Emma D Dryden
I was born and raised in New York City. Yes, I’m a native New Yorker. And what’s more, my parents were both New Yorkers and I currently make my home in the Manhattan apartment in which I grew up. I love traveling around the world and will go anywhere at least once, but home is NYC.
During my sophomore year at Vassar College, I studied poetry writing and storytelling with Nancy Willard, and then I transferred to Smith College to continue my English studies and take a poetry writing seminar with former U.S. Poet Laureate, Richard Wilbur. The summer before I graduated, I landed an internship as a “jack of all trades” assistant at Viking Children’s Books and once I earned my B.A in English Language and Literature from Smith, I returned to New York City to be an Editorial Assistant at Random House Children’s Books. I was then hired as Associate Editor for the legendary Margaret K. McElderry, whose eponymous imprint was part of Macmillan Children’s Books, and was later named Senior Editor of the imprint. After Margaret K. McElderry retired, I was made Vice President, Editorial Director, and in 2005 I became Vice President, Publisher of Atheneum Books for Young Readers and Margaret K. McElderry Books, imprints of Simon & Schuster Children's Publishing, a position I held until 2009.
Over the course of my twenty-five year career I’ve edited nearly five-hundred books for children and young readers, ranging in format from board books and picture books to poetry, novelty books, non-fiction, middle grade fiction, and young adult/teen fiction and fantasy. As publisher, I oversaw a staff that ranged between six and eleven editors and the annual publication of over one-hundred hardcover and paperback titles. During my tenure with Atheneum and McElderry Books, the books I edited consistently garnered starred reviews, were named to year-end “best of” lists, received regional and national publicity and acclaim, and I was proud to see many of my titles hit the bestseller lists in USA Today, The New York Times, The Washington Post, Publishers Weekly, and other national publications.
Books published under my guidance have received numerous awards and medals, among them the Newbery Medal, Newbery Honor, Caldecott Honor, National Book Award nomination, Coretta Scott King Author Award, Coretta Scott King Author Honor, Coretta Scott King Illustration Award, Indies Choice Book Award, New York Times Best Illustrated Award, Museum of Tolerance Children’s Book Award, Edgar Allan Poe Award, Oppenheim Toy Portfolio Platinum Award, Christopher Award, Jane Addams Book Award, Boston Globe/Horn Book Award, Robert F. Sibert Informational Book Award, and National Parenting Publications Gold Award.
When I’m not editing, I’m doing some writing of my own. I am the co-author of the award-winning WHAT DOES IT MEAN TO BE AN ENTREPRENEUR? published by Little Pickle Press in 2016. I also write poetry, have published several board books and coloring books, share musings on my blog, "Our Stories, Ourselves", and I’m working on several projects. Writing books is a lot more difficult than editing books! So, to all the authors reading this, please know I empathize with the pain and struggle and joy you go through every day of your writing lives.
I’m a member of the EFA (Editorial Freelancers Association), a member of ALA (American Library Association), and am on the Board of Advisors of SCBWI (Society of Children’s Book Writers & Illustrators). I speak frequently about the state of the industry and lead workshops and seminars pertaining to all aspects of the craft of writing children’s books.