Vanessa Plaister¶ | artisan|editor | (she/her)

Advanced Professional Member
Location Remote (based in Canada and UK)
Email .(JavaScript must be enabled to view this email address)
LinkedIn Vanessa Plaister

For conscious-language wordcraft and polished proofs

When you want your words to reach and resonate with the widest possible readership, you need a professional who edits with an ear to voice and an eye to audience.

You need a professional who will wield proven tools, training, creativity and sensitivity to amplify your voice and help you carve out space in which you'll build a relationship with your reader, rooted in trust.

With close attention to clarity and consistency, I'll boost your credibility – and I'll do that while helping you engage inclusively with your audience, whether that means neutralising pronouns to bring women, girls and those who identify beyond a gender binary into the picture or paying nuanced attention to neurotypical assumptions.

Equality, diversity and inclusion are the e, d and i in my editing. They’re always at the heart of my work, and words are a way in which you and I – every day in myriad ways – can have a profoundly positive EDI effect.

So, whether you've drafted a technical procedure that will help your workers to perform safely, or analysed law through a feminist lens, or are blogging about bisexuality, the next step for your art is an editor.

An artisan|editor.

Select portfolio

Chine McDonald, _God Is Not a White Man_ (Hodder Faith, 2021)John L. Campbell and John A. Hall, _What Capitalism Needs_ (Cambridge University Press, 2021)Shinji Higaki and Yuji Nasu (eds), _Hate Speech in Japan_ (Cambridge University Press, 2021)Cristián Correa, Shuichi Furuya and Clara Sandoval, _Reparation for Victims of Armed Conflict_ (Cambridge university Press, 20200Darryl Robinson, _Justice in Extreme Cases_ (Cambridge University Press, 2020)Ilan Wurman, _The Second Founding_ (Cambridge University Press, 2020)Ann C. McGinley and Nicole Buonocore Porter (eds), _Feminist Judgments: Rewritten Employment Discrimination Opinions_ (Cambridge University Press, 2020)Deborah S. Gordon, Browne C. Lewis and Carla Spivack (eds), _Feminist Judgments: Rewritten Trusts and Estates Opinions (Cambridge University Press, 2020)Clare Feeney, _How to Change the World_ (Gosbrook, 2019)Robin Feldman, _Drugs, Money and Secret Handshakes_ (Cambridge University Press, 2019)Ronald E. Riggio (ed), _What's Wrong with Leadership?_ (Routledge, 2019)Petr Agha (ed), _Law, Politics and the Gender Binary_ (Routledge, 2018)Maykel Verkuyten, _The Social Psychology of Ethnic Identity_ (2nd edn, Routledge, 2018)Megha Amrith and Nina Sahraoui (eds), _Gender, Work and Migration_ (Routledge, 2018)Bob McGannon, _Intelligent Disobedience_ (Routledge, 2018)Jeremias Prassl, _Humans as a Service_ (Oxford University Press, 2018)Jonathan Herring, _Legal Ethics_ (2nd edn, Oxford University Press, 2017)Dorothy Kenny, _Human Issues in Translation Technology_ (Routledge, 2017)

Professional memberships

Advanced Professional Member of the Chartered Institute of Editing and Proofreading (CIEP)
Associate Member of the Institute of Equality and Diversity Professionals (IEDP)
Full Member of ACES (formerly the American Copy Editors Society)
Member of Editors Canada (formerly the Editors Association of Canada, or EAC)
Member of the Federation of Small Businesses (FSB)
Member of the National Union of Journalists (NUJ)


  • Skilled and sensitive editor, drawing on almost 20 years’ training and experience across some 400 titles to tailor your words to engage your audience and amplify your voice
  • Specialist in conscious (inclusive) language, alert to issues of gender, race, disability and other protected characteristics, as well as neurodivergence and body type
  • ​On-screen editor in MS Word, partnering extensive training and experience with efficiency tools targeting a high-quality product and low production costs
  • On-screen proofreader in Adobe Acrobat, particularly skilled at suggesting cost-effective solutions to issues that will impact negatively on a reader’s experience
  • Experienced in developing bespoke and implementing existing style guides, including Oxford and Chicago, OSCOLA and Bluebook, to boost your brand's clarity and consistency
  • Expertise in Word templates adds value in developing business branding, marking up complex typography and setting text for anyone publishing directly from Word
  • Substantive editing (sub-editing) or rewriting to fit constrained spaces and/or to deliver impactful brand or other key messages
  • Additional skills include legal tabling and conversion from US, Canadian or other Englishes to UK English, including idiom and experience
  • Media edited spans policies and reports, technical manuals and procedures, marketing literature, learning materials (print and online), books (single-author and multi-contributor; print and/or e-books), journals and magazines, and websites
  • Extents tackled range from paragraph-length personal statements to 1,250,000-wd tomes cited as authority in courts of law
  • Clients include publishers, large corporates and small businesses, non-profits and independent authors, among them several renowned legal authorities, as well as authors writing in English as a second or other language


  • Vice-chair, CIEP, Sept 2021–present
  • Editor | proofreader | project manager, artisan|editor, Apr 2006–present
  • Special projects director, CIEP, Sept 2021–Sept 2022
  • Community director, CIEP [formerly SfEP], Sept 2018–Sept 2021
  • Local group coordinator (Mid-Somerset), SfEP [now CIEP], Sept 2014–Nov 2019
  • Production editor (magazines), Institute of Financial Services (now London Institute of Banking & Finance), Mar 2005–Apr 2006
  • Production editor (learning materials), Institute of Financial Services (now London Institute of Banking & Finance), Dec 2003–Mar 2005

