Begun last year as a pilot, the provost office’s
Manuscript Development Program provides a developmental editor to
selected Emory faculty who are preparing book manuscripts for publication.
The goal is to create better structured, more cogent and accessible
As the program’s pilot year winds down, its impact has been
judged a success. Not only has it been renewed for another year
but a great deal more programming is being planned, all revolving
around common challenges in scholarly writing.
"While writing workshops for faculty exist at some other institutions,
every university has a different culture and different faculty needs"
said Amy Benson Brown, the program’s director. "This
year’s planned programming is based a lot on conversations
with faculty here at Emory."
For instance, the subject matter of the upcoming colloquia "From
Dissertation To Book," was driven by the fact that roughly
40 percent of the applicants for last year’s manuscript development
award were doing just that—writing a book based on their dissertations.
Broken into two sessions, the colloquia will explore two different
approaches to revision. Some dissertations need to be completely
redesigned to work as books, while others need vital but less substantial
Each session will begin with a brief overview of resources on the
process of revising dissertations. On Thursday, Oct. 23, from 4–5
p.m. in 114 Candler Library, Miriam Peskowitz (’03G), a visiting
professor at Temple University, will discuss how she wrote her debut
book, Spinning Fantasies, and used just one line from her
The second colloquium will feature Leslie Harris, associate professor
of history, who revised her dissertation into a book, In the
Shadow of Slavery: African Americans in New York City, 1626–1863.
That event is scheduled for Thursday, Nov. 6, from noon–1:30
p.m. in 103 White Hall. Both events are free and open to the entire
The colloquia are just two of the program’s new features for
2003–04. The core of the program remains the one-on-one editorial
assistance that Brown, a twice-published author and associate editor
of the Academic Exchange, provides to faculty writers.
Currently, she is finishing up her work with ILA’s Kimberly
Wallace-Sanders and religion’s Paul Courtright, the program’s
first two faculty participants.
To apply for the upcoming year, faculty should send an 800–1,000-word
overview of their project to Brown as well as a current vitae. In
addition to explaining the manuscript’s subject and purpose,
the overview should state why receiving the award would help with
their work. The application deadline is Dec. 9, the two award recipients
will be announced in mid-January, and the award period begins June
"The application should show us where they are in the writing
process, and they must have the research completed," said Brown,
who is part of the six-member committee that will select the recipients.
"A good portion of [last-year’s applicants] had most
of a first draft finished."
Applicants need not have a book contract in hand, though. If one
has not been secured, Brown will help them craft a book proposal.
While there is some time between the end of this term and when the
nitty-gritty of the next round of book editing will begin, that
doesn’t mean that the program will lie dormant.
In the spring, the program will sponsor a trio of workshops for
faculty. "Great Writers Steal" will explore ways academic
books can become more readable through the use of fiction strategies
and techniques. Elizabeth Gallu, a creative nonfiction writer and
conference coordinator in the provost’s office, will assist
Brown in this workshop.
"Quick and Dirty Editing for Academics" will be a technically
oriented workshop geared toward line editing; and self-explanatory
workshop "Dissolving Writing Blocks" will outline strategies
to help writers avoid inevitable stoppages and get back to the keyboard.
Each workshop is limited to 12, participants and signups will be
accepted through Dec. 1.
Faculty interested in participating in the spring in small writing
groups also should contact Brown by Dec. 1. These small groups—ideally
three to five people—will provide authors with peer feedback.
Brown, who will act as facilitator, said the groups will meet about
every six weeks at the members’ convenience to support each
other’s progress and offer advice and constructive criticism.
All communication and applications regarding the Manuscript Development
Program and its upcoming programming should be sent to Brown at
313 Administration Building or firstname.lastname@example.org.
Her phone number is 404-712-9082.