When I worked at Penguin, reading the slush pile late into the night, I saw many promising manuscripts declined because the work wasn’t ready, leaving the author unsure where to turn. So in 1998 I launched Cornerstones Literary Consultancy, providing writers with editorial help and guidance, and helping authors to prepare for submission and publication.
We believe that if we can tell a writer in five minutes what it may take them months to discover, that’s a good thing!
For years we’ve sustained the ranking of No. 1 UK literary consultancy; now we’ve launched in America, making us the first transatlantic literary consultancy.
Cornerstones has over 60 editorial consultants, all chosen for their agenting, publishing or writing experience. Every report is checked in-house to ensure a consistency and quality of advice that is paramount to our service. Michele Rubin, our US managing editor; Alex Hammond, editorial and social media guru; Julie Gourinchas, our editorial assistant; and myself are all on hand to answer your queries and guide your progress; and Dionne McCulloch and Natalie Young handle our new author enquiries. Kathryn Price, my co-director for ten years, now works purely in editorial.
Cornerstones is a skills-based company and we strongly believe that self-editing techniques can be taught. We regularly give lectures at universities, writer conferences and workshops. Check out our website and Twitter feed for upcoming events and discussions.
Alex holds a BA (Hons) in American Literature with Creative Writing from UEA, and an MA in Creative Writing from the University of Lancaster. During his studies, he developed a passion for wilderness literature, war stories and historical fiction – something he tries to give academic credence to by studying part-time for a PhD in Creative Writing at the University of Southampton. After his MA, he worked for the literary agency Rogers, Coleridge & White from 2010 to 2013, and then with social media marketing company Digital Animal. He joined Cornerstones in October 2014, managing editors and social media. Say hello on twitter: @CornerstonesLit
After achieving a first in Literature and Criticism at UCL, Kathryn worked for literary agencies and for a bookshop specialising in crime fiction where she developed a taste for unusual and macabre stories. Following her true passions – editing and teaching writing skills – she joined Cornerstones as managing editor in 2005 and later became co-director. In 2014 she decided to focus on the editorial side of the business and now works closely with authors developing their manuscripts. She edits all literary and commercial fiction but particularly loves children’s fiction, fantasy and Sci-fi.
Former Times journalist and Arts Editor of Prospect Magazine, Natalie Young is the bestselling author of Season to Taste or How to Eat Your Husband, published by Hodder Headline in the UK in 2014, Little Brown in the US and translated into several languages. Natalie is currently working with a film director to bring Season to Taste to the big screen. Her first novel, We All Ran into the Sunlight was published by Short Books in 2011 and she has recently completed her third. She is a part-time student on the Goldsmiths PhD in Creative Writing and works for Cornerstones on the editorial team. She lives in London with her two children.
French-born and American-bred, Julie Gourinchas pursued a degree in English Literature at Reed College in Portland, Oregon. There, her undergraduate thesis focused on mapping the cultural myths defined by Vladimir Nabokov’s magnum opus, Lolita. An internship with a Portland publishing house, Elly Blue Publishing, nurtured a nascent interest in the publishing world. She pursued this dream while attending the Columbia Publishing Course at Oxford University in September 2016. Julie joined the Cornerstones team as an editorial assistant in February 2017. Her reading interests include literary fiction, historical, and young adult – although she’ll always have a soft spot for fantasy.
Dionne is an American author living in England, who began as a Cornerstones UK editor before managing Cornerstones launch into the US. She writes YA, MG and adult fiction, and is represented by Writers House in NYC. She has been a long- and short-list judge for the Bath and Caledonia novel awards since their inception, and a PitchWars mentor since 2014. She previously wrote and edited scripts for TV, and copyedited speeches for President Bill Clinton during his first term.