IPEd Editors Conference

The 10th IPEd Editors Conference will be hosted online on Monday 28 June 2021 to Wednesday 30 June 2021.

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Conversations highlight author-editor relationships

IPEd and the Brisbane Writers Festival (BWF) have embarked on a project to highlight creative collaborations between authors and editors.

Authors and Editors in Conversation is a series of 10 online Zoom sessions, each of 45–55 minutes, in which editors and authors chat about their relationship and the editing process.

The series will be released monthly, starting on 17 February. Here’s the landing page for the event. IPEd members receive the Festival Friends rate.

BWF CEO Sarah Runcie says the series aims to:
  • capture, through a free-flowing conversation, the creative dynamics of the author-editor relationship
  • explore the positive potential of creativity, serendipity and inspiration in the context of the exchange
  • explore issues authors and editors face — for example, when to kill those darlings that every writer has, negotiating disagreement, when an editor knows what a writer is attempting before a writer knows themselves, and when an editor can overstep.

Sarah says the conversations will be editor-led, touching on issues the editor encountered with the author and the specific text, such as:
  • structural issues
  • establishing trust
  • tics of language that an author may lapse into without being fully aware
  • character and voice
  • finding what is core to the story
  • exploring the writer’s — and editor’s — world view and how that can inform or even introduce potential imbalance, with assumptions and presumptions, into a text.
                                                                                                                                                BWF CEO Sarah Runcie
The authors will expose the experience of letting an editor into their work and what that means from personal and professional perspectives.

The first episode features children’s author Mem Fox, talking with editor/publisher Jane Covernton and illustrator Julie Vivas, about her book Possum Magic.

The idea for the series was born when Sarah and IPEd CEO Karen Lee were discussing the often-unsung creative collaborations in publishing between writers and editors and the need to educate people about the editor’s role.

‘We wanted to better communicate what editors actually do, within and outside the publishing industry,’ Sarah told Gatherings.

Together, the CEOs coined the concept of the editor-author conversations, which will   feature a wide range of authors and editors across different genres.

‘It’s a project we’re both passionate about, so it’s great to see it come to fruition,’ Sarah says.

Karen says: ‘The idea of editors and authors working together has been a long time coming, starting when I knew Sarah at the Australian Publishers Association. We’ve often spoken about a collaboration about it. Once she became CEO of the BWF, we knew we’d find the best vehicle for it.

‘I’d really like to give Sarah kudos for her recognition of editors; because of her insight and general inclusiveness she’s put editors and IPEd at the forefront of work like the Australian Inclusive Publishing Initiative. So IPEd (and I) are thrilled to have the opportunity to keep working with Sarah.’


The conversations program is:
  • Mem Fox and Jane Covernton (Possum Magic) — 18 February
  • Robert Watkins and Maxine Beneba Clark (Foreign Soil) — 18 March
  • Grace Lucas-Pennington and Nardi Simpson (Indigenous emerging writer, Song of the Crocodile) — 15 April
  • Catherine Milne and Meg Mason (two books, including Meg’s latest, Sorrow and Bliss) — 20 May
  • Anne-Marie Te Whiu and Tony Birch (poetry Red Room) — 17 June
  • Ashley Hay and James Bradley (collaboration over time) — 15 July
  • Patrick Mangan and Vivian Pham (emerging writer) — 19 August
  • Mandy Brett and Jock Serong (collaboration over time) — 16 September
  • poet (awaiting confirmation) — 14 October
  • mid-career genre writer (awaiting confirmation) — 18 November.

Authors and Editors in Conversation will dovetail with a panel session of authors and editors during the 59th BWF on 7–9 May at the State Library of Queensland, Brisbane.

The panel will include Craig Munro, author of the 2015 publishing memoir Under Cover: Adventures in the art of editing, which brings to life his years as UQP’s inaugural fiction editor and then publishing manager.

Craig’s new book, Literary Lion Tamers – Book editors who made publishing history, is published by Scribe this month.

Authors and Editors in Conversation has received assistance from the Copyright Agency’s Cultural Fund.



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