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I have been editing -- stories, short fiction, novels, poetry, and non-fiction -- for over thirty years, first as a member of The Malahat Review' s editorial board, then since 1990 as a freelancer, and for the past fifteen years as an in-house editor. I offer a variety of skills, from manuscript evaluation to substantive editing to copy editing. I’ve published in magazines, and am the author of sixteen books of fiction and poetry, with substantial experience of publishing in Canada. This means I have worked on both sides of the editorial table, and have had rich experiences with some of Canada's finest editors and publishers.
Appropriate editing (and the right editor) will bring any text into its clearest form. Since every writer is unique and writing processes vary widely, I’ve found it most important to listen to the text and to the writer, and then collaboratively design an approach and timeline to fit the project. The purpose of an editor, besides clarifying syntax and ideas, is to allow the authorial voice to sing through with as much elegance and as little interference as possible.
I’ve been in love with reading and writing nearly all my life, have led writing workshops, and have become an active member of the writing community. It’s my goal to assist writers in their pursuit of excellent writing. Excellent writing, no matter what form it takes, will find and win its audience.
Some works I've edited stand out: The Bluff Detector by Tom Martin (non-fiction, Agio Publishing), An Autoerotic History of Swings by Patricia Young (poems, Sono Nis Press), Billy Tabbs (& The Glorious Darrow) by Michael Paul Michaud (fantasy, Biting Duck) and The Nisselinka Claims by Robert Longe (historical novel, FriesenPress), Be Still the Water by Karen Emilson (novel). For Thistledown Press: The Monkeyface Chronicles by Richard Scarsbrook (young adult novel), The Ditch Was Lit Like This by Sean Johnston (poetry), The Path to Ardroe by John Lent (novel) and The Maladjusted by Derek Hayes (short stories),
Recently for Thistledown press, I edited Cara-Lyn Morgan's What Became My Grieving Ceremony (poems), Katherine Fawcett's The Little Washer of Sorrows (stories), Don McLellan's Brunch with the Jackals (stories), Sean Johnstone's We Don't Listen To Them (stories), Harold Johnson's Corvus (novel), Paulette Dube's, Autant (novel).
I have also edited master's and PhD theses and academic essays and government websites.
Besides my work in editing and writing, I’m trained as a counsellor / therapist and acupressurist and have a small private practice.
I welcome all queries for additional information. I can provide testimonials from many writers. Here are a few:
"I am a Canadian writer (ten books of poetry/fiction/non-fiction) and I have edited over 30 books (poetry, fiction & non-fiction) for smaller presses here in Western Canada over the past 20 years. In 2011 I heard from Thistledown Press that Michael Kenyon was to be the editor of my soon-to-be-published novel, The Path To Ardroe.... In the end, I came to realize that Michael just might be one of the best editors in the country. He managed my novel brilliantly: he helped me insure that the novel, though set in the past, was still relevant; he was fiercely blunt with me about how wrong I was to weave another small meta-fictional novel around it…he pointed out, brilliantly, that the structure of the novel I had written in the first place was complicated enough and didn’t need any additional ‘business’ in its structure; and he was a meticulous line-editor with a particularly good eye on passages that could be deleted to relieve the novel from being over-written. First, I really admired Michael’s gift for ‘getting’ the vision of the novel, then getting me to stick to it, and second, I became equally impressed by what a thorough eye Michael had on issues of rhythm, diction and syntax. Michael has great ‘ears,’ as we’d say in the music business." -- John Lent
"The way Michael Kenyon inhabits a manuscript as an editor is rare and necessary; he is constantly aware of the larger effect of the subtle changes to the sentence and the line that his keen eye requires. He is meticulous, so it is a pleasure to work with him." -- Sean Johnston, We Don’t Listen To Them (stories)
"Like all good editors, Michael Kenyon clears the smoke from a manuscript so readers can warm themselves by the flames. My publishers, who have been in the book business for almost half a century, hired him to edit my collection of stories, and I’m damn glad they did. This guy is top shelf. Don’t let him get away." -- Don McLellan, Brunch with the Jackals (stories)
"Michael encouraged me to ask new questions of each poem which led to better work. His edits worked to mine each piece for its own truth. I felt challenged and supported throughout the process in all the right ways. This was my first time going through the editing process and I couldn't have asked for a more rewarding experience." -- Shannon Quinn, Questions for Wolf (poems)
- Consulting and manuscript evaluation
- Copy editing
- Developmental or project editing
- On-screen editing
- Structural and substantive editing
- Stylistic editing
- Academic papers and essays
- Books, children's and young adult
- Books, general
- Books, self-help
- Government materials, general
- Periodicals, general
- Theses and dissertations
- Trade non-fiction
- Humanities, general
- Psychology and mental health
- Religion and spirituality
- Society, general