Alison Smith's writing has appeared in McSweeney's, Granta, The London Telegraph, The New York Times, The Believer, Glamour, Real Simple, Best American Erotica, and other publications.  

Her book, a memoir titled Name All the Animals, was published by Scribner. Name All the Animals was named one of the top ten books of 2004 by People Magazine and was shorted-listed for the Book-Sense Book-of-the-Year Award. Alison has been awarded the Barnes & Noble Discover Award, the Judy Grahn Prize for Nonfiction and a Lambda Literary Award. Name All the Animals has been published in several foreign countries, including the UK, Italy, Denmark, France, Germany, Brazil and Spain.  Name All the Animals is also available as an audio book—read by the author—from Simon and Schuster Audio.

Alison has taught in the MFA writing program at Goddard College and lectured at universities and high schools throughout the country. She is available for one-on-one editing and individual writing coaching. If you would like to work with Alison go to the "Contact" page to learn how to reach her.

Alison lives in Brooklyn, NY and Northampton, MA with her partner and her two dogs.



If you are a writer in need of an editor and coach to help you bring your draft to completion:

Writing a book can be a long, long road. It can feel like you’ve been wandering for years down this road and you cannot figure out where it’s leading or when, if ever, you will come to the end. It can be a lonely process and it can help to have an outside eye. At some point, you need to get a fresh perspective. You need to place your manuscript in someone else’s hands for a while and say, “You take the wheel.”  That is what I offer.


I will do two deep reads of your manuscript.


First Read: I will read for impressions: what I feel the story is about, what stays with me, what jumps out at me, themes, overall tone and strengths.


Second Read: I will focus on developing a deeper understanding of your voice and your larger project. In this deeper read I concentrate on themes, character development, narrative arc and story-telling.


After the second reading I will write you a long letter.


The Letter: An extended space for mirroring what I see in your manuscript, what’s working, what moved me, what struck me. A space for me to say everything that must be said in a thoughtful and compassionate way, and for you to take in my feedback, forming your thoughts and follow-up questions.


In my letter, I will:  Offer deep feedback on the larger tropes of your work, the major players in the story, the interplay of story and character, the narrative arc.


Offer an assessment of where I think you are in the project of telling your story, and specific ideas for revision.


Once you have read the letter and taken some time to form your comments and questions we will meet, either in person or by phone.


The Meeting or Phone Call:  A one hour conversation to go over the letter and your manuscript and talk it all through.

I believe in giving feedback from a place of strength. We will work from where you are at your best as a writer and see how we can develop your strengths to their fullest extent so that you can write with confidence, with candor, with assurance in your sense of purpose.


What to expect: positive feedback that is specific but not prescriptive. My appraisal of the themes, narrative arc, character development and structure of your book.  Specific ideas for revision.


What not to expect: harsh criticism, disheartening reviews, negative feedback, spell checking or proof reading.


If you are in need of a jump-start for your writing:

 If you aren’t quite at the draft stage and need a coach to get yourself writing, to bounce around ideas, to talk through a writing project and move from the planning stage to the writing stage I can help.


I will look at shorter pieces of work and talk about the themes I see in your writing and how to capitalize on your strengths. Or we can start with a session to get you over an insecurity or a fallow period and get you writing again. We will do a combination of talking, brainstorming and writing exercises to get you working again.


What to expect: A supportive, open and responsive editor and coach. A sounding board. A guide. Tools to start you writing again or to help you start out on your first project. Or tools to bring your manuscript to completion.


What not to expect: negativity, nit-picking, harsh-criticism, disheartening reviews, spellchecking or proofreading.


Get in Touch

 Alison is available for writing coaching

and manuscript consultation.