SD/PEN Member Profile: Nora Cohen

SD/PEN regularly selects one of its members at random to profile his or her background and experience. This profile features long-time member and children's book editor Nora Cohen, owner of

NoraCohenHow do you describe what you do to someone whom you’ve just met at a networking function?

I receive manuscripts from writers who want their work to be edited, finessed, and polished so that they can then begin the submission process to literary agencies or to undertake self-publishing, whichever their choice may be.

What made you decide to become a professional editor?

I was an art major at an arts high school and then an English major in college and have always loved the genre of children’s books, as well as the gorgeous illustrations in picture books. Those experiences eventually led to my becoming a children’s book editor.

Which quality or qualities would you most like your clients or professional colleagues to remember you for?

I edit each children’s book manuscript with respect and sensitivity, with the goal of retaining the writer’s personal voice and vision while strengthening, finessing, and polishing their work so that they can then begin the journey of submitting the edited version of their manuscript to the publishing world.

Tell us about a book you recently read that you would recommend.

Two wonderful books I have recently finished reading are Call the Nurse and Nurse, Come You Here!, written by British nurse Mary J. MacLeod. They are lovely, moving, engrossing memoirs about her experiences as the “island nurse” on a Scottish island in the Hebrides in the late 1960s.

Where would you like to go on your next vacation and why?

Italy, to attend a dear friend’s wedding.

Describe your ideal weekend.

Reading both novels and nonfiction, taking long walks, reading the New York Times, painting watercolors, and watching British DVDs and British series like Masterpiece Theatre and Masterpiece Mystery!, all while spending time with my beloved husband and family.

What is your favorite or least favorite word and why?

My favorite words are love and tenderness, as they describe the heart and soul and meaning of life.

Describe one thing about yourself that most people don’t know.

My beloved siblings and I spent our childhood summers in an idyllic lake town as well as a lovely seaside beach town, and those magical spots were where I discovered my adoration of nature and my love of rainy days and thunderstorms with crashing lightning all around us.

What did you want to be when you grew up?

My childhood vision of what I wanted to be when I grew up was to live in a cozy cottage in the countryside, surrounded by nature and beauty, and to work with both art and writing in some capacity.

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