Editor profile: Katie Zdybel
Introducing: Katie Zdybel, Associate Editor
As a writer, my focus is on short stories, novels, and creative non-fiction. My first collection of short stories was shortlisted for the HarperCollins/UBC Prize for Best New Fiction, and several of the stories have won major literary awards. Most recently, my short story “The Critics” was selected by Joyce Carol Oates as the winner of the Exile Carter V. Cooper Short Fiction Award. I’m currently working on a creative non-fiction manuscript which was awarded a Canada Council for the Arts Award, among other prizes. My short stories and essays are published in literary magazines across Canada.
I started my editing career as an editorial assistant at the award-winning, international magazine Lion’s Roar, and since then have served as editorial assistant and editor at several other publications. I have a post-graduate certificate in creative writing from Humber College, and am currently completing an MFA in creative writing from the University of British Columbia.
As an editor, I’ve learned the most important skill I can foster in writers is an instinct for telling their own unique story. When a story feels authentic, readers respond. I support the writers I work with to develop essential literary strategies, but also to let their characters, stories, and purpose guide the process. Ultimately, I feel that honesty, clear communication, and kindness make editing a positive and rewarding process.
When not writing or editing, I’m reading! I love to read fiction, poetry, graphic novels, memoirs, young adult and children’s literature, philosophy/spirituality, and historical fiction, but really, what I’m drawn to is really good sentences and great heart. I love writing that is built on attention to the craft and has a clear sense of purpose.
Tips for writers:
- Enroll in free online writing courses, local workshops, or community college classes. Try all the exercises and ask lots of questions.
- Read constantly. And write down what you think is working well in what you’re reading.
- Develop a good relationship with the editing process: understand that most of the magic happens not when drafting but when editing, that editing takes a lot of time, and it requires positive, constructive teamwork.