to supply the surging U.S. demand. This exciting work will allow them to build their lives in South and Central America, Indonesia, and Cuba. But from the first posting in Columbia, they quickly discover that no women are working in the field in these places. While Walter faces the hardships and ... read more

Follow the Sun

Edward J. Delaney

"Follow the Sun is just plain fantastic. Edward J. Delaney has orchestrated a tight, tense page-turner and a harrowing, deeply imagined literary portrait of an entire family. . . . What a knockout read." ―Paul Harding"In this pungent, gritty novel, hardscrabble lives are rendered with utter realism, terrific dialogue, and a slow-burning tenderness for all concerned. Delaney's knowledge of this... read more

"Follow the Sun is just plain fantastic. Edward J. Delaney has orchestrated a tight, tense page-turner and a harrowing, deeply imagined literary portrait of an entire family. . . . What a knockout read." ―Paul Harding"In this pungent, gritty novel, hardscrabble lives are rendered with utter realism, terrific dialogue, and a slow-burning tenderness for all concerned. Delaney's knowledge of this... read more

Color and Character: West Charlotte High and the American Struggle over Educational Equality

Pamela Grundy

At a time when race and inequality dominate national debates, the story of West Charlotte High School illuminates the possibilities and challenges of using racial and economic desegregation to foster educational equality. West Charlotte opened in 1938 as a segregated school that embodied the aspirations of the growing African American population of Charlotte, North Carolina. In the 1970s, when... read more

At a time when race and inequality dominate national debates, the story of West Charlotte High School illuminates the possibilities and challenges of using racial and economic desegregation to foster educational equality. West Charlotte opened in 1938 as a segregated school that embodied the aspirations of the growing African American population of Charlotte, North Carolina. In the 1970s, when... read more

The Routledge Companion to Media and Fairy-Tale Cultures (Routledge Media and Cultural Studies Companions)

From Cinderella to comic con to colonialism and more, this companion provides readers with a comprehensive and current guide to the fantastic, uncanny, and wonderful worlds of the fairy tale across media and cultures. It offers a clear, detailed, and expansive overview of contemporary themes and issues throughout the intersections of the fields of fairy-tale studies, media studies, and cultura... read more

From Cinderella to comic con to colonialism and more, this companion provides readers with a comprehensive and current guide to the fantastic, uncanny, and wonderful worlds of the fairy tale across media and cultures. It offers a clear, detailed, and expansive overview of contemporary themes and issues throughout the intersections of the fields of fairy-tale studies, media studies, and cultura... read more

The Man in Song: A Discographic Biography of Johnny Cash

John M. Alexander

There have been many books written about Johnny Cash, but The Man in Song is the first to examine Cash’s incredible life through the lens of the songs he wrote and recorded. Music journalist and historian John Alexander has drawn on decades of studying Cash’s music and life, from his difficult depression-era Arkansas childhood through his death in 2003, to tell a life story through songs famil... read more

There have been many books written about Johnny Cash, but The Man in Song is the first to examine Cash’s incredible life through the lens of the songs he wrote and recorded. Music journalist and historian John Alexander has drawn on decades of studying Cash’s music and life, from his difficult depression-era Arkansas childhood through his death in 2003, to tell a life story through songs famil... read more

Print News and Raise Hell: The Daily Tar Heel and the Evolution of a Modern University

Kenneth Joel Zogry

For over 125 years, the Daily Tar Heel has chronicled life at the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill and at times pushed and prodded the university community on issues of local, state, and national significance. Thousands of students have served on its staff, many of whom have gone on to prominent careers in journalism and other influential fields. Print News and Raise Hell engagingly... read more

For over 125 years, the Daily Tar Heel has chronicled life at the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill and at times pushed and prodded the university community on issues of local, state, and national significance. Thousands of students have served on its staff, many of whom have gone on to prominent careers in journalism and other influential fields. Print News and Raise Hell engagingly... read more

Revolutionaries for the Right: Anticommunist Internationalism and Paramilitary Warfare in the Cold War (The New Cold War History)

Kyle Burke

Freedom fighters. Guerrilla warriors. Soldiers of fortune. The many civil wars and rebellions against communist governments drew heavily from this cast of characters. Yet from Nicaragua to Afghanistan, Vietnam to Angola, Cuba to the Congo, the connections between these anticommunist groups have remained hazy and their coordination obscure. Yet as Kyle Burke reveals, these conflicts were the pr... read more

Freedom fighters. Guerrilla warriors. Soldiers of fortune. The many civil wars and rebellions against communist governments drew heavily from this cast of characters. Yet from Nicaragua to Afghanistan, Vietnam to Angola, Cuba to the Congo, the connections between these anticommunist groups have remained hazy and their coordination obscure. Yet as Kyle Burke reveals, these conflicts were the pr... read more

Distilling the South: A Guide to Southern Craft Liquors and the People Who Make Them

Kathleen Purvis

Intrepid Kathleen Purvis traveled extensively throughout the South to create this first-ever guide to the region's burgeoning craft-liquor movement, capturing her journey in the creation of six original Liquor Trails. As fascinating as the craft itself are the distillers' experiences and backstories. Purvis chronicles them with verve and insight, bringing her knowledge of southern foodways and... read more

Intrepid Kathleen Purvis traveled extensively throughout the South to create this first-ever guide to the region's burgeoning craft-liquor movement, capturing her journey in the creation of six original Liquor Trails. As fascinating as the craft itself are the distillers' experiences and backstories. Purvis chronicles them with verve and insight, bringing her knowledge of southern foodways and... read more

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