Mary Norris Interview

9 Feb, 2016 by

Mary Norris Interview

Do you know a restrictive clause from a non-restrictive one, a nominative pronoun from an accusative? Which words should be capitalised in a title? And are you sure that every last one of those commas is in exactly the right place?

Even the world’s greatest writers struggle with this stuff, which is why The New Yorker is lucky to have people like Mary Norris. Mary is one of the copy-editors who have helped uphold the magazine’s formidable reputation, and she’s been doing it for over three decades.

In her new book, Between You & Me: Confessions of a Comma Queen, Mary sets out not only to explain these arcane rules, but also to show us why they’re so important. Along the way, she shares some fascinating stories about what goes on behind the scenes at The New Yorker. 

Mary Norris spoke to Grace Nye about copy-editing, her love of cows, and why we find grammar experts so intimidating. Originally broadcast 04/02/2016. Between You & Me is out through Text Publishing.


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