2021 Tom Fairley Award Short List Announced


Toronto, June 1, 2021—The Editors’ Association of Canada (Editors Canada) has announced the finalists for the 2021 Tom Fairley Award for Editorial Excellence.

The Tom Fairley Award is presented annually by Editors Canada to an exceptional editor who played an important role in the success of a project completed in English or French. The cash award of $2,000 is made possible by Editors Canada and its generous donors.


Headshot of Paula Ayer

Paula Ayer (Vancouver, British Columbia)
Still: A Memoir of Love, Loss, and Motherhood
by Emma Hansen
(Greystone Books)

Author Emma Hansen stated “An editor is a necessity. This editor is a privilege,” when referring to her editor, Paula Ayer. In Hansen’s memoir, Still: A Memoir of Love, Loss, and Motherhood, Ayer helped her go from a blog to a book, telling the story this first-time author needed to tell. With empathy, flexibility and skill, Ayer restructured chapters, changed the tense from past to present, and eliminated tangential material.

Headshot of Mary Newberry

Mary Newberry (Toronto, Ontario)
Going Public: A Survivor’s Journey from Grief to Action
by Julie Macfarlane
(Between the Lines)

In Going Public: A Survivor’s Journey from Grief to Action by law professor Julie Macfarlane, editor Mary Newberry was challenged with a personal story of sexual abuse interlinked with a discussion of the current legal context. Macfarlane said that Newberry was “the best editor I have ever worked with by far.” Newberry’s respect for the author’s voice showed throughout her work, as did her clear commitment to help the author, not just practically but emotionally as well.

Headshot of Shirarose Wilensky

Shirarose Wilensky (Port Moody, British Columbia)
Butter Honey Pig Bread
by Francesca Ekwuyasi
(Arsenal Pulp Press)

After she recognized great writing from the slush pile, editor Shirarose Wilensky worked with author Francesca Ekwuyasi on her debut novel, Butter Honey Pig Bread. Wilensky developed a strategy for retaining Nigerian languages and colloquialisms in the text, which allowed the novel to stay true to the author’s Nigerian origins while also being accessible to non-Nigerian audiences. Butter Honey Pig Bread came in second for 2021 Canada Reads and has been shortlisted for the 2020 Governor General’s Literary Award for fiction.

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The judges for the 2021 Tom Fairley Award are respected Canadian editors.

Rosemary Gretton is a freelance editor and writer based in Vancouver. She joined Editors Canada in 2001 and served on the executive of the Editors British Columbia branch before relocating to Northern California for several years. She completed a creative writing certificate at UC Berkeley and writes poetry and creative non-fiction. She enjoys nature photography, the visual arts and music.

Virginia (Ginny) McGowan, PhD, is a non-fiction and academic editor based in Prince Edward Island, although she serves a global clientele. A member of Editors Canada since 2013, Ginny has volunteered on a number of national task forces for the association. She is also a member of the Canadian Freelance Guild, a national association of communication professionals, and the International Mentoring Association. McGowan is the author of a number of non-fiction works, including an award-winning book on mentoring and, most recently, an eco-fable for children.

Rosemary Tanner is a retired freelance editor living in Mount Forest, Ontario. Her specialty was science text books from Grade 8 to university level. Formerly a member of Editors Canada, she spent eight years on the executive and is a past president. She now spends her time volunteering for Cancer Patient Services in Mount Forest and travelling the world (COVID permitting).

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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, and networking with other associations. Editors Canada has five regional branches: British Columbia; Saskatchewan; Toronto; Ottawa–Gatineau; and Quebec, as well as smaller branches (called twigs) in Barrie, Calgary, Edmonton, Manitoba, Kitchener-Waterloo-Guelph, Hamilton/Halton, Kingston, Nova Scotia, and Newfoundland and Labrador.


Media contact

Michelle Ou
Senior Communications Manager
Editors Canada

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