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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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Editing Worlds: Speculative Fiction and the Editorial Process

When: Tuesday, February 26, 7–9:30 PM (Please note the earlier start time, to accommodate our business meeting.)

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

Robert A. Heinlein first used the term “speculative fiction” in 1947 to describe the highest aspiration of science fiction. Over time, the term has expanded to include other genres, including fantasy and horror, as well as derivatives and hybrids. As an umbrella genre in which worlds are often built from scratch rather than patterned after our own, speculative fiction has provided fertile ground for social and political critique. It has also evolved to support a diversity of voices, though expanding the representational repertoire of speculative fiction remains a concern.

Join Editors Toronto on February 26 to hear four seasoned writers and editors discuss their experiences with the genre. Toronto’s Jen Frankel, JF Garrard, Dominik Parisien, and Drew Hayden Taylor will talk about various topics, including

  • the expanding role of Indigenous Voice in genre fiction (Drew Hayden Taylor);
  • the pressures of representation within texts and in relation to the broader publishing industry (Dominik Parisien);
  • the realities of indie publishing, crowdfunding, editing, and world building (Jen Frankel and JF Garrard);
  • the lessons learned from panels on writing and pop culture about the need for diverse stories in literature, film, and media (Jen Frankel and JF Garrard); and
  • strategies for supporting authors of different backgrounds and identities while keeping their voices intact throughout the editing process (Jen Frankel).

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Editors Unplugged: Get to know our panellists for Editing Worlds: Speculative Fiction and the Editorial Process

Interviews conducted by Catherine Dorton.

More details on the program forthcoming.

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 Jen Frankel, JF Garrard, Dominik Parisien, and Drew Hayden Taylor.

Photo of Jen FrankelJen Frankel

If you could co-write a piece of speculative fiction with a famous author of any genre, who would you pick?

Definitely Anne McCaffrey. As long as I’m allowed to go back in time to do it. If I’m limited to now, Val McDermid. I’d drag her to the dark side and make her consider some supernatural interjections.

Star Wars, Star Trek, or Doctor Who? 

Marry: Star Trek. Date: Star Wars. Kill: Doctor Who. I really want to love the Doctor, but ever since the reboot, I feel like I’m in a downward spiral toward despair. But I haven’t watched the new season…

Who is your favourite monster? 

My favourite monster is Lilith, mother of all monsters and I’m absolutely sure totally maligned!

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