I’ve been editing professionally for many years, and have a well-honed instinct for how to improve different kinds of text. I specialise in working on ideas-rich writing for clients in the cultural and creative sector, both as a development and copy editor – and often wearing both hats at once. I really enjoy helping different kinds of author marshal their ideas, and to work out what is and isn’t working.

As a development editor on both fiction and non-fiction texts, I act as a creative sounding board on everything from overarching structure to paragraph-level tangles, carefully helping both developing and established authors navigate towards creative satisfaction. Regardless of the scope of the commission, I work hard to offer candid and useful suggestions on the likes of how to resolve plot roadblocks or character issues, focusing the expression of a core premise, or tightening up a chapter structure.

As a copy editor I’ve worked on a diverse range of projects – for example, in the last few years, a series of catalogue essays on the work of contemporary artists, and the text of a children’s book by a first-time author on the life of Saint Augustine. Whatever the text, I combine a well-trained eye for detail and my skills as a writer to offer substantive ways to improve not only syntax, accuracy and spelling but also a text’s content, flow and ease of expression.

I have recently been taken on as a provider of editing and writing services to Nesta, the UK’s innovation agency for social good. Working in three strategic areas – early years education, public health and sustainable energy – Nesta aims to create better solutions to the systemic problems that prevent meaningful change in communities across the UK.

Recent editing projects

Development editing

In the last few years, I’ve done development work on a varied set of fiction and non-fiction manuscripts. These have included two novels by an award-winning British novelist; an academic book about the relationship between revolution and design innovation in ‘the long 19th century’; an unconventional biography of Robert Mugabe by a debut author (supported by the Miles Morland Foundation); and an illustrated book on happiness and mid-life creativity by a former business consultant turned mosaic artist.

Ally is one of the best editors I’ve worked with.

Giles Foden, author of books including The Last King of Scotland and Freight Dogs

Ally is a sympathetic and exacting editor who gets people to look critically at their writing. She not only offers the external perspective crucial to any project, but also helps make genuine improvements to the quality and appeal of the text. Working with Ally makes me a better writer.

Ulrich Lehmann, Associate Professor of Design Practice and Theory, The New School, New York

Copy editing

I’ve been the go-to freelance editor for White Cube (one of the world’s leading commercial art galleries) for nearly 20 years, working on catalogue texts by leading writers, curators and academics, including Will Self, Nicholas Serota, Simon Schama, Michael Bracewell, Ben Okri and Rudi Fuchs (former director of Amsterdam’s Stedelijk Museum). I’ve also done lots of editing work for leading contemporary art magazine frieze, and edited a number of books for Damien Hirst’s publishing company, Other Criteria.

More recently, I’ve helped focus online messaging and content for the Eschaton–Anselm Kiefer Foundation in Paris, worked on a series of online reports for The World Economic Forum, and helped bring better focus to a set of essays for the Museum of Contemporary Art Tokyo‘s catalogue for ‘Christian Marclay Translating’, the artist’s first large-scale museum exhibition in Japan.

Ally is the sole freelance editor called on by White Cube in the gallery’s work on publications, on jobs that range from copy editing to more complex rewrites. Although she’s a sensitive editor, she’s also not afraid to argue for changes, as well as having the creativity to be able to find ways to better and more imaginatively present a set of ideas. I have often received high praise for the gallery’s editing and must in no small part attribute this to her.

Honey Luard, Director of Publications, White Cube

With a keen eye for detail and a great sensibility for the English language, Ally is an exceptional editor, and has the intelligence and sensitivity to confidently handle a range of complex subject matter. Working with Ally is always a pleasure, since she is both incredibly personable and extremely reliable – a true professional!

Rosalind Furness, former Managing Editor, Frieze

Ally is an excellent and efficient editor, capable of forensic yet sensitive shaping of text. She is also a brilliantly astute reader – her broad-sweep reports on approach, content and tone have been as invaluable as her detailed edits. I would recommend her for any publication project without hesitation.

Amie Corry, former Editor, Other Criteria

Notable past editing projects

– Artist and illustrator Paul Davis‘s Line in the Sand, the catalogue for a show of his work at Ginza Graphic Gallery, Tokyo

– Jake Chapman’s introduction to the catalogue for the Chapman Brothers’ notorious exhibition ‘Insult to Injury’, for MACK

– A survey of contemporary Colombian photography for The Photographers’ Gallery, London

– Conversations between acclaimed architect and designer Ron Arad and art critic Matthew Collings for the book Ron Arad talks to Matthew Collings (published by Phaidon)

– A book published to accompany the Southbank Centre‘s retrospective on Tracey Emin 

– A series of books on cultural theory for Iniva (Institute of International Visual Arts), London

– Books on art, architecture and critical theory for arts publisher August Media