What Clients Say:

"Louise Bernikow, mentor and magician, waved her literary wand over (my manuscript), sparing future readers much unripe prose."
Nancy Bachrach, "The Center of the Universe" (Knoph)

"Louise is the ultimate editor, an amazing author, a reader of remarkable intelligence, erudition and creative insight. Even if you give her a literary accident, she'll find its reason, its metaphor and the home it occupies in the bigger scheme of the work. She'll invest everything with force and direction and help find the organizing wound of your story. If you give her a "finished" project, she'll take it apart until every invisible fissure has been revealed and justified. Relentless. Illuminated. And fun."
Irene Vilar, "Impossible Motherhood"

"An extraordinary editor, always on target. She helped me refine my voice and become a more confident writer. Her passion reinforced my belief in the magic of words."
Dr. Olga Gonzalez,"Unveiling the Secrets of War in the Peruvian Andes" (University of Chicago Press)

Editorial Consulting

When Michael Korda asked me to help "put some feeling" into a rather dry theatrical memoir he was publishing at Simon & Schuster, he had no idea he was launching a second career. Working with director John Houseman on his first autobiography, "Run-Through," marked the beginning of some thirty years as a personal editor, book doctor, ghost writer and writing therapist.

My clients run the gamut from the fledgling to the very well published. Some come for a quick "read," but most stay for months, glue-ing scraps together, sanding rocky transitions, finding and re-finding an authentic voice. I followed Houseman by working with a political prisoner, am responsible for adapting nutritionist Gary Null's radio shows to pages between covers, have helped an anthropologist translate her thesis into a thrilling book and guided a prominent lawyer as he recounted his courtroom derring-do on behalf of catastrophically injured people.

Although I have considerable experience with fiction writers and authors of non-fiction books and articles in history, politics, alternative healing and psychology, most current clients are writing memoirs. These generally revolve around dizzying experiences of race, motherhood, adoption, seasons in hell and the valiant leaps over obstacles that ensure survival. Irene Vilar has published her chilling abortion memoir and Nancy Bachrach, once an advertising executive, is now the proud author of "The Center of the Universe."

I work one-on-one as often as it takes for as long as it takes and I welcome inquiries.

Recent clients/​book editing:
Julia Van Haaften, Berenice Abbott: A Life in Pictures (biography)
Gerald Osterbergg: Jo Stafford (music/​biography)
Kathy Jones, "A Thinking Journey with Hannah Arendt"
Roberta Salper, "Domestic Subversive" (left politics memoir)
confidentiality agreements in place for others

"Lightning in a bottle, you." Ed Danis, novelist, Florida

"I've learned more from you in these hours than I did all through my MFA in writing programs." K.E., New York,


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