Random House copy chief and author of Dreyer's English
Photo Credit: Gabriel Dreyer
About Benjamin Dreyer
Beloved by authors, editors, and his social media followers, Benjamin Dreyer has a unique knack for playfully deconstructing the English language. In his forthcoming book, Dreyer’s English: An Utterly Correct Guide to Clarity and Style, he distills his experience as the managing editor and copy chief of Random House into a useful guide for everyone who wants to improve their writing skills. Included are all the lessons on punctuation, grammar, and spelling a writer could ever desire, combined with insider wisdom and fun facts. Dreyer brings the same enthusiasm, authority, and irreverence to his talks, delivering valuable lessons on clarity and wit to students, professionals, and aspiring writers.
A graduate of Northwestern University, Dreyer began his publishing career as a freelance proofreader and copy editor. In 1993, he became a production editor at Random House, where he worked with a roster of writers that included Michael Chabon, Edmund Morris, Suzan-Lori Parks, Michael Pollan, Peter Straub, and Calvin Trillin. Dreyer has copyedited books by authors including E. L. Doctorow, David Ebershoff, Frank Rich, and Elizabeth Strout, as well as Let Me Tell You, a volume of previously unpublished or uncollected work by Shirley Jackson. He currently travels from New York City.
For audiences that have always wondered what exactly copy editors do, how they do it, and, most important, how to manage without one, Benjamin Dreyer’s talk covers all of the bases. From the evolution of language and building blocks of grammar to practical tips on how people can improve their writing all on their own, everyone in attendance will come away having learned something new, from seasoned writers to college freshmen.
Working with Your Copy Editor
A personal, supportive relationship between a writer and a copy editor can be essential to taking any written work from “good” to “perfect.” In this talk filled with fascinating and often hilarious stories from the trenches, Benjamin Dreyer provides everything aspiring writers need to know about the copyediting process, from the ins and outs of grammar and style to the question of whether "correct prose" even exists.
How—and Why—Our Language Evolves
Language has always been in a state of flux. Some words considered slang fifty years ago are acceptable—even formal—today. In the digital age, language moves ever faster, with new nouns and verbs (and verbed nouns!) flooding discourse and, ultimately, dictionaries. Benjamin Dreyer talks about what has changed about the English language over the years, and why we sometimes struggle to keep up with it.
The Top 10 Mistakes Every Writer Makes (and How to Stop Making Them)
With decades of copyeditorial work under his belt, Benjamin Dreyer has learned that even the most talented authors can slip up. In this presentation, Dreyer covers the top 10 mistakes all writers make, and provides easily mastered tactics to catch them—before it’s too late.
Pencil to Paper: Stories from Random House’s Copy Chief
Before countless bestsellers hit shelves, they passed across Benjamin Dreyer's desk. As Random House’s copy chief, Dreyer has played an understated but essential role in the publishing process for some of today’s biggest literary hits. In this talk, he gives a behind-the-scenes look at the business of prose and the books he shepherded along the way.
Books by Benjamin Dreyer
Media About Benjamin Dreyer
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- Benjamin Dreyer travels from New York, NY