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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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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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Editor for Life: JF Garrard, Deputy Editor for Ricepaper Magazine

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.

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’m a publisher and writer of speculative fiction, based in Toronto. I fell into editing in 2014 when Derwin Mak (fellow writer/editor) told me that an Asian-Canadian magazine called Ricepaper Magazine wanted to create a speculative fiction issue but didn’t have enough people to do it. I volunteered to help, and we edited an issue together in record time! In 2017, I was recruited by Ricepaper to help with writing film reviews, marketing, and coordinating events. In 2018, my role progressed to editorial and administrative work. My tasks now involve editing, interviewing potential editors, networking, coordinating events, and leading the production work for books and magazines. In parallel timelines, for my own press, Dark Helix Press, I began working on different anthology projects with editorial teams. Over time, I’ve learned a lot from leading projects and working with many diverse editors on magazine and book production. At the moment, I’m also in the middle of finishing up courses for a creative writing certificate from Ryerson University.

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Prize-winner learns value of mentors

By Deborah Joy Innes

I was the very lucky winner of two (yes, two!) raffle prizes at the Editors Toronto meeting in September.

The first was the book The New Vine by author Robert Marrone. There were two authors present that night (Robert Marrone and Trevor Cole), along with their editors, speaking about the author-editor relationship.

The second was the last prize of the evening: a one-hour mentoring session with Jennifer D. Foster—editor, writer, mentor, co-chair of Editors Toronto, and administrative director of Rowers Reading Series.

Embarrassed as I was to have won two prizes, the timing of the mentoring session was perfect. (The book set in Italy was also very good.) I’d recently lost my job after 10 years as an in-house copy editor, proofreader, and writer in a legal marketing and communications department. I was now in the process of setting up my freelance copy-editing business. I had many questions.

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