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Ronit Wagman

Ronit Wagman - Editor

Detroit, MI, United States

Former acquisitions editor for Doubleday/Random House. I specialize in literary and commercial fiction, memoir, and narrative nonfiction.

Overview

**Booked through February. Now accepting clients for March.**

For over a decade I acquired and edited fiction, nonfiction, and memoir for the Nan A. Talese imprint of Doubleday, a division of Penguin Random House that publishes an esteemed list of authors, including Margaret Atwood, Ian McEwan, and Pat Conroy.

Many of the books I edited were critically acclaimed and some won awards, including cartoonist and playwright Jules Feiffer’s memoir BACKING INTO FORWARD, a finalist for the National Jewish Book Award; Jonathan Odell’s historical novel THE HEALING, a finalist for the Minnesota Book Award; Avi Steinberg’s THE LOST BOOK OF MORMON, a semifinalist for the Thurber Prize for American Humor; Kirstin Downey’s ISABELLA: THE WARRIOR QUEEN, a finalist for the Los Angeles Times Book Prize in Biography and longlisted for the 2015 PEN/Jacqueline Bograd Weld Award; and Hannah Weyer’s contemporary novel ON THE COME UP, a Barnes & Noble Discover selection and finalist for the NAACP Image Award.

I hold a BFA in musical theater from Syracuse University, where I honed my knowledge of storytelling and dramatic theory. I’ve also participated in writing workshops at Columbia University and the Unterberg Poetry Center, and have participated as a panelist at the Writers’ Conference at Hunter College, the Jewish Book Council, and the Sarah Lawrence Writing Program. My essay “Publishing Nonfiction: A Look Behind the Scenes” appears in THE BUSINESS OF WRITING (Allworth Press, 2012).


Endorsements

“When you work with Ronit you get more than a talented and seasoned editor, you get a whole team. Ronit’s editorial comments give you at least three or four different kinds of useful reads at once: you get the sharp, savvy evaluations of a senior editor at one of New York’s most prestigious publishers, the visceral reactions of a reader who loves good writing, and the personal touch of your super-smart friend who’s deeply invested in your success. Her comments always go directly to the heart of the matter, without fuss. Without fail, her edits sent me back to my drafts with renewed energy, clarity, and confidence.”
—Avi Steinberg, author of THE LOST BOOK OF MORMON and RUNNING THE BOOKS

“Ronit’s editorial critiques were so spot on and well expressed that I often believed I’d thought of them myself. She’s able to hone in on the heart of a story and help the author fully express that core, while trimming away that which does not serve it. She was incredibly responsive, whether helping me structure a novel in progress or in refining and line editing one that was more complete. I am lucky to have had her as my editor on two novels.”
—Allison Amend, author of ENCHANTED ISLANDS and A NEARLY PERFECT COPY

“Ronit was an exceptional editor. She seemed to have an intuitive sense of what I was trying to describe and helped me figure out the clearest way to express myself. She was kind, sensitive and generous and always framed her suggestions in an encouraging and empowering way. I learned so much from Ronit. Her editing made my book immeasurably better.”
—Leah Vincent, author of CUT ME LOOSE

Freelance Clients:

“I am still absorbing and processing your editorial memo. Overall, I find it constructive, eye-opening and beyond beneficial. I have so much work to do with the revision and with the help of your feedback and critique of the manuscript, I have a roadmap to accomplishing it. With this informative edit, I am again excited with a fresh perspective in creating a much stronger novel. I appreciate your invaluable advice, notes and edits, and I will certainly do my best in using it to strengthen the novel.”
—Terrance Coffey, author of VALLEY OF THE KINGS, winner of the 2016 Pacific Book Award for historical fiction and selected for publication by Kindle Scout

“This is what I needed, a new perspective on and distance from the story I couldn’t see any more. Your points are well taken and have revived my creative juices!”
—Patricia Bochi

“Thank you very much for such a thorough and thoughtful editorial assessment. The more general comments opened my eyes to larger issues that I was unaware of, and the more detailed chapter notes are very helpful for guiding my thinking in specific areas. You managed to strike a perfect balance between encouragement and criticism (no easy task, I know, as I read through my students’ work!). I really appreciate your time and effort and I’m happy to say I have a great roadmap to continue working on this manuscript.”
—David Boffa

Services
Languages
English (US)
Fiction
Historical Fiction Humor & Comedy Literature Women's Fiction Young Adult & Teen
Non-Fiction
Biographies & Memoirs Health & wellbeing Parenting & Families True Crime Weddings

Work experience

Editor

Penguin Random House Inc.

