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What People Have Said About Me


International Institute for Environment and Development

‘Ken Barlow did a wonderful job editing a research report for IIED. He was attentive to guidelines, responsive to requests, and his work was thorough, most effective and quick. He worked autonomously but did not hesitate to ask for clarifications when necessary. I will certainly use his services again in the future, and would warmly recommend him!’


Nordic Africa Institute

'We have benefited greatly from Ken’s editorial skills in developing the quality of our Africa Now book series as well as our policy note series. He has done a great job reviewing texts and fine-tuning them to fit our different target groups, from researchers to policymakers.'


Africa Editor at BBC World Service; author of Getting Somalia Wrong? 

‘I would never have completed my book without Ken. I could not recommend him more highly.’


author of The Global Minotaur: America, Europe and the Future of the Global Economy

‘I owe Ken a big thank you for helping the Minotaur get out of its Labyrinth.’


co-author of Governance for Development in Africa

‘Over a decade of productive engagement with Zed Books, I found Ken to be a top-quality senior editor: efficient, effective, accessible and wise. He has an exceptional grasp of the publishing fields of development and African studies. His editorial judgement is excellent and invariably matched by friendly professionalism.'


Managing Editor, International African Institute

‘I have worked with Ken on publishing the successful African Arguments book series for some ten years. Ken is a highly accomplished editor of both general and academic books. He combines both a commitment to the books and subjects addressed with a sound sense of the markets into which he is publishing. He is also a close reader of manuscripts, offering innumerable suggestions to authors about structure, detail and style that make a real difference. He is creative, and quite brilliant at suggesting suitable book titles and briefing cover design. Importantly too, he is approachable, consistent and reliable.’


co-editor of Making Sense of the Central African Republic

‘Ken is everything you want in an editor. His intellectual rigor and demand for quality (rare in publishing these days) is matched by his creative flexibility and keen eye for identifying gaps in knowledge that need filling.’


author of Barometer of Fear: An Insider’s Account of Rogue Trading and the Greatest Banking Scandal in History

‘Ken was brilliant in teaching me how to navigate through and blend the personal and the academic material. As an editor, I could not rate him high enough.’


author of Digital Democracy, Analogue Politics: How the Internet Era is Transforming Kenya

‘For a writer working on their first book especially, you couldn't ask for a better editor and indeed collaborator than Ken. He has a remarkably keen eye for detail and a great deal of insight into the best way to communicate ideas, something that helped me to see my manuscript from a reader's perspective. I can't recommend him highly enough.’


author of Debunking Economics

‘Editing is more than a career for Ken, it's a passion in which he has a gift. I happily recommended my peers to consider publishing with Zed because Ken was its editor there, and now that Ken is carving out his own editing business, that recommendation travels with him.’


co-editor of Africa’s Urban Revolution and co-author of Building a Capable State

‘Ken knows all about books and publishing, but he also knows the people and the subject matter that he edits. Using a keen eye for identifying new writers Ken, via Zed, took the field of African Studies to new levels. He has driven a culture of excellence while expanding the range of topics and profile of contributing authors.’


author of The Unknowers: How Strategic Ignorance Rules the World

‘Ken is a dream editor. I can’t say enough good things about his foresight, editorial skill and insightfulness – I’m trying now to rustle up projects so I can work with him again.'


Nordic Africa Institute, editor of Gender, Poverty and Access to Justice: Policy Implementation in Sub-Saharan Africa

Ken was brought on board for his development editing skills, and his diligence and recommendations regarding the manuscript were invaluable in providing fresh impetus for the final push towards publication.


co-author of Rethinking the Economics of Land and Housing

‘Ken saw the potential of our book when other major publishers thought it wouldn't work. He was proved right as it was a huge success. He also managed the publication process very smoothly and provided useful comments and advice on the text itself. I would recommend him highly.’


author of The Trial of Hissène Habré and Africa’s New Oil

‘Ken's approach to editing books is detailed and he took great care to understand my arguments and help me to develop them. I never felt at any time that he was over-bearing or pushy, rather he was a supportive and reflective presence who was able to take the necessary step back and make sure that my thoughts and experiences were coming across clearly on the page.'


author of Scroungers: Moral Panics and Media Myths

‘Of the six or seven book editors I've worked with over the past decade or so on various projects, Ken has been the most punctual and precise in his feedback – much more of an “editor's editor” than almost any of the others.’


author of Pentecostal Republic: Religion and the Struggle for State Power in Nigeria

‘I was privileged to work with Ken from conception, through gestation, and finally to the eventual happy delivery of my book. Having worked with numerous editors over the years, I can confidently declare that, in a crowded field, Ken ranks among the very best.’


author of Revolting Subjects: Social Abjection and Resistance in Neoliberal Britain

