BoldFace

Editor for Life: Alexandra Leggat, publisher and editor of Two Wolves Press

Interview conducted by Adrineh Der-Boghossian.

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.

Alexandra Leggat

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 live in West Hill [a neighbourhood in Toronto] with my partner, musician Cameron Watters, and my Alaskan malamute, Lupa. I am an author and an editor, a creative writing instructor, and a tutor, and I play in a band called Pineville. I’ve been editing for years. I used to be the managing editor of Write Magazine, even before the publication of my first book. As a creative writing instructor and final project supervisor at the University of Toronto School of Continuing Studies, I have been editing students’ writing for the past 11 years. As a freelancer, I edit manuscripts for various independent clients, and two years ago I started my own small publishing house called Two Wolves Press. I am the publisher and the editor and have had the privilege of editing and publishing Aileen Santo’s debut novel Someone Like You and highly acclaimed poet Catherine Graham’s award-winning debut novel Quarry.

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An Evening with Friends — Recap of Sound Mind: A Celebration of Mindfulness and Mental Health through Fiction, Memoir, and Music

By B.A. Tanner

A piece of paper with the word "mindfulness" on it leaning against a window

On the Thursday evening of March 28, room 1050 of the Earth Sciences Centre at University of Toronto (UofT) swelled with the comforting sounds of meditative gong notes, honest conversation, and an impressive cello performance.

Sharing the stage were Ranjini George, Rebecca Higgins, and Erika Nielsen, once again bringing together Editors Toronto, Canadian Authors–Toronto, and the Creative Writing Program at the School of Continuing Studies, University of Toronto (SCS–UofT), to deliver an inspirational and informative panel discussion. These three talented women used their life experiences to tackle the tough subject matter of mental health and wellness as it applies to freelance artists.

The program started with an introduction by Lee Parpart, programs chair of Editors Toronto and co-president of Canadian Authors–Toronto, then moved to the first speaker of the night: Ranjini George, who teaches courses on mindfulness, meditation, and creative writing at the SCS–UofT.

Ranjini addressed the need for freelance writers, editors, and artists to foster mental and physical well-being while they manage numerous projects with various deadlines. Referencing the stories from her 2016 book Through My Mother’s Window: Emirati Women Tell their Stories and Recipes, she talked about her own experiences working in the field of mental wellness and encouraged everyone to practise mindfulness regularly. Ranjini explained how sound can be used to help centre the self and control our continuous wave of thoughts. Treating the crowd to the sounding of the gong, combined with several moments of meditation and deep breathing, she left us with the simple but powerful reminder to “Breathe. Be present.”

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Book Review: Word by Word: The Secret Life of Dictionaries by Kory Stamper

By Michelle Waitzman

Cover of Word by Word: The Secret Life of Dictionaries by Kory Stamper

Most people take dictionaries for granted. They are available to us, at home or at school, from the time we first learn to read. Those of us who work with words rely on them regularly. But few of us spend much time thinking about how a dictionary is put together and kept up to date. It’s almost as though we expect them to spring into existence, fully formed. The truth is much more complicated—and fascinating.

Kory Stamper is a lexicographer,* and her book Word by Word: The Secret Life of Dictionaries gives readers a behind-the-scenes look at one of America’s best-known dictionary publishers: Merriam-Webster. Sound boring? It’s not! Stamper takes us on a memorable journey through the ways in which the English language has evolved (and continues to evolve), the lengths that lexicographers go to in order to describe current usage, and the backlash that can result from a seemingly innocuous definition.

Each of the book’s chapters is named for a word chosen to illustrate the topic of that chapter. For example, the “Irregardless” chapter is about words that many people argue are not “real” words at all; the “Take” chapter discusses the challenges of defining small words that are used in a multitude of ways; and the “Nuclear” chapter is about differences in pronunciation.

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Editor for Life: Maria Golikova, managing editor, House of Anansi Press

Interview conducted by Jennifer D. Foster.

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.

Black and white portrait of Maria Golikova standing in front of bookcase.

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 started out as an in-house production editor in 2013, and now I work as managing editor at House of Anansi Press in Toronto. I describe my role in the editorial department as a mix of air traffic controller and book doula: I support our team by creating and managing editorial schedules and by liaising with our publishers, in-house editors, freelancers, authors, and members of our design and production departments to ensure books are sent off to press on time and error-free (gulp!). Working at an independent publisher affords a wonderful opportunity to wear many hats, and I’m learning constantly. I also love to work collaboratively and in a supportive role—it’s really the authors and their editors at any given stage of the editorial process who do the heavy lifting.

