IPEd Editors Conference

The 10th IPEd Editors Conference will be in Hobart, Tasmania, Monday 28 June 2021 – Wednesday 30 June 2021.

IPEd Strategic Plan

IPEd Strategic Plan July 2020 to June 2023.

Branch Events

The branches of IPEd host workshops, seminars, member meetings and other events that are open to all IPEd members and non-members. Information and booking details are listed on the Events page of this website.


From the president/committee
by President Christine Atkinson

Hi all

This is great. Our first branch report in the IPEd-wide newsletter! I am very excited about the opportunities this presents for our members and for other branch members to share knowledge and broaden our community (recognising that Secret Editors' Business is already a thriving online community).

We held our first virtual member meeting on 1 April and I was thrilled to see attendees from regional Queensland and from around the country! People tuned in from Cairns, Gosford, Perth, Adelaide, Sydney, Victoria and other parts. It was amazing.

And a great turnout for our first online member meeting. It helped, of course, that our presenter Judy Gregory gave such an engaging and informative presentation.

Judy shared her experience in working with Logan City Council to turn their ageing website into a shining example of clear communication and plain English. I have worked in local government and while the people were lovely, they used a lot of jargon, so I can imagine some of the challenges Judy faced. But Logan City Council succeeded and the model is being shared. And we succeeded with our technology for the evening as well. Thanks for being our online guinea pig, Judy.

Our May presenter is Jeni Lewington. Jeni was due to speak at an international conference in Canada this year but, as this event has been cancelled, has kindly offered to share with us her presentation on editing with a disability. Jeni will be Zooming into our homes on Wednesday 6 May.

For those wondering about our accreditation preparation workshop, our accreditation board representative Desolie Page advises the workshop is postponed. We will let everyone know when it is rescheduled.

If you are anything like me, I am sure you can’t wait to read the rest of this inaugural IPEd newsletter.

Thanks to Julia Sudull, Glenine Hamlyn and Ruth Davies who have helped us get to this point.


New members

Welcome to our new associate members James Ayres, Nathan Nielsen, Sarah Barfoot  and Melanie Myers.

Monthly meeting 4 March 2020

Edwina Shaw: Bjelke Blues

by Ian Mathieson

Writer, editor and teacher Edwina Shaw spoke to the March meeting attendees about the process of producing Bjelke Blues, an anthology of people’s experiences living in Queensland during the Bjelke-Petersen government. 

Edwina started by telling her audience that her initial aim was to develop an anthology about life in Queensland under former Premier Joh Bjelke-Petersen. Various ideas led her to the anthology concept. It started with her Griffith Review story in their Hidden Queensland edition, ‘Busted’, which related to the Joh era. She had many stories of her own from that era and knew there were more out there. 

When she met local independent publisher Matthew Wengert of AndAlso Books in October 2018, who had also grown up in the Joh era, they knew they had an idea that could work. Word spread, Facebook fired up and word-of-mouth widened awareness, and material flooded in. So, the drive to develop an anthology crystalised and a flood of interesting, sometimes disturbing, material was available, with people willing to share their personal stories. The submissions widened Edwina’s focus to reach back as far as the seminal Springbok rugby tour of 1971. Joh declared a state of emergency in response to the anti-Apartheid protests, brought in masses of police and let them loose, instructing them to remove their name badges. At this time, the Police Special Branch received extra powers and huge support and encouragement from the Bjelke-Petersen government. They were willing instruments of political and social intrusion, suppression and harassment. 

Under a very tight timeline, submissions for the anthology closed in February 2019 (although some stories were exempted), the manuscript was edited and sent to the publisher by the end of June, and the book was published in August 2019. (Notetaker’s comment: Wow!)

The initial plan was for 15 stories but, wanting to cover all major events from the 70-odd stories submitted, Edwina eventually included 45. She discussed developing the editorial guidelines, which included:
  • having a wide diversity of stories, going back to the early days of the Joh era
  • ensuring some humour; light-and-shade
  • paying careful attention to the order and narrative drive; getting this right was regarded as crucial
  • having the right story to start, to 'lure' the reader in and on; Edwina settled on ‘Sleeping with Joh’ by Nicky Peelgrane
  • setting the stories in more or less chronological order
  • paying all contributors (although some did not accept the fee)
  • a limit of 3000 words, but shorter stories were encouraged.

Edwina found many people who were ready to tell their stories. For many, it was a welcome opportunity to keep awareness alive. For instance, Matthew Condon was very supportive
having authored his own books exposing corruption under Terry Lewis and wrote a foreword to the anthology. Edwina’s own contribution was written from the perspective of a Vietnamese cleaner working in the executive building in the last days of Joh’s premiership.

While some contributions were well structured and written, most stories by non-writers needed a lot of work. Some rather dry stories, more academically oriented, were carefully spaced apart. One author requested anonymity, another used a pseudonym, some requested placement in the second half of the anthology. Some people told Edwina their stories, but didn’t write them for inclusion, and she worked with transcripts of recorded interviews to capture their experiences as stories.

So many events and activities from the Bjelke-Petersen era were referenced in Edwina’s talk. She variously, and at times humorously, addressed the high regard in which Joh was held by so many Queenslanders, including her own mum.

In a personal insight, Edwina reflected that people and movements were galvanised and motivated by their opposition to and suffering under Joh. She speculated that they may not have so coalesced, and been so successful, without the pressure and trauma they endured during this period. She referenced direct comments from Sam Watson, artists, musicians and actors, in support of this view. And she explained that the title, Bjelke Blues, refers to a blue cheese embedded with peanuts; a sign of the times! 

Edwina has a lively, inclusive style; conversational and vibrant. She read extracts with freshness and energy. She welcomed questions, stories and experiences from the floor and entered into discussions about them. And she is pleased to report that Bjelke Blues is going well, from both the critical response and the sales perspectives. It is available in good bookshops around Australia. There is an ebook in the pipeline that will include more images.

In answer to, ‘Would you do it again?’ Edwina replied, ‘I’d give myself more time'. She then added, ‘And I might make it a competition'.

Copies of Bjelke Blues are available from bookshops such as AndAlso Books, Riverbend Books and Avid Reader, and from Edwina herself at events.

To purchase a copy, click on the links below to bookstores, or Edwina’s own website.



Relax and Write retreats

Edwina runs writing retreats several times a year. The retreats include writing workshops, optional yoga sessions and an opportunity to get really stuck into that book project you have had on the go for a while! Check for retreat dates at https://edwinashaw.com/relax-and-write-retreats/

March member meeting: Edwina Shaw and Lee Ellwood
Photo: Julia Sudull

Six for 'Editors after five'

Six of us met for the second 'Editors after five' drinks in the CBD on the evening of 13 March. We found plenty to talk about, sharing knowledge and stories about editing and chatting about the rest of life, so we were glad that there were few people at Café Brisbane and we could speak and hear easily.

As well as the organisers (Lee Ellwood and Claire Heath), Ian Mathieson was back again. We also had two new faces: Mandy Chandler and Nathan Nielsen. Nathan, who is just starting out in editing, came from the Sunshine Coast to meet us. 

A few evenings in, this has shaped up to be a relaxed and very enjoyable short interlude, and we will be sure to host more of them.

'Editors after five': Ian Mathieson, Nathan Nielsen, Mandy Chandler

Photo: Julia Sudull


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