May, 2005 – November, 2015 (over 10 years)

Editor

Portfolio (15 selected works)

VALLEY OF THE KINGS: The 18th Dynasty

Terrance Coffey

In the year 1355 BCE, the land of Egypt was the superpower of the known world. King Tut’s father, Akenaten, the so-called 'heretic pharaoh,' is on the verge of catapulting Egypt into a revolution that will forever divide its people and rip the most powerful empire on the earth from its foundation. Will Akenaten’s staunch religious conviction protect his people and his family, or will the threa... read more

In the year 1355 BCE, the land of Egypt was the superpower of the known world. King Tut’s father, Akenaten, the so-called 'heretic pharaoh,' is on the verge of catapulting Egypt into a revolution that will forever divide its people and rip the most powerful empire on the earth from its foundation. Will Akenaten’s staunch religious conviction protect his people and his family, or will the threa... read more

The Healing

Jonathan Odell

Plantation mistress Amanda Satterfield’s intense grief over losing her daughter crosses the line into madness when she takes a newborn slave child as her own and names her Granada. Troubled by his wife’s disturbing mental state and concerned about a mysterious plague that is sweeping through the plantation’s slave quarters, Master Satterfield purchases Polly Shine, a slave woman known as a hea... read more

Plantation mistress Amanda Satterfield’s intense grief over losing her daughter crosses the line into madness when she takes a newborn slave child as her own and names her Granada. Troubled by his wife’s disturbing mental state and concerned about a mysterious plague that is sweeping through the plantation’s slave quarters, Master Satterfield purchases Polly Shine, a slave woman known as a hea... read more

Cut Me Loose: Sin and Salvation After My Ultra-Orthodox Girlhood

Leah Vincent

In the vein of Prozac Nation and Girl, Interrupted, an electrifying memoir about a young woman's promiscuous and self-destructive spiral after being cast out of her ultra-Orthodox Jewish family Leah Vincent was born into the Yeshivish community, a fundamentalist sect of ultra-Orthodox Judaism. As the daughter of an influential rabbi, Leah and her ten siblings were raised to worship two things:... read more

In the vein of Prozac Nation and Girl, Interrupted, an electrifying memoir about a young woman's promiscuous and self-destructive spiral after being cast out of her ultra-Orthodox Jewish family Leah Vincent was born into the Yeshivish community, a fundamentalist sect of ultra-Orthodox Judaism. As the daughter of an influential rabbi, Leah and her ten siblings were raised to worship two things:... read more

A Nearly Perfect Copy: A Novel

Allison Amend

Elm Howells has a loving family and a distinguished career at an elite Manhattan art auction house. But after a tragic loss throws her into an emotional crisis, she pursues a reckless course of action that jeopardizes her personal and professional success. Meanwhile, talented artist Gabriel Connois wearies of remaining at the margins of the capricious Parisian art scene. Desperate for recognit... read more

Elm Howells has a loving family and a distinguished career at an elite Manhattan art auction house. But after a tragic loss throws her into an emotional crisis, she pursues a reckless course of action that jeopardizes her personal and professional success. Meanwhile, talented artist Gabriel Connois wearies of remaining at the margins of the capricious Parisian art scene. Desperate for recognit... read more

On the Come Up: A Novel, Based on a True Story

Hannah Weyer

Based on a true story, an impassioned and propulsive debut novel about a headstrong girl from Far Rockaway, Queens, who is trying to find her place in the worldWritten in an urban vernacular that’s electrifying and intimate, On the Come Up introduces a heroine whose voice is irrepressible, dynamic, and unstintingly honest. Thirteen-year-old AnnMarie Walker dreams of a world beyond Far Rockaway... read more