‘Ken was the editor of my Bread & Roses award-nominated book Revolting Subjects, advising, nudging, cajoling and being supportive at exactly right moments. He undertook a careful reading of the manuscript and helped translate my vision for a bold front-cover design.’


author of Women and the War on Boko Haram

‘Ken was a thoughtful and helpful editor who helped me navigate the book-writing process as a first-time author with confidence, as well as enthusiastically helping me promote the book once it was a finished product.’


author of Revolution, Rebellion, Resistance and co-author of Decetering International Relations

‘It was my great good fortune to work with Ken on two books; it was an exceptional experience every which way. His close, careful reading, wise counsel, and unending support and encouragement were everything an author could wish for.’


co-authors of Getting to Zero: A Doctor and a Diplomat on the Ebola Frontline

‘From the first meeting with Ken, he understood the concept and vision of the book. Indeed, when it came to the editing stage, we found Ken’s reviews both insightful and useful, and felt they significantly improved the book. Ken was pleasant, responsive and knowledgeable to work with and we would recommend him to any author.’


series editor of the African Arguments series

‘In Ken’s time at Zed, he has brought exceptional energy and real vision to the challenge of moving the publisher forward, while also retaining the ethos and principles of its founder. It has been a delight to work with him as he has expanded the range of titles and sustained that always-challenging balance between scholarly rigour and producing books that will appeal to non-specialists.’


author of The Experiment: Georgia’s Forgotten Revolution 1918–1921

‘Ken commissioned my title (which was an unusual one, to say the least) for Zed, was enthusiastic from the beginning, and made many valuable editorial suggestions. He even found the best possible people to give the book a critical reading. I enjoyed working with him and would happily recommend him to other authors.’


editor of Displacement Economies in Africa

‘Ken has been the face – and keen editorial eye and hand – of the Africa list at Zed Books for a decade. It has been a true pleasure to work with someone so committed and competent as an editor. His substantive engagement with the ideas of book projects, added to his editing skills and professionalism in guiding one through the publishing process itself, has made him one of the most favoured editors in the publishing field.’


author of Confessions of a Terrorist

‘As a first-time novelist, I found his insightful advice and input into the plotline and central dialogue of the novel to be invaluable and, indeed, essential to the book’s success. Overall, his judicious assistance during the entire publishing process, from the writing and editing, to the proofs, production and marketing, made my book much better than it would have been otherwise. It was a real pleasure to work with him, and I would work with him again in an instant. I could not recommend him more highly.’


author of Nigeria: A New History of a Turbulent Century and Catastrophe: What Went Wrong in Zimbabwe?

‘Ken was my publisher for two successful Africa books I wrote for Zed. When we hit editing problems he moved swiftly to sort them out. He was a careful and sympathetic publisher.’


author of Goma: Stories of Strength and Sorrow from Eastern Congo, Congo’s Environmental Paradox and Congo Masquerade

‘Working with Ken on three books has taught me one thing: “listen to your editor”. Thorough, inspiring and professional, Ken has the wisdom and insight to help writers surpass their own expectations.’


co-author of Taxing Africa

‘We worked with Ken over three years as my co-authors and I gradually shaped and re-shaped Taxing Africa. He was patient, very responsive to our queries, and a consistent source of wise advice. It was a very pleasant experience.’


author of Why We Lie About Aid

‘Ken was a constructive editor whose encouragement and targeted notes helped me turn a half-baked idea for a manuscript into an appealing and successful book.’


author of When the Walking Defeats You: One Man’s Journey as Joseph Kony’s Bodyguard

‘I was extremely lucky to have Ken as the editor for my book. Throughout the entire publishing process, he was a consummate professional and a pleasant interlocutor. I would recommend him working with him wholeheartedly.’


co-editor of Agricultural Development and Food Security in Africa and The Rise of China and India in Africa

‘Ken is a highly reputable and meticulous editor, who demands high standards from potential authors. At the same time, he is always dedicated to supporting them throughout the publication process and consistently provides them with valuable inputs and suggestions in order that they can achieve their dream of publishing high-quality books. He is extremely reliable, always accessible, and responds to queries from authors in a timely manner.’


co-author of Politics of Origin in Africa

‘Ken is an efficient editor with whom I have had intellectually stimulating conversations over several years, continents and occasions.’


author of Congo's Violent Peace

‘Ken is fantastic. Not only did he come up with the perfect title for Congo’s Violent Peace, his skilful editing and coaching made it a much better book.’


co-author of Africa Uprising

‘Ken's commitment to transforming mainstream narratives of Africa through rigorous, radical, original writing is what made my work with him first as an African Argument series author, and then a series editor, so deeply gratifying. I can only hope I can work with him again on future projects.’

Testimonials: Clients
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