Madeleine Collinge Publishing Services


I am a freelance editor and copy writer with extensive experience in the publishing industry and academia. I am very lucky to have worked with some wonderful clients, including publishers, government departments and agencies, non-governmental organisations, academics (editing and preparation of manuscripts for academic publishers), self-published authors, and Masters and PhD candidates (thesis editing).


I can shape and reorganise text to ensure the narrative remains fluid and readable, and, most of all, makes sense to tell the best possible story – whether fiction or non-fiction.

Ralph Waldo Emerson claimed that “a foolish consistency is the hobgoblin of little minds”, in his celebration of human individuality. Consistency in writing is another matter entirely – it invisibly adds to the reading experience by avoiding distractions. I can smooth out all inconsistencies and errors with my excellent copy editing skills.

I have formidably broad general knowledge and excellent research skills to support my editing. I can ensure the writing has a logical flow and help writers to communicate their ideas in the clearest possible way.

Editing projects include:



Call me Hawkeye. I may not be Alan Alda in Mash, but I’m the sharpest-eyed proof reader you’ll ever encounter. I can spot all errors and adapt to any house style. Got a problem with your em and en dashes? Your author switches between APA and Chicago A? An embarrassing missing ‘l’ in public? I can fix that.

My years working in publishing and on academic writing have trained that eye, and I have experience in proofreading in a huge variety of styles and formats, from books for publication to PhDs. Accuracy is crucial if you want your writing to be taken seriously. I’m just the proofreader to ensure that happens.

Proofreading projects include:


Do you need promotional copy for a publication? I can write copy that will make your book sound intriguing and illuminating. I can write copy for a press release, catalogue or marketing materials. I can also provide advice on how to ensure that your existing copy is the best ever to help sell that book.

I have years of experience writing cover blurbs and other publishing copy for a huge range of genres. I write freelance blurbs, teach copywriting to publishing students, and (let’s be honest) I spend quite a bit of time in bookshops looking at cover copy. I love thinking about how text can be honed to appeal to its audience, use language that inspires and, crucially, avoid spoilers. Spoilers are the worst.

Whether you need some copy for a book cover – from crime, romantic fiction, history or politics, to a dictionary of physics or a legal text book – or other any publishing materials, I can write in a voice that speaks to your audience.

I don’t just write for publishers. Using my experience working in a marketing team, I can write, rewrite and edit copy for any purpose – whether business or government reports, marketing or advertising copy.

Copy writing projects include:

  • Blurb for the slip case of He Tohu, comprising He Whakaputanga/The Declaration of Independence, Te Tiriti o Waitangi and The Women’s Suffrage Petition (Bridget Williams Books / National Library)
  • Cover blurb for New Zealand School of Dance: 50 Years 1967–2017 (New Zealand School of Dance)

About Madeleine

I’m an editor, proofreader and writer available for freelance and in-house contracts.

I’ve worked with words since I graduated with an Honours degree in English literature from Victoria University of Wellington and from Whitireia Publishing. I got my start in publishing at Auckland University Press and Bridget Williams Books, working on some of New Zealand’s best books. I then moved to London where I was lucky enough to land a job at Penguin Books, where, among other roles, I wrote copy for a wide and wonderful range of international fiction and non-fiction, including hundreds of Penguin Classics. After I returned to New Zealand I worked at Victoria University, helping students at all levels from first-year to PhD to improve their writing.

I can help with all your editing, proofreading and writing needs.


Email me at

Click here to see my profile on LinkedIn for more details

Work samples

The following blurbs are a selection of copy I wrote while working for Penguin UK.

The King’s English
Kingsley Amis
Penguin Modern Classics
ISBN 978-0141194318

The King’s English is Kingsley Amis’s authoritative and witty guide to the use and abuse of the English language. A scourge of illiteracy and a thorn in the side of pretension, Amis provides indispensable advice about the linguistic blunders that lie in wait for us, from danglers and four-letter words to jargon and even Welsh rarebit. If you have ever wondered whether it’s acceptable to start a sentence with ‘and’, to boldly split an infinitive, or to cross your sevens in the French style, Amis has the answer – or a trenchant opinion. By turns reflective, acerbic and provocative, The King’s English is for anyone who cares about how the English language is used.

Child of All Nations
Irmgard Keun
Penguin Modern Classics
ISBN 978-0141188454

Kully knows some things you don’t learn at school. She knows the right way to roll a cigarette and pack a suitcase. She knows that cars are more dangerous than lions. She knows you can’t enter a country without a passport or visa. And she knows that she and her parents can’t go back to Germany again – her father’s books are banned there. But there are also things she doesn’t understand, like why there might be a war in Europe – just that there are men named Hitler, Mussolini and Chamberlain involved. Little Kully is far more interested where their next meal will come from and the ladies who seem to buzz around her father. Meanwhile she and her parents roam through Europe. Her mother would just like to settle down, but as her restless father struggles to find a new publisher, the three must escape from country to country as their visas expire, money runs out and hotel bills mount up.