Based on a true story, an impassioned and propulsive debut novel about a headstrong girl from Far Rockaway, Queens, who is trying to find her place in the worldWritten in an urban vernacular that’s electrifying and intimate, On the Come Up introduces a heroine whose voice is irrepressible, dynamic, and unstintingly honest. Thirteen-year-old AnnMarie Walker dreams of a world beyond Far Rockaway... read more

Encyclopedia of the Exquisite: An Anecdotal History of Elegant Delights

Jessica Kerwin Jenkins

Encyclopedia of the Exquisite is a lifestyle guide for the Francophile and the Anglomaniac, the gourmet and the style maven, the armchair traveler and the art lover. It’s an homage to the esoteric world of glamour that doesn’t require much spending but makes us feel rich. Taking a cue from the exotic encyclopedias of the sixteenth century, which brimmed with mysterious artifacts, Jessica Kerwi... read more

Encyclopedia of the Exquisite is a lifestyle guide for the Francophile and the Anglomaniac, the gourmet and the style maven, the armchair traveler and the art lover. It’s an homage to the esoteric world of glamour that doesn’t require much spending but makes us feel rich. Taking a cue from the exotic encyclopedias of the sixteenth century, which brimmed with mysterious artifacts, Jessica Kerwi... read more

Running the Books: The Adventures of an Accidental Prison Librarian

Avi Steinberg

Avi Steinberg is stumped. After defecting from yeshiva to attend Harvard, he has nothing but a senior thesis on Bugs Bunny to show for himself. While his friends and classmates advance in the world, Steinberg remains stuck at a crossroads, his “romantic” existence as a freelance obituary writer no longer cutting it. Seeking direction (and dental insurance) Steinberg takes a job running the lib... read more

Avi Steinberg is stumped. After defecting from yeshiva to attend Harvard, he has nothing but a senior thesis on Bugs Bunny to show for himself. While his friends and classmates advance in the world, Steinberg remains stuck at a crossroads, his “romantic” existence as a freelance obituary writer no longer cutting it. Seeking direction (and dental insurance) Steinberg takes a job running the lib... read more

The Drowning House: A Novel

Elizabeth Black

Mourning for her daughter and her crumbling marriage, photographer Clare Porterfield returns to her childhood home in Galveston, Texas, hoping to find distraction in mounting an exhibition featuring the island’s vivid history. Things haven’t changed much during her decade away: her relationship with her mother and older sister is still fraught and competitive, and their neighbors, the Carraday... read more

Mourning for her daughter and her crumbling marriage, photographer Clare Porterfield returns to her childhood home in Galveston, Texas, hoping to find distraction in mounting an exhibition featuring the island’s vivid history. Things haven’t changed much during her decade away: her relationship with her mother and older sister is still fraught and competitive, and their neighbors, the Carraday... read more

Isabella: The Warrior Queen

Kirstin Downey

An engrossing and revolutionary biography of Isabella of Castile, the controversial Queen of Spain who sponsored Christopher Columbus's journey to the New World, established the Spanish Inquisition, and became one of the most influential female rulers in historyBorn at a time when Christianity was dying out and the Ottoman Empire was aggressively expanding, Isabella was inspired in her youth b... read more

An engrossing and revolutionary biography of Isabella of Castile, the controversial Queen of Spain who sponsored Christopher Columbus's journey to the New World, established the Spanish Inquisition, and became one of the most influential female rulers in historyBorn at a time when Christianity was dying out and the Ottoman Empire was aggressively expanding, Isabella was inspired in her youth b... read more

Backing Into Forward: A Memoir

Jules Feiffer

The award-winning cartoonist, playwright, and author delivers a witty, illustrated rendition of his life, from his childhood as a wimpy kid in the Bronx to his legendary career in the arts. A gifted storyteller who has delighted readers and theater audiences for decades, Jules Feiffer now turns his talents to the tale of his own life. Plagued by learning problems, a controlling mother, and a d... read more

The award-winning cartoonist, playwright, and author delivers a witty, illustrated rendition of his life, from his childhood as a wimpy kid in the Bronx to his legendary career in the arts. A gifted storyteller who has delighted readers and theater audiences for decades, Jules Feiffer now turns his talents to the tale of his own life. Plagued by learning problems, a controlling mother, and a d... read more

