KYD Workshop Editors and Testimonials

Rebecca Starford, Elena Gomez, Kate Goldsworthy and Anna Thwaites are editors for the KYD Writers Workshop Manuscript Assessment service.


Meet Rebecca: 

“I’ve been working as an editor for over ten years now, first at Australian Book Review, then Affirm Press and later Text Publishing, which really broadened my publishing experience and gave me the opportunity to work on a diversity of projects with writers based around the world. I freelance now for many clients, including Penguin Random House, Transit Lounge and University of Queensland Press. I’m also an author: my debut memoir, Bad Behaviour, was published in 2015, and my first novel, Hidden, is coming out in July 2020 (both with Allen & Unwin). And I’m the publishing director at KYD!

The relationship between a writer and editor is a very special one. It requires a lot of trust from the writer – and a lot of respect and careful consideration on the part of the editor. What I enjoy so much about these manuscript assessments is having that really open conversation with the writer in the embryonic stages of their work – and brainstorming all the questions and approaches that will most effectively and efficiently shape the project in new and exciting ways.”

Meet Elena:

“I have worked in book publishing for over a decade, starting as a publishing assistant for a small press before moving to an editorial assistant role with Pier 9 (Murdoch Books), then later Text Publishing and Penguin Random House, where I was deputy managing editor until January 2020. This year as a freelance editor I’ve enjoyed working with authors and editors from a range of publishers. I am also published poet (Body of Work, 2018).

The writer–editor relationship is special. I feel immensely privileged to work closely with authors on their early manuscript drafts. To me, the creative process, especially in that formative writing period, is so important, and I enjoy the collaborative and supportive aspects of my editorial role. To finish writing a book is a huge accomplishment, and it’s an honour when someone trusts me to read their work. As a writer myself, I have a small insight into the vulnerability in sharing one’s work, and I strive to be an honest and useful reader for the author. Writing can be a solitary act in many respects, but it is also a practice that benefits greatly from feedback, editorial insight and community.”

Meet Kate: 

Photo credit: Jessica Friedmann

“I’ve been working on trade books since 2010. As a freelance editor, I’ve worked for Allen & Unwin, Penguin Random House, HarperCollins, Hachette, Black Inc., Text Publishing, Affirm Press, Ventura Press, Transit Lounge and Echo Publishing. I’ve also worked full-time as an in-house editor at Black Inc. and Affirm Press. In 2015 and 2016, I mentored authors at Varuna. I have a diploma in Professional Writing & Editing from RMIT.

I love working with authors on their early drafts. There’s so much freedom at that stage in the revision process, with lots of time and space for experimentation. You can luxuriate in crafting the best possible version of your manuscript, and it’s a good idea to have a professional editor in your corner who can help you take a step back to see the big picture.”

Meet Anna:

“I’ve worked for nearly ten years as an editor, including three years at Arena Magazine, a year at Pearson, and five years at Scribe Publications. I’m also currently co-editor of The Slow Canoe and Paragraph. I’ve had the chance to edit books and other writing by some of Australia’s great authors, whose work has expanded my world, deepened my experience—and are often bloody good stories, too. Editing is just a deeper form of reading, and in the same way as reading does, this work allows me to live many more lives than my own.

Manuscript assessment and structural notes are my favourite parts of any editorial process. Helping a writer to work on the real shape and substance of their manuscript. To try, together, to get to the bottom of what it’s really about, and then examine, develop, rework and/or polish every part of it so that everything is communicating the story in the clearest, most affecting and absorbing way possible—well, what work could be more satisfying?”


‘Both during and post-graduation from an MFA program in Creative Nonfiction, I struggled with my memoir manuscript. What I needed was honest, unbiased and constructive feedback. Working with Rebecca and the manuscript review process gave me the critical view into my own work that I needed: her feedback on style, structure and voice was more valuable than I could have imagined. When I returned my manuscript, it was with a clear understanding of the narrative and story – what I’d take forward into the next draft and that which must be left behind. I plan to (hopefully) work with Rebecca again when my next draft is completed, long before I submit or pitch to publishers.
Karalee Clerk, October 2019

‘I sent an early draft of my novel to KYD’s assessment service and received excellent feedback from Kate Goldsworthy in less than a month, which I thought was impressively quick given the thoroughness of the analysis. Kate’s criticisms were firm but highly instructive – writers need to have a thick skin and there’s no point in paying money for a pat on the back. My only regret is not having had the manuscript assessed sooner – it probably would’ve saved me a rewrite and given me some much-needed perspective while I was still in the plotting phase. I felt extraordinarily privileged to have received advice from someone with such an excellent track record, and highly recommend the service to first-time writers who are struggling with their projects.
Tom Simpson, October 2019

‘Thanks to Rebecca’s manuscript assessment, I was able to submit my short story with confidence. Rebecca pointed out the minor details that were missing from my story and asked questions that would be typical of the reader. With her guidance, I was able to delete some sections of my story that were unnecessary and add some information that was vital. I found Rebecca’s input invaluable and strongly recommend to others.’
Kim Smith, October 2019

‘Getting professional feedback on your work is invaluable, especially when you’re starting out as a writer. I submitted a short story to KYD’s assessment service and received a detailed analysis of the story’s strengths, as well as the areas that needed to be improved. With this advice in mind, I tweaked the story and ended up getting it published. I would definitely recommend this service to other writers.’
Magdalena McGuire, selected for the annual Big Issue Fiction Edition


To view prices and book your manuscript assessment, please visit our shop.

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