Jennifer McDonald

Chicago, IL USA

Professional Experience

Editor, writer, teacher. Formerly with The New York Times Book Review. Substantive editing, line editing, copy editing, and manuscript analyses for writers and editors/agents. I edit fiction and nonfiction, and can handle book-length projects or works of shorter length. Interests include long and short fiction, essays and memoir, narrative journalism, literary criticism, dance and other performing arts, race and identity, the intersection of technology and society, health and the body, cultural histories, food (and drink!), travel, education, popular science and philosophy, language and usage, and the politics of sex and gender.


Copy Editor
18 Years
18 Years
18 Years


Books & Literature
7 Years
4 Years
Other, Specify
5 Years


Academia Teaching
2 Years
Newspaper - National
12 Years
Online/new media
4 Years

Total Media Industry Experience

18 Years

Media Client List (# assignments last 2 yrs)

Independent authors (3-5), The New York Times Book Review (3-5), Slate (1-2)

Other Work History

Staff editor at The New York Times, The Washington Post, and CNET Nieman Fellow at Harvard University, 2012-13. Adjunct writing instructor, University of Chicago Graham School, 2014-present.

Computer Skills

Word, Scrivener, Squarespace and other blogging platforms


Laptop, printer, scanner, digital audio recorder, Word, Photoshop, Acrobat


“Jennifer is a gem of an editor. Initially I hired her for a full read-through of my novel, but her comments were so helpful, I asked her do line and style edits for additional parts of the manuscript. Jennifer is especially helpful in shaping narrative arc, focusing on character development, and structuring dialogue. What’s supremely helpful about her editing style is how she shares ideas as she edits. I would describe her as a ‘generative’ editor (which is hard to find!). It means that editing becomes energizing and exciting, rather than a hurdle. She is a partner to a writer, rather than a critic. I highly recommend her for any type of editing.” —Fiction client “Excellent, motivating, and beyond my wildest expectations.” —Academic client writing a book on tech policy “You helped more than you may know. Your edits are just what we needed at this stage to elevate the writing to another level.” —Journalist writing a dual memoir


Editorial Freelancers Association


Writing Samples