Ursula DeYoung

Ursula DeYoung – Editor

Published author and experienced freelance editor, specializing in historical fiction, biographies, and scholarly books in the humanities.


I'm an editor and writing consultant with over a decade of experience in editing manuscripts of all kinds—fiction, nonfiction, scholarly, commercial. Some of these manuscripts have been written by tenured professors with contracts already in hand from major publishers; others are first works by aspiring novelists. I work as an instructor and writing consultant at the GrubStreet Writing Center in Boston, one of the biggest nonprofit creative-writing programs in the country. In addition, I serve as the primary editor for an international educational organization called The Center for Asia Leadership Initiatives. For every client, I offer meticulous, thoughtful suggestions that take into account both rigorous writing standards and the client's individual preferences.

As a writer myself, I know how important and how delicate the editing process can be for authors. My first novel, SHORECLIFF, a family drama set in Maine in the 1920s, was published by Little, Brown in 2013, and my nonfiction book, A VISION OF MODERN SCIENCE, about the 19th-century physicist John Tyndall, was published by Palgrave MacMillan in 2011. The latter book was originally my dissertation: I received a Ph.D. in History from Oxford in 2009, after earning a Bachelor’s degree from Harvard in 2004.

In 2017, I founded EMBARK, an online journal that features the openings of unpublished novels in all genres. Many of our contributors have gone on to see their books published by major presses, and several have connected with literary agents through the journal.
Biographies & Memoirs Humanities & Social Sciences
Historical Fiction
English (US)

Work experience


Jan, 2012 — Present

I have over a decade of experience in freelance editing and have worked with a wide range of clients. Up to now I've specialized in scholarly books in the humanities, biographies, and fiction in many different genres, particularly historical fiction, but I am always open to books in new fields!

Embark: A Literary Journal for Novelists

Apr, 2017 — Present

I founded and run an online literary journal called EMBARK that features the openings of unpublished novels in all genres. Issues of Embark are released twice a year and reach thousands of readers.

GrubStreet Writing Center

Apr, 2014 — Present

I teach seminars and workshops on how to write novels, and I serve as a writing consultant, offering copyediting, structural editing, and stylistic feedback to individual clients.

The Center for Asia Leadership Initiatives

Feb, 2014 — Present

I serve as the Center's primary editor and work on all of its various publications, including essay collections, works on leadership and education, and single-author books by the Center's founder. In each case, I offer both structural feedback and line-editing.


Copy Editing
Child Bride: A Novel

Smith Turner, Jennifer

Developmental Editing Copy Editing Editorial Assessment
Copy Editing Editorial Assessment
Copy Editing
The Islamic Secular

Jackson, Sherman A.

Copy Editing
Developmental Editing Copy Editing Editorial Assessment
Copy Editing
Rethinking Asia

Kim, Hungsoo S

Developmental Editing Copy Editing Editorial Assessment

Ursula has 7 reviews





H. K.

H. K.

Feb, 2024

Working with Ursula has been a wonderful experience. Her knowledge of the late 19th century and its nuances is truly impressive; her attention to detail ensured the accuracy of the setting, while her insightful feedback on plot structure and narrative flow greatly contributed to refining the opening of my novel. I truly appreciated Ursula's thoroughness and honesty in critique. I will entrust m...
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Steve R.

Steve R.

Feb, 2024

Ursula is simply outstanding. She was incredibly responsive, checking in multiple times during the process. And her work was really helpful. I would recommend her to anyone, and I plan on working with her on future books.
Carol H.

Carol H.

Nov, 2023

I found Ursula's comments and suggests helpful. She gave me much to consider which unfortunately means I still have a lot to do! I appreciated the upbeat and positive feedback. I needed the encouragement. Overall I think I will be able to improve my work.
sue T.

sue T.

Sep, 2023

I enjoyed working with Ursula. I found her very responsive, and she kept me updated on the status of the project. This is my first experience with a professional editor, and it was an eye opener! I thought I was handing over clean copy, but boy, what a surprise. After going through the edits I found about 90% to be on target. The other 10% I disagreed with often pointed to an area that needed...
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Tom C.

Tom C.

Jun, 2023

As a first-time author, I am so happy that I decided to go with Ursula as my editor. I originally hired her as a copy editor then found out that I also needed a development editor. Ursula was equally competent in both roles and increased her fee only slightly for the additional work. This also happened at the end when I had come up with an additional 20,000 words before the agreed upon date wh...
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