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Dania Sheldon named winner of the 2016 Tom Fairley Award for Editorial Excellence

Published on: June 11, 2017


Toronto, June 12, 2017—The Editors' Association of Canada (Editors Canada) has announced that Dania Sheldon of Gabriola Island, British Columbia, is the winner of the 2016 Tom Fairley Award for Editorial Excellence.

Dania Sheldon     Charles Gretton: Clock and Watchmaking Through the Golden Age

Sheldon was awarded the $2,000 prize for her work on Charles Gretton: Clock and Watchmaking Through the Golden Age by Dennis Radage, Warner Meinen and Laila Radage (Three O'Clock Publishing). The award was presented at the Editors Canada awards banquet, which took place on June 10, 2017, at the Crowne Plaza Gatineau-Ottawa.

In her acceptance speech, Sheldon described working on the book as a "dream project" and poked fun at the misconception that authors and their editors are often seen as adversaries.

"The late Christopher Hitchens, who at times had sharp words about the author–editor relationship, once remarked, 'Authors who moan with praise for their editors always seem to reek slightly of the Stockholm Syndrome.' This, I suppose, would make me Dennis and Laila's captor," she said. "This opportunity was presented thanks to the extraordinary book designer Fiona Raven, who brought [Dennis and Laila Radage] and I together and who knew this could be a valued and beautiful book. Together, we became a close-knit quartet and lasting friends."

Charles Gretton: Clock and Watchmaking Through the Golden Age follows the socio-economic rise of a 17th-century skilled craftsman. This lavishly illustrated collection of never-before published material and photographs traces the development of clocks and watches from the early 1670s to the mid-1720s.

Sheldon's work on this impressive piece ranged from working with multiple authors to scheduling, rewriting, researching, coordinating permissions, preparing the bibliography and index, and proofreading.

Her colleagues agree she was "the perfect editor" for this complex and challenging book. The project required a remarkable combination of insight, skill, creativity, organization and professionalism. "She earned the trust and confidence of the authors and designer with whom she worked," said one judge. "And the respect with which professionals in the field have received the final project helps to confirm our belief that this confidence was richly deserved."

The other editors shortlisted for their editorial excellence were Barbara Berson of Toronto, Ontario, and Amanda Lewis of Toronto, Ontario.

Barbara Berson     The Heaviness of Things That Float

Berson, the editor of The Heaviness of Things That Float by Jennifer Manuel (Douglas & McIntyre), guided and inspired her author without dominating their working relationship—an exceptional demonstration of her tact, patience, empathy and breadth of knowledge. According to the judges, her work on this book showed that she is herself a master in her work.

Amanda Lewis     Yiddish for Pirates

Lewis, the editor of Yiddish for Pirates by Gary Barwin (Random House Canada), responded generously and brilliantly to a highly original and highly complex project. She showed phenomenal insight and dedication to an unlikely manuscript and helped to shepherd it through publication, marketing and design, and eventually to the awards and accolades it won.

The judges for the 2016 Tom Fairley Award are respected Canadian editors.

Jennifer Glossop has worked in publishing for more than 40 years, starting as an editor for McClelland & Stewart, then continuing as a freelancer for many major publishers and some smaller houses. Among the fiction writers she has worked with are Margaret Atwood, Gail Bowen and Sylvia Fraser. Non-fiction writers include Peter Edwards, Peter Gzowski and Anne Kingston. Books she has edited have won the Governor General's Award and the Crime Writers of Canada Award, and have been nominated for the Books in Canada First Novel Award and the Giller Prize. In addition, she has taught at Ryerson and Simon Fraser Universities and the Banff Centre, and has written a number of non-fiction children's books.

Lesley Peterson is a Canadian teacher, scholar, writer and editor. She has taught literature and writing since 1985, first at the high school level and most recently at the University of North Alabama in Florence, Alabama. She co-founded the publishing company Dog Ear Press (Winnipeg, MB), which was well received, though short-lived. She is a freelance editor who specializes in developmental editing, copy editing and indexing. She is recipient of the 2015 Tom Fairley Award for her work on The Little Third Reich on Lake Superior by Ernest Zimmermann (University of Alberta Press).

Gillian Rodgerson edits fiction and non-fiction for Insomniac Press regularly and for Caitlin Press sporadically, and she teaches a course in editing trade fiction in the publishing certificate program at Ryerson University. She sits on the board of directors of Pink Triangle Press—publishers of—and was a member of the Body Politic collective. She spent 17 years in London, England, where she worked as a journalist, magazine editor and book publisher.


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About Editors Canada
Additional information about the Tom Fairley Award for Editorial Excellence is available on the Editors Canada website.

Editors Canada began in 1979 as the Freelance Editors' Association of Canada to promote and maintain high standards of editing. In 1994, the word "Freelance" was dropped to reflect the association's expanding focus to serve both freelance and in-house editors. As Canada's only national editorial association, it is the hub for 1,300 members and affiliates, both salaried and freelance, who work in the corporate, technical, government, not-for-profit and publishing sectors. The association's professional development programs and services include professional certification, an annual conference, seminars, webinars, guidelines for fair pay and working conditions, and networking with other associations. Editors Canada has five regional branches: British Columbia; Saskatchewan; Toronto; Ottawa–Gatineau; and Quebec/Atlantic Canada, as well as smaller branches (called twigs) in Calgary, Edmonton, Manitoba, Kitchener-Waterloo-Guelph, Hamilton/Halton, Kingston, Nova Scotia, and Newfoundland and Labrador.

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