Editor's Profile

Jennifer Kurdyla

Jennifer Kurdyla Headshot 1 e1505726157368

Jennifer Kurdyla is a freelance editor, writer, and collaborator with an extensive background in fiction, narrative nonfiction, and prescriptive and wellness-based nonfiction. Most recently, she was an editor at The Experiment, where she acquired wellness, self-help, and medical narrative nonfiction and plant-based cookbooks. From 2011 to 2017, she was an editor at Alfred A. Knopf, where she worked on internationally best-selling fiction and nonfiction including works by Chimamanda Ngozi Adichie, Jhumpa Lahiri, James Salter, and debut novelist Weike Wang.

Jennifer approaches editing like a yoga pose: from the ground up, with lots of sweat and even more breathing to bring life into a story. In her various editorial roles, she has done her fair share of yoga-like editing, honing a keen eye for unique narratives that challenge traditions of form, setting, and voice. She’s been a reliable confidant and source of both literary and emotional support for the writers she worked with as their manuscripts were built from the ground up, one sentence at a time. Her background in acquisitions also gives her a unique perspective on the behind-the-scenes of the trade publishing world, having occupied seats at a Big 5 and independent publishing house both. Regardless of whether a book is fiction or nonfiction, she asks the same questions of every project: What story am I trying to tell? Why does the world need to hear it? How can I reach the readers who need it most?

As a graduate of Harvard University and the Columbia Publishing Course, Jennifer isn’t afraid of giving (or receiving) the kind of detailed criticism that asks writers to dig deep into their choices of topics, metaphors, words, and punctuation (exclamation points beware, but semicolons are welcome). Her deep respect for the power of language means that for her, being precise in these details is critical. In a well-crafted sentence, she finds pleasure as well as the ultimate proof that storytellers have the power to illuminate the darkest, most unknown parts of our shared experience.

Jennifer’s select booklist can be found below.

Fiction
Nonfiction