David Copperfield
Charles Dickens
Penguin Classics
ISBN 978-0140439441

David Copperfield is the story of a young man’s adventures on his journey from an unhappy and impoverished childhood to the discovery of his vocation as a successful novelist. Among the gloriously vivid cast of characters he encounters are his tyrannical stepfather, Mr Murdstone; his brilliant, but ultimately unworthy school-friend James Steerforth; his formidable aunt, Betsey Trotwood; the eternally humble, yet treacherous Uriah Heep; frivolous, enchanting Dora Spenlow; and the magnificently impecunious Wilkins Micawber, one of literature’s great comic creations. In David Copperfield – the novel he described as his ‘favourite child’ – Dickens drew revealingly on his own experiences to create one of the most exuberant and enduringly popular works, filled with tragedy and comedy in equal measure.

The God Boy
Ian Cross
Penguin Modern Classics
ISBN 978-0141187440

‘I’m a God boy, Sister,’ I said. ‘You don’t have to worry about me, I’m a God boy.’

Jimmy Sullivan believed he was protected by God until his parents’ unhappy marriage finally broke down, with tragic consequences. Now a disturbed thirteen-year-old at a Catholic boarding school, Jimmy rages at God for failing him as he tells of his own violent and obsessive reaction to the turbulent events of two years before. Through his uncomprehending and often humorous voice of tough indifference, a very adult drama emerges of marital strife, drunkenness and illicit abortion. Ian Cross vividly evokes life in a provincial New Zealand town in the 1950s, in his tale of the crippling of a bright and hopeful young mind.

The Koran
Penguin Classics
ISBN 978-0141393834

The Koran is universally accepted by Muslims to be the infallible Word of God as first revealed to the Prophet Muhammad by the Angel Gabriel nearly fourteen hundred years ago. Its 114 chapters, or surahs, recount the narratives central to Muslim belief, and together they form one of the world’s most influential prophetic works and a literary masterpiece in its own right. But, above all, the Koran provides the rules of conduct that remain fundamental to the Muslim faith today: prayer, fasting, almsgiving, pilgrimage to Mecca and absolute faith in God and His apostle.

The Bible
Penguin Classics
ISBN 978-0141441511

The King James Bible or Authorized Version (1611) comprises the Old Testament, the Apocrypha and the New Testament, from God’s creation of the heaven and earth and the fall of man in Genesis, through the life Jesus Christ, to St John the Divine’s foretelling of the end of the world and God’s final judgment in Revelation. Among the most influential texts of all time and the cornerstone of the Christian faith, the King James Bible is the work of the great scholars and theologians of the early seventeenth century and reflects their desire for greater stability in the Christian religion. They revised and retranslated existing versions, including that of William Tyndale, to create a standardized Bible that would be accessible to all speakers and readers of English. Definitive and highly readable, this superb edition brings new vigour to one of the finest pieces of English prose.

Clinging to the Wreckage
John Mortimer
ISBN 978-0140063837

Here John Mortimer recounts his solitary childhood in the English countryside, with affectionate portraits of his remote parents – an increasingly unconventional barrister father, whose blindness must never be mentioned, battling earwigs in the mutinous garden, and a vague and endlessly patient mother. As a boy dreaming of a tap-dancing career on the stage and forming a one-boy communist cell at boarding school, his father pushes him to pursue the law, where Mortimer embarks on the career that was to inspire his hilarious and immortal literary creations. Told with great humour and touching honesty, this is a magnificent achievement by one of Britain’s best-loved writers.

Iron Kingdom
Christopher Clark
ISBN 978-0140293340

Winner of the Wolfson History Prize, Christopher Clark’s Iron Kingdom: The Rise and Downfall of Prussia 1600–1947 is a compelling account of a country that played a pivotal role in Europe’s fortunes and fundamentally shaped our world. Prussia began as a medieval backwater, but transformed itself into a major European power and the force behind the creation of the German empire, until it was finally abolished by the Allies after the Second World War. With great flair and authority, Christopher Clark describes Prussia’s great battles, dynastic marriages and astonishing reversals of fortune, its brilliant and charismatic leaders from the Hohenzollerns of Brandenburg to Bismarck and Frederick the Great, the military machine and the progressive, enlightened values on which it was built.