Posted on May 15, 2012
Katya created her first book at age eight, to help her sister Jennifer learn to read. The book, Jenny Digs in the Pig Pen with Jill, used only short-e and short-i vowel sounds, plus the word ”and” and the letter ”y”. Since then, Katya has copyedited hundreds of longer and more sophisticated books, most of them using all the vowel sounds of English and sometimes those of other languages as well.
After studying comparative literature, linguistics, writing, and mathematics at Brown University, Katya entered publishing as a typesetter at the University of North Carolina Press. She became a manuscript editor at Harvard University Press, where she copyedited scholarly books in many disciplines, and then worked at Houghton Mifflin Company. For several decades she has been a freelance copyeditor, taking on projects ranging from cookbooks and popular science to novels and poetry for adults, young adults, and children.
Among Katya’s many award-winning authors are the cognitive scientist Steven Pinker; the poets Galway Kinnell and Marilyn Nelson; the children’s authors Scott O’Dell, Martine Leavitt, Carolyn Coman, and An Na; the novelist Charles Johnson; and the science writer David Quammen. Known for her tiny but very tidy handwriting in the days when comments were made by hand in manuscript margins, Katya has been called a dominatrix, a shaman, a goddess, and “the best editor in America” by her authors—the last two in the same glorious week. She lives in empty-nest splendor with her husband, a philosophy professor, in Los Angeles.