Professional development

  • Language prejudice and the documentation of minoritized varieties of English (OED) 2022
  • Trauma-informed editing (FOLD Academy) 2021
  • Annual conference (CIEP) 2021
  • Level 5 Award in Managing equality, diversity and inclusion (CMI) 2021
  • Microaggressions in editing: understanding bias and undoing harm (ACES) 2021
  • Keep it simple: the science behind plain language, and why you should use it (ACES) 2021
  • Perspectives: people of color in the editing community (ACES) 2020
  • Working effectively with Indigenous peoples (IRA) 2020
  • Annual conference (CIEP) 2020
  • Sensitivity reading and beyond: empowering editors to talk about conscious language and representation (ACES) 2020
  • Don't eat your words: how we talk about food and bodies, and why it matters (ACES) 2020
  • Enforcing house styles: customizing PerfectIt for advanced users (ACES) 2020
  • Checking consistency: how to use PerfectIt for faster and better results (ACES) 2020
  • Annual conference (SfEP) 2019
  • Creating an inclusive culture (ALPSP) 2019
  • South-west regional mini-conference (SfEP) 2018
  • Getting work with non-publishers (SfEP) 2017
  • Annual conference (SfEP) 2017
  • Legal publishing (SfEP) 2012
  • Efficient copyediting (SfEP) 2010
  • On-screen editing 2 (SfEP) 2010
  • On-screen editing 1 (SfEP) 2010
  • Basic editing (PTC) 2006
  • Writing for the Web (PMA) 2005
  • News writing (PMA) 2005
  • Indexing for editors (PTC) 2004
  • Management of production (PTC) 2004
  • Managing editorial freelances (PTC) 2004
  • Scheduling and production control (PTC) 2004
  • Proofreading for editors (PTC) 2004
  • BA (Hons) (1st) English and American Literature (University of Kent at Canterbury) 1997

Note: ACES = American Copy Editors Society; ALPSP = Association of Learned and Professional Society Publishers (UK); CIEP = Chartered Institute of Editing and Proofreading; CMI = Chartered Management Institute; FOLD = Festival of Literary Diversity; IRA = Indigenous Relations Academy; PMA = PMA Media Training; PTC = Publishing Training Centre; SfEP = Society for Editors and Proofreaders (now CIEP)


  • More than 400 titles copyedited, proofread and/or project managed since 2006
  • Extensive experience of law and law-related titles spanning more than 100 titles, across multiple editions, for a range of publishers and independent authors
  • Additional experience in areas such as feminist and queer legal theory, law and philosophy, language and creativity, and journalism and public affairs
  • Subjects covered include law and law-related, intellectual property, financial services and banking, business and management (including human resources management and marketing), and humanities
  • Demonstrated ability to apply skills to wide range of less commonly covered subjects ranging from asthma (causes, symptoms and treatment) to zoo animals (care and management)


A pleasure to work with, Vanessa has consistently proved a diligent and most reliable freelancer. She is excellent at comfortably tackling complex projects, and she creates excellent working relationships with authors and in-house staff alike. Most of all, upon handing over a title to Vanessa, I find I am able to rest at ease that the title is in highly dependable hands.

Matt Baldwin, Oxford University Press

In 2013, when I wrote the first edition of my book Professional Conduct Casebook, I was fortunate indeed to be introduced to Vanessa by my publisher Oxford University Press (OUP). Vanessa proved a wonderful copy-editor, and I owe her a huge debt of gratitude for her helpful, courteous and supportive advice on my typescript. I am quite sure that the book would not have come to fruition without her careful eye to detail. We worked so well together that, in 2015, I specifically asked OUP to secure Vanessa’s professional help with the second edition. Once again, her support was invaluable and, as I prepare to write a third edition for publication in 2018, there is no doubt that I shall be asking to work with Vanessa again.

Kenneth Hamer, author, Professional Conduct Casebook (OUP, 2013; 2nd edn, 2015)

We asked Vanessa to edit and format some 80+ procedural documents to resolve issues of consistency and quality that had developed over time. Communication and momentum was excellent throughout the project, with Vanessa letting us know well in advance of anything that may become an issue. One thing that really stood out is her attention to detail in ensuring that all quoted matter and references were spot on and up to date, and I really could see the value of the service provided.

We had no idea how much the documents could be improved when we started the project and we’ve been really pleased with the outcome. We can safely say that we now have a complete set of high-quality procedures and recent audits have praised the standard of the work that has been carried out. I would definitely use Vanessa again for document editing and control.

Daren Crosbee, plant manager, UniTech Services Group Ltd

Vanessa is a sensible and sensitive copy-editor, ­with a good grasp of the subject matter of my book (Retail Banking), which allowed us to resolve a number of queries very quickly.  I found Vanessa’s work to be thorough, accurate and consistent throughout the small number of iterations of the editing process.  I am very pleased with the outcome and consider the work to have been truly a team effort – with Vanessa as the remarkably agile goalkeeper.

Keith Pond, author, Retail Banking (4th edn, Gosbrook, 2017)

An exceptionally thorough and conscientious editor, always goes the extra mile, without compromising deadlines. An extremely capable project manager, even on the trickiest projects. Always provides a first-class service.

Marie Smith, freelancer (formerly of Institute of Financial Services)