Environmental Scientist Wins Inaugural Scholarship for Student Editors

Media Contact:
Michelle Ou
Communications Manager
Editors’ Association of Canada
Association canadienne des réviseurs
416 975-1379 / 1 866 226-3348 

Recipient to be acknowledged at Editors’ Association of Canada National Conference, May 28–30, Montreal


Toronto, May 5, 2010—The Editors’ Association of Canada (EAC) is pleased to announce that Helen Clay of New Westminster, BC, has won the inaugural Claudette Upton Scholarship, a $1,000 cash prize awarded annually to a student editor. Ms. Clay’s achievement will be acknowledged by the late Ms. Upton’s husband, Martin Keeley, at EAC’s annual conference in Montreal on May 29.

Clay, who has just completed the Douglas College Print Futures program, says she is “wide-eyed and excited” about being the first recipient of this scholarship, which was established in 2009. “I am quite amazed, actually.”

Becoming an editor is a mid-career change for Clay, who has a BSc in Biology, a Master’s in Environmental Sciences and a Diploma in Financial Services Management. After many years of working in environmental sciences, she has decided to return to her first love—language. 

“When I was seven, I wanted to live by myself, high on a hill, and write novels,” says Clay, who grew up in rural England. “But when I was 18 and looking at university, it was an even-steven choice between science and English.” Science won because she felt she’d have a better chance of finding work. “I don’t regret my years of working in environmental sciences,” Clay says. “It teaches pragmatic thinking and I’m passionate about the environment, but it can take time to make change so it also teaches patience.”

Headshot of Helen Clay
Helen Clay
Photo credