Robert Grossmith

Robert Grossmith – Editor

Published novelist/short story writer (incl in Penguin Classics) with literature PhD and 15 years' experience as HarperCollins senior editor


I'm interested in working with budding novelists or short story writers of all genres as well as non-fiction writers and academic writers. For example, if you're writing a novel I will provide detailed feedback on such matters as style, structure, pacing, character development and plot – as well as more mundane matters such as grammar, spelling, punctuation and formatting – in order to bring your novel to a publishable form. If you're writing a dissertation or thesis I will work with you to make your your writing as clear, concise and well-structured as possible. Put simply, the English language in one of its many diverse disciplines or another – studying it, teaching it, writing it, editing it – is how I have spent my life.

I have also published two novels of my own, most recently in 2020, and numerous short stories as well as poems, scholarly articles and book reviews. An audio podcast of one of my stories is available on YouTube. Another story is anthologized in The Penguin Book of First World War Stories (Penguin Classics).

Humor & Comedy Literary Fiction Short Story
Philosophy Psychology Writing & Publishing
English (UK)
  • BA, PhD

Work experience


Sep, 2005 — Present

Freelance writer-editor working on a variety of projects: fiction, non-fiction, reference.

HarperCollins Publishers

Sep, 1990 — Aug, 2005 (almost 15 years)

Editor/senior editor/managing editor working on a range of bilingual dictionary titles. During this time I also published a novel (The Empire of Lights, Hamish Hamilton, 1990) and numerous short stories in magazines, literary journals and anthologies, including the Spectator, the Literary Review, London Magazine, Best Short Stories 1989, Best Short Stories 1990, The Best of Best Short Stories, The Time Out Book of London Short Stories, Sixteen Modern Short Stories, The Penguin Book of First World War Stories etc.

Dept of American Studies, University of Keele, UK

Sep, 1984 — Jun, 1987 (over 2 years)

PhD on Vladimir Nabokov -- 'Other States of Being: Nabokov's Two-World Metaphysic' -- awarded in 1987. Numerous scholarly articles on Nabokov's fiction published in academic journals and books, including A Small Alpine Form: Studies in Nabokov's Short Fiction, Russian Literature Triquarterly, English Language Notes, Essays in Poetics, The Nabokovian. Following the award of my PhD, I worked as a part-time lecturer on American Literature in the Department of American Studies at the University of Keele.

The British Institute, Stockholm, Sweden

Sep, 1977 — May, 1983 (over 5 years)

During this time I also learned to speak passable Swedish and spent a year in the US (New York and Berkeley, CA), where I translated a number of academic articles and a doctoral dissertation (Children's Outdoor Environment, Pia Bjorklid) from Swedish to English.

Word & Action: Community theatre and writing service, Weymouth, UK

Sep, 1976 — Jul, 1977 (10 months)

University of Keele, UK

Oct, 1972 — Jun, 1976 (over 3 years)

Robert has 16 reviews





Morty S.

Morty S.

Jan, 2024

Bob is a gem, at once erudite and no-nonsense in his editorial approach. His multiple pages of detailed notes on my new novel manuscript were incredibly well-written, instructive, and, most, importantly, CONstructive. They also identified specific areas for improvement, 95% of which I implemented. I would use him again in a heartbeat. As a matter of fact, I have used him again, as this review i...
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Robert G.
I'm touched, Morty, thanks! You keep writing 'em, I'll keep editing 'em.
Andrew S.

Andrew S.

Dec, 2022

It was a pleasure working with Robert--he was infallibly prompt, professional, kind, and honest. What more could one want in a developmental editor? He has a keen eye for detail, which was especially important in this project. I am an American writing in an old-fashioned English idiolect, and Robert spared me several embarrassments! He also had some wonderful ideas to improve the flow of the s...
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Robert G.
Thanks, Andrew, it was a joy to work with you too. Hopefully we can collaborate again in the future.
Tua L.

Tua L.

Aug, 2022

Bob was my copyeditor made in heaven. He's a writer himself -- and a very good one -- so he knew exactly what I was looking for and provided it promptly and without fuss. He even added the correct accents to the French words I'd left unaccented. I would love to work with him again.
Robert G.
Thanks, Tua. The feeling's mutual.
Amanda J B.

Amanda J B.

Jul, 2022

Robert is a highly experienced editor who is extremely thorough in his developmental editing/editorial assessment. He reviewed 20 of my short stories and offered invaluable advice regarding the stories dividing them into three categories: 1. those worthy of future publications, 2. those which need more work and 3. those which he considers 'lightweight.' Additionally, he provided me with sugg...
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Robert G.
Thanks, Amanda. I look forward to working with you again when your new novel is ready!
Andrew F.

Andrew F.

Jun, 2022

Another great job done by Bob - third time now. The value of a professional edit far surpasses the cost (which is very reasonable), and I for one will keep returning to Bob for his honest clarity.

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