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; Julie Gourinchas, our UK managing editor; Sarah Rouse, our assistant editor; and myself are all on hand to answer your queries and guide your progress. The core team works alongside Natalie Young to handle our new author enquiries. Kathryn Price, my co-director for ten years, is now our chief editor and course tutor.
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 Twitter feed for upcoming events and discussions.
French-born and American-bred, Julie Gourinchas earned her Bachelor’s degree in English Literature at Reed College in Portland, Oregon. An internship with an independent 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 2017, later becoming Managing Editor within her first year. Her role includes managing author/editor relations as well as assisting Helen with scouting. Julie’s reading interests include literary fiction, southern gothic, historical, young adult, and narrative nonfiction.
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 an all-women director, producer, writer team 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 is currently working on her third. She is a laser-sharp editor and passionate mentor of new authors and has been on the Cornerstones editorial team since October 2016.
Sarah Rouse graduated from Oxford Brookes University with a Bachelor’s degree in English Literature. She has prior experience as a proofreader and copyeditor, and completed internships at OUP and Palgrave Macmillan during her time at university. Sarah joined the Cornerstones team in September 2017 as the editorial assistant. Her role involves liaising with authors and editors, tracking project progress, and assisting the team. In her spare time she writes poetry and literary criticism.
Helen Corner-Bryant spent a number of years in editorial at Penguin before setting up Cornerstones Literary Consultancy in 1998. Cornerstones is known for teaching self-editing techniques, providing feedback, scouting for agents and launching writers. In 2016, she opened Cornerstones US, creating the world’s first transatlantic literary consultancy. Helen is a guest lecturer at leading universities including UCL Centre for Publishing and the Columbia Publishing Course at Oxford. She loves helping authors get a step closer towards achieving their dreams, whether that’s to become a better writer, acquire an agent, get published, or hit the bestseller list.