Portrait of the editor as a young man, 1975 (by Mary Guggenheim)

About me

I am a versatile and style-conscious editor-writer with deep experience in substantive editing and rewriting. I have executive experience in book and magazine publishing, marketing, and corporate communications. My areas of special expertise are economics, government, international relations, languages, the arts, and higher education. (View or download my resume.)

Since 2001 I have been a self-employed editor, writer, and translator for the World Bank and several other steady clients.

A decade as a successful association publications director at NAFSA: Association of International Educators (1990–2000) taught me to apply the publisher’s and the reader’s perspectives simultaneously in all my projects. Often I serve as writer-editor and project manager (recruiting and supervising translators, copyeditors, designers, and printers). Knowledge of the entire publishing process improves coherence, speeds delivery, and adds value.

Christine and I in Paris, 1975

I did my first professional translations at age 23 while working at the Paris offices of Cleary, Gottlieb, Steen & Hamilton on the Avenue Friedland in Paris, where I spent most of my time trying to impress Christine, the receptionist.

I left Paris to pursue a master's in international relations at Yale, graduating in 1977 with an interest in international organizations. Back in Washington, I took a job as office administrator for a patent litigation firm, moonlighting by writing about law firms' forays into the DC commercial real-estate market, translating thousands of pages of legal and commercial French (including scores of patents) for local translation agencies, and editing scholarly articles for the publications of Johns Hopkins University's School of Advanced International Studies, whose talented publications director, Kristen Carpenter, introduced me to the Chicago Manual of Style. As the stagflation and gas lines of the 1970s shaded into Reagan's rosy morning in America, I also led a group of tenants in converting a lovely old DC apartment building to condominiums. 

Playing chess with APA's Gary Vandenbos in Lausanne in summer 1986, just months after Chernobyl.

During the 1980s I was director of the international affairs office at the American Psychological Association, leading the efforts of that large professional body in protesting U.S. involvement in the dirty wars of the 1980s and helping to temper the Soviets' shameful treatment of Andrei Sakharov and other dissidents. Several years as a proposal writer for Booz Allen and a busy year as wine manager for a high-end grocery chain in the Washington area were an unlikely segue to my job as director of publications at NAFSA (mentioned above), where my proudest accomplishments were to found and shape the association's four-color quarterly, International Educator, and to work alongside its deft development director, Ellen Babby, to create a corporate sponsorship program—partly based on publications—that put the association on a very stable financial footing. Beginning in 1998, toward the end of my tenure at NAFSA, I championed the creation of a certification program for foreign student advisers that the association's board, fearing that certification would open the door to government meddling in university affairs, voted down—about two years before 9/11. 

At NAFSA I participated in the early efforts of France's universities (aided by the foreign ministry) to make the French system of higher education more comprehensible and attractive to students from the rest of the world. Those efforts were led by Pierre Collombert of the Franco-American Fulbright Commission, France Gamerre of the University of Aix-Marseille III, and a bon vivant translator of Faulkner from Burgundy whose name I can no longer remember. It was the early days of the the so-called Bologna process that was to transform higher education systems across Europe. 

Part of the university in Aix.

My work with those French pioneers led to a working partnership of 14 years' standing with Campus France, the national agency responsible for promoting French higher education to the rest of the world. Over those 14 years, France has succeeded in enlarging and diversifying its foreign-student population. I am proud of my small part in that success.

Each succeeding stage of my professional life has been more satisfying than the one before it. That is to say not only that my years as a freelance editor and translator have been and remain enjoyable, but also that I have every reason to expect that the next phase will be even better. I hope it will be a creative one, as I have much I want to say and do.

Caricature of the editor, 1993, by Ian Kennedy, then age 6, now a man of 30 who just finished 6 years as a Green Beret.

As I have worked my children have grown, as they are wont to do. I look at their early artwork, such as the accompanying caricature of me done in 1993, at age 6, by my son Ian, who just completed six years as a Green Beret, with the pleasure-tinged pain of muscle aches after a day of work under the summer sun. Those five kids—the brainy, gentle soldier; the 19-year-old who aspires to be a politician but who would make an even better guru or therapist; the fierce, artistic, and witty daughter who sells real estate in Los Angeles; the entrepreneur who earned an MBA from Wharton on the strength of the knowledge he acquired building a company in China, where the tech bust of 2000 deposited him; and, yes, the one too beautiful for this world who left us in 2010—have opened within me a singing universe as vast and gently undulating as the one outside, the clockworks of which spin and whirr as we work and sleep.