consulting

I am available for consulting and presentation work in person or via phone/internet. I have expertise and extensive experience in multicultural and diverse (in the more expanded definition, including gender, class, sexuality, disability, and more) literature for children and young adults, including identification, analysis, selection, and use in schools and libraries. I have presented papers, made speeches, and done workshops in the areas of privilege and diversity with educators and librarians.

I also provide manuscript review and editing services. My qualifications can be seen in my CV and include a combination of critical theory education, service on literary award committees, work as a paid book critic, and experience as a librarian, which comes with knowledge about market trends and youth culture. I review children’s, young adult, and new adult manuscripts (no picturebooks). A full service manuscript review includes line edits, editorial comments, and assessments and recommendations on any problematic issues relating to diversity and social justice. I also provide line edits only if you prefer. Rates vary based on manuscript length, genre, and the timeline in which you need your manuscript back, as well as the type of review you are asking for (sensitivity read, line-edit, full service). I work on a 1-month turnaround, unless we arrange something different, and then rates would change based on that.

I am available to do half-hour Skype consults on concepts or manuscripts to help guide you if you are approaching writing a character outside of your own identity (essentially a sensitivity read without actually reading the manuscript). Please inquire about rates.

A selection of past experience presenting, judging, and leading:

>I was on the Edwards Award Committee, naming a lifetime achievement award for YA authors. We honored Sarah Dessen my year. I am currently serving on the Amazing Audiobooks for Teens selection committee, which is exactly what it sounds like.

>In June 2015, I sat on a panel discussing the problems surrounding the gendering of books in publishing and libraries at the American Library Association Annual Conference; I also did a presentation on using student assistants in school libraries and another presentation on peer mentorship and professional networking.

>I was on the YALSA Awards Nominating Committee, identifying strong candidates to run for positions on prestigious literary award committees.

>I was invited to do a workshop and presentation on diversity and privilege issues in books and library selection processes for Bay Area Independent School Librarians (BAISL) in spring of 2015.

>I was a member of the 2014 William C. Morris Award Committee, which named Stephanie Kuehn’s Charm & Strange as the best debut YA book of 2013.

>I was asked to make a presentation on behalf of the Center on Media and Child Health on the subject of media use (and overuse) and children at the Long Island Library Association conference in May 2013.

>I presented a paper on biracial identity in YA realistic fiction at the Young Adult Library Services Association’s (YALSA) YA Literature Symposium in November 2012. That paper was published in The Journal of Research on Libraries and Young Adults and later won YALSA’s Writing Award for best peer-reviewed paper.

TESTIMONIALS

Hannah is an excellent editor. She answered all my questions about my work in progress and added insight of her own, giving me feedback on issues I didn’t even think needed to be addressed. My book will be infinitely better because of her input. I am very grateful to her. Highly recommend.
Cordelia Jensen

Hannah copy edited our young adult book as well as gave us overall notes on what would and wouldn’t work within the publishing world. She even gave us homework and a book list to read! She’s meticulous and will catch things you never thought about with a solution in mind.
The Wing Girls

Hannah was a fantastic help with my books. She was easy to approach on sometimes sensitive issues but always willing to honestly point out anything that troubled her. She was available to discuss my books several times during my editing process as well as beta read them when they were approaching final draft. Hannah is very knowledgeable about cultural issues but also about YA literature in general which is a huge help too. I highly recommend her as a consultant, editor or beta reader.
Gabrielle Prendergast

I had many casual readers—friends, family, co-workers, give me lots of good feedback about my novel-in-progress, but I was missing a critical piece: understanding of an important character, an adolescent girl named Genève who had been adopted. I know little about adoption, and even less about transracial adoption (Genève’s biological father is black, the biological mother is white, and the adoptive mother is Jewish). While not all of my test readers were white, none of them had personal experience in adoption and none of them had a professional background in literature or in literary and cultural analysis. Hannah gave me what nobody else could, and for a very reasonable price.

I had technical adoption details wrong, and I had strong white bias in some of my descriptions that I had not been able to see with my own eyes. Hannah showed me cases where I perhaps had not even given other characters of color the same fullness of humanity as white characters. And while she uncovered these biases of mine and laid them out for me to see, she did so kindly and without judgment. This process improved my story, but was also a larger learning experience for me.

Although I had not asked for an edit, Hannah did call me out on several other random errors she caught, and I’m very grateful because these would have been embarrassing. I have very little budget for my work, but I’ve worked so hard on my story. I’m so glad I invested in a professional sensitivity reader, and I’m so glad that it was Hannah. She understood Genève and other characters of color better than I could.

Through this process, Hannah helped me bring a more believable character to life and helped me to be a better writer for and about all people.
Catherine Dehdashti