ABOUT JANE HARRIGAN

jane headshot

I’ve always made my living working with words – as an AP reporter, newspaper editor, freelance writer, book development editor, and professor of writing and editing at the University of New Hampshire.  (See selected details below.) 

 

In those roles I’ve written lots of my own stuff.  Mostly, though, I’ve helped writers from 18 to 80 see their writing more clearly, develop higher standards, and then meet those standards.  We’ve worked together on books, op-ed columns, and all sorts of short and long pieces, nonfiction and fiction.  I’ve always cared as passionately about other people’s writing as about my own.  Strange but true!

 

I live sometimes in the Boston area, sometimes in southern Arizona, and have traveled to every continent except Antarctica.  I have a large and wonderful family and a core group of friends who’ve been together since kindergarten. I’m lucky to have lots of newer friends as well – and to count many former students, and many writers I’ve worked with, among them.

 

SOME THINGS I'VE DONE

  • Have helped 15 authors get books out of their heads and between covers. Now working with what we hope will become numbers 16-21.
  • Three-time juror for the Pulitzer Prizes: 2017, 2007, 2006.
  • Recipient of 2015 Yankee Quill Award for contributions to New England journalism.
  • Author of a book, The Editorial Eye, that’s been used to teach editing at universities from Syracuse to Stanford, plus another book and chapters in two more.
  • Frequent past speaker about coaching at Poynter Institute, American Copy Editors Society, American Press Institute, Association for Education in Journalism and Mass Communication.
  • Bachelor’s in English from Boston College, master’s in journalism from Syracuse University.

SOME THINGS I'VE LEARNED

  • Being a journalist has taught me to work fast, get to the point, and try anything.
  • Being a college professor taught me to wrestle big ideas into accessible form, and never to give up on anyone.
  • Being a story coach teaches me daily to tailor my suggestions to the needs of each writer.
  • Doing my own writing means I understand the duel between screaming frustration and adrenaline high. It also means I have my own creative outlets; I don’t need to hijack yours.