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How to Find Freelance Editing Work: A recap

By Celina Fazio

Greg Ioannou giving presentation on "How to find freelance editing work" for the Editors Toronto April program

The April program meeting featured Editors Canada co-founder Greg Ioannou. The topic of the evening was finding freelance work, and, in addition to listening to Ioannou’s talk, attendees had the pleasure of viewing a series of short video presentations by four freelance editors: Jahleen Turnbull-Sousa, Susannah Noel, Adrienne Montgomerie, and Carolyn Camilleri.

These guests shared some tips and strategies on how to generate freelance editing work and illuminated the variety of sectors that editors work in—everywhere from trade publishing to government branches. The question addressed was, how do we connect editors with people who need work edited?

Jahleen Turnbull-Sousa spoke about the importance of not being shy and reaching out to online networks: social media platforms are great places to meet people and connect with other professionals in the industry. Maintaining a presence online makes you easily discoverable by people looking for editorial services. She also discussed cold emailing ideal clients—in addition to the possibility of getting work, cold calling gets your name out and recognized. Turnbull-Sousa also suggested trying mentorship programs, such as the one that Editors Canada offers, to work closely with someone in the industry who can share their experiences and expertise. Finally, Turnbull-Sousa shared her number one tip: volunteering! By offering your skills and services for the greater good, you not only gain valuable experience, but also express your interest in becoming more involved in the editorial field.

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Editors Unplugged: Get to know our panellists for Breaking Down Barriers to a Career in Editing

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 Jessica De Bruyn, Gagandeep Bimbh, and Ronan Sadler. We were able to sit down with two of this month’s panellists for this Q&A. Meet all three panellists in person at this month’s program meeting on May 28.

Jessica De Bruyn 

Experience: A noun or a verb? Discuss.

Because I am in job hunting mode, my first instinct is to say noun. But I think that it can be a very ominous word in that context because it is difficult to know what employers or contractors are really looking for. However, I like it more as a verb because it highlights that it’s better to just get out there and do something. Whether it’s volunteering or starting your own project, it’s more about experiencing different things than it is about getting the “right” experience.

What is something you’re proud of in your working life?

Probably that I haven’t quit! Establishing a business as a freelancer has definitely not been easy. There were lots of times when I was working more than forty-hour weeks at joe jobs just to make ends meet and was wondering why I was doing this to myself. But eventually a manuscript would come in and I’d get to dive into this world that I loved so much, and I’d see myself getting a little closer to my goals. It is one step forward, one step back sometimes, though.

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Breaking Down Barriers to a Career in Editing

Join us on May 28 for our Annual General Meeting, a branch business meeting, and what promises to be a stimulating panel discussion on barriers to entering the editing profession.

The business meeting and AGM will begin at 7 pm. The panel discussion will begin at 7:30 pm. We have the room until 9:30 pm, so please plan to stay and chat. We love to get to know our members!

Panel discussion

Breaking Down Barriers to a Career in Editing

When: Tuesday, May 28, 7–9:30 pm (business meeting and AGM first; panel starts at 7:30 pm)

Where: Centre for Social Innovation (CSI) Spadina, 192 Spadina Ave., Third Floor, Room F

Are you new to the field of editing? Have you struggled with impostor syndrome or faced other barriers to a full editing career? For the final branch meeting of 2018–19, we are pleased to present a panel discussion on common obstacles facing new editing professionals and the strategies organizations and individuals can use to break down those barriers. This program will explore how the industry can better welcome and recruit new talent, how organizations can combat ableism and improve access, what individual editors can do to gain a toehold in the editing and publishing industries, and related questions.

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So you want to be a travel writer?

By Tasneem Bhavnagarwala

Journal with world map on cover and camera to the side

This world is big, and it offers us more destinations than one can explore in a lifetime. This is where travel writers step in. Whether it’s gazing into the sunset at a beach in Indonesia, enjoying a conversation with the rickshaw driver on the streets of India, or admiring a graffiti artist’s work in Barcelona, there is something in each experience that is inspiring. Travel writers bring these moments and stories to readers who want to experience travel adventures vicariously or need assistance in developing their travel itineraries.

The key challenge for travel writers is how to bring these moments to life through words. Magazines and newspapers are always covering stories about exotic and offbeat destinations. To stand out from the crowd is not an easy task, but if you, like me, love travel writing, then the guidelines below will definitely help you break in to the business.

While travelling is something I have always loved, travel writing as a career was not something I had considered. In 2015, after I made a trip to Ladakh, India, and seeing my offbeat itinerary, a friend encouraged me to document my experience, and that’s when my journey began with travel writing. After much reading, researching, and exploring, I managed to get an opportunity to work with a small travel start-up in Mumbai as a writer. Though I consider myself still in the learning phase of my career, I would like to share some points that have helped me break in to the world of travel writing.

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