The Lost Book of Mormon: A Journey Through the Mythic Lands of Nephi, Zarahemla, and Kansas City, Missouri

Avi Steinberg

Is the Book of Mormon the Great American Novel? Decades before Melville and Twain composed their great works, a farmhand and child seer named Joseph Smith unearthed a long-buried book from a haunted hill in western New York State that told of an epic history of ancient America, a story about a family that fled biblical Jerusalem and took a boat to the New World. Using his prophetic gift, Josep... read more

Is the Book of Mormon the Great American Novel? Decades before Melville and Twain composed their great works, a farmhand and child seer named Joseph Smith unearthed a long-buried book from a haunted hill in western New York State that told of an epic history of ancient America, a story about a family that fled biblical Jerusalem and took a boat to the New World. Using his prophetic gift, Josep... read more

Dancing with the Enemy: My Family's Holocaust Secret

Paul Glaser

The gripping story of the author’s aunt, a Jewish dance instructor who was betrayed to the Nazis by the two men she loved, yet managed to survive WWII by teaching dance lessons to the SS at Auschwitz. Her epic life becomes a window into the author’s own past and the key to discovering his Jewish roots. Raised in a devout Roman Catholic family in the Netherlands, Paul Glaser was shocked to lear... read more

The gripping story of the author’s aunt, a Jewish dance instructor who was betrayed to the Nazis by the two men she loved, yet managed to survive WWII by teaching dance lessons to the SS at Auschwitz. Her epic life becomes a window into the author’s own past and the key to discovering his Jewish roots. Raised in a devout Roman Catholic family in the Netherlands, Paul Glaser was shocked to lear... read more

Enchanted Islands: A Novel

Allison Amend

Inspired by the mid-century memoirs of Frances Conway, Enchanted Islands is the dazzling story of an independent American woman whose path takes her far from her native Minnesota when she and her husband, an undercover intelligence officer, are sent to the Galápagos Islands on the brink of World War II.Born in Duluth, Minnesota, in 1882 to immigrant parents, Frances Frankowski covets the life ... read more

Inspired by the mid-century memoirs of Frances Conway, Enchanted Islands is the dazzling story of an independent American woman whose path takes her far from her native Minnesota when she and her husband, an undercover intelligence officer, are sent to the Galápagos Islands on the brink of World War II.Born in Duluth, Minnesota, in 1882 to immigrant parents, Frances Frankowski covets the life ... read more

Ravensbruck: Life and Death in Hitler's Concentration Camp for Women

Sarah Helm

A masterly and moving account of the most horrific hidden atrocity of World War II: Ravensbrück, the only Nazi concentration camp built for women On a sunny morning in May 1939 a phalanx of 867 women—housewives, doctors, opera singers, politicians, prostitutes—was marched through the woods fifty miles north of Berlin, driven on past a shining lake, then herded in through giant gates. Whipping ... read more

A masterly and moving account of the most horrific hidden atrocity of World War II: Ravensbrück, the only Nazi concentration camp built for women On a sunny morning in May 1939 a phalanx of 867 women—housewives, doctors, opera singers, politicians, prostitutes—was marched through the woods fifty miles north of Berlin, driven on past a shining lake, then herded in through giant gates. Whipping ... read more

Hissing Cousins: The Untold Story of Eleanor Roosevelt and Alice Roosevelt Longworth

Marc Peyser, Timothy Dwyer

A lively and provocative double biography of first cousins Eleanor Roosevelt and Alice Roosevelt Longworth, two extraordinary women whose tangled lives provide a sweeping look at the twentieth century. When Theodore Roosevelt became president in 1901, his beautiful and flamboyant daughter was transformed into "Princess Alice," arguably the century's first global celebrity. Thirty-two years lat... read more

A lively and provocative double biography of first cousins Eleanor Roosevelt and Alice Roosevelt Longworth, two extraordinary women whose tangled lives provide a sweeping look at the twentieth century. When Theodore Roosevelt became president in 1901, his beautiful and flamboyant daughter was transformed into "Princess Alice," arguably the century's first global celebrity. Thirty-two years lat... read more

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