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Editor for Life: Allegra Robinson, freelance editor

Interview conducted by Indu Singh.

A career as an editor is often a solo adventure, especially if you’re a freelancer. So we thought one way to better connect with fellow editors was to ask them the W5: who, what, where, when, and why. Read on for some thought-provoking, enlightening tidbits from those of us who choose to work with words to earn our keep.

Portrait of Allegra Robinson

Allegra, please tell us a little about yourself, the kind of work you do (and where you live), and how long you’ve been an editor.

I still consider myself lucky. Although I had no publishing experience yet, in 2004 I was offered a temporary job filling in for a production editor [at Pearson]. I went on to become a production editor at Pearson and later at HarperCollins Canada. My in-house stints alternated with periods of freelancing, and I’ve been in one of those periods now for four years. I moved to Toronto in 1983 to study fashion design at Ryerson. I lasted one year in that program (it was extremely demanding, and I was extremely unsuited to it).

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Editors Canada launches Guidelines for Ethical Editing of Student Texts

In academia, papers and theses are one way to test the ability of students to use written words for communicating ideas and arguments. Yet students sometimes ask editors to provide a full gamut of editorial services.

To address this, Editors Canada first developed Guidelines for Ethical Editing of Theses / Dissertations in 2005. We are pleased to announce the association has updated these free guidelines for ethical editing of papers at the graduate and doctoral level. We have also added a second set of free guidelines to cover undergraduate papers.

For more information, read the news release here.

Editors Unplugged: Get to know our panellists for Winning Two Gillers: A Conversation with Esi Edugyan and Her Editors

Interviews conducted by Catherine Dorton.

Our popular monthly program meetings often feature a jam-packed agenda. We like to keep our introductions short, so you can hear more from our panellists and less from us! It’s hard to do justice to the incredible wealth of experience these guests bring to the table, so we are offering you a preview with this short Q&A beforehand.

This month, we are honoured to be joined by not only acclaimed novelist Esi Edugyan, but also four (!) of her editors: Patrick Crean, John Sweet, Jane Warren, and Marie-Lynn Hammond.

Patrick CreanPatrick Crean

If you could travel to any fictional world, where would you go?

If you mean an entirely made-up place in fiction, then I would love to visit Alice in Wonderland! Oddly enough, I wouldn’t mind visiting Orwell’s 1984 (Orwell is an all-time fave of mine) as long as I didn’t get stuck there…. But if you mean real settings in fiction, I would want to visit the Alexandria in Lawrence Durrell’s Alexandria Quartet and/or the Morocco of Paul Bowles’s novel The Sheltering Sky.

What’s your favourite way of procrastinating? And how do you get back to work?

Procrastinating? I can’t say I do a lot of that, but if I am having a tough start to an editing day, I’ll make another pot of coffee and clean up the kitchen before heading back to my manuscripts. A good way to reboot for me is to power walk five km around the Central Tech track near our house! Or I might do an aural tune-up by reading something by Chekhov or W.H. Auden or Elizabeth Bishop or J.D. Salinger or James Salter.

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Winning Two Gillers: A Conversation with Esi Edugyan and Her Editors

Flyer for event "Winning Two Gillers: A Conversation with Esi Edugyan and Her Editors"

When: Tuesday, January 22, 7–9 pm

Where: University of Toronto, Sidney Smith Hall (amphitheatre), 100 St. George St., (Room 2102) 

Co-presented by Editors Toronto, Canadian Authors–Toronto, and the Creative Writing Program at the School of Continuing Studies (SCS), University of Toronto

This special event will bring acclaimed novelist Esi Edugyan together with four of her editors — Patrick CreanMarie-Lynn Hammond, John Sweet, and Jane Warren — for a discussion about the writing and editing of Ms. Edugyan’s two Giller Prize–winning novels, Half-Blood Blues (2011) and Washington Black (2018).

Have you wondered what it’s like, editorially speaking, to work with an author who has won not one but two Giller Prizes? Would you like to know more about the author-editor relationship on these celebrated books? Esi Edugyan and her panel of accomplished editors will address issues such as these during their talks and the Q&A.

We’ll hear from editors Patrick Crean, Marie-Lynn Hammond, and Jane Warren about the scrambling that ensued when Key Porter Books, the original publisher for Half-Blood Blues, closed down during the edit. And we’ll find out why Montreal editor John Sweet is still talking about the amazing experience he had copy editing Washington Black for HarperCollins imprint Patrick Crean Editions.

This event will feature a reading and a brief talk about the author-editor relationship by Ms. Edugyan and short presentations from her editors, followed by a Q&A. We’ll close the event with a raffle, and time will be allowed for Ms. Edugyan to sign books.

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Thank you to our volunteers!

Red card with the words "thank you" on it next to a fountain pen.

Photo by Aaron Burden on Unsplash

Editors Toronto is part of a national professional association run by and for its members. Everything you see, read, and attend is organized and coordinated by volunteers.

We have had over 30 unique volunteers this season, many of them volunteering on more than one occasion. Volunteers are vital to the success of Editors Toronto. Everything we do is possible because of our volunteers. Thank you for your time, your positive attitude, and your willingness to serve this branch. This is truly a team effort.

The Editors Toronto’s executive would like to thank you for making 2018 such a great year, and we look forward to working with all of you again in 2019!

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Post-script: Professional Editorial Standards in action

By Michelle Waitzman

Anyone who has considered (or completed) any of the Editors Canada certifications has probably reviewed Professional Editorial Standards (PES). But how were these standards developed, and what do they have to do with the day-to-day tasks of editors and proofreaders?

Editors Toronto’s November program looked at PES through the eyes of four editors, each working at a different career stage and/or in a different editing niche. The speakers made it clear that the standards involve much more than taking tests; they are a practical and evolving guide to professional editing, which editors can use in a variety of ways.

The program started with an overview and history of PES from experienced freelance editor and instructor Elizabeth d’Anjou. Editors Canada first began discussing the standards in the early 1980s, and Elizabeth’s mother was a member of the committee that first created the standards, so Elizabeth practically grew up with them!

One of Editors Canada’s early goals was to set up a certification program so that professional editors could be easily identified (and their work properly valued) by potential clients. But before the organization could create a test for editors, it first had to define what it was testing. They considered questions such as the following: What skills are important? What tasks should editors know how to do? What kind of industry knowledge should they be expected to have? PES was created to answer these types of questions—a task that took many years and involved a number of consultations with members. The standards were not only important for informing a certification program, they were also a key tool for Editors Canada to use to raise awareness about editing as a profession and to explain what editors do.

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For 5 days only! Get 50% off all Editors Canada webinar recordings

Editors_Canada_50_percent_off_webinar_recordings

Couldn’t make it to the Editors Canada conference this past year? Can’t always get to your local branch or twig meeting or seminar? Editors Canada has you covered. Webinar recordings can be watched anytime, anywhere.

For FIVE days only, save 50 per cent on all previously recorded webinars.
Buy now for your 2019 professional development. Or, give the gift of professional development this holiday season for the editor on your list.

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A holiday get-together!

Editors Toronto members’ holiday dinner invitation

Time is running out to reserve your spot for the Editors Toronto members’ holiday dinner.

Come join your friends and colleagues in an evening of fun and celebration. Grab some food and a drink, and toast the passage of another remarkable year! Partners and friends welcome. See you there!

When: Tuesday, December 11, 2018, at 6:30 pm

Where: The Pickle Barrel, 312 Yonge St. (Yonge and Dundas)

Attendees pay for their own dinner and drinks.

RSVP by Monday, December 10, 2018.

Note: The Pickle Barrel is fully accessible, has a varied menu to accommodate food preferences, and validates parking.

For elevators: Enter through The Atrium doors (just north of The Pickle Barrel entrance on Yonge Street).