Emma grew up in a household of readers, and still remembers when her mother established the rule “No Reading When You’re Walking” after a bad fall (caused by reading while walking down stairs) resulted in a sprained ankle. Emma attended Sarah Lawrence, where she earned a BA in Liberal Arts with a concentration in literature and creative writing, and was a finalist for the Nancy Lynn Schwartz Prize for Fiction Writing. After Sarah Lawrence, she headed to the Iowa Writers’ Workshop, where she was selected for the The Iowa Arts Fellowship, the most prestigious writing fellowship awarded to students of the Workshop.
Emma has worked as a writing teacher and editor since 2008, when she taught her first undergraduate creative writing class at The University of Iowa. It was also at Iowa that she realized that she loved editing her peers’ work just as much as writing her own fiction, and upon graduating, she moved to New York City to work in publishing. She spent seven years at the boutique literary agency McCormick Literary, where she coached writers across an array of genres, including literary fiction, personal essays, memoir, and narrative nonfiction. The books she worked on have been named to “Best of the Year” lists by The New York Times, The New Yorker, and NPR; reached The New York Times bestseller list; and been shortlisted for and won prestigious awards. She takes great pleasure in helping both new and already accomplished writers hone their voice and effectively translate their ideas into language.
After many years braving New York winters, she recently returned to sunny California, where she is a freelance editor. In her free time, she enjoys cooking, writing, meditating, and reading nineteenth-century novels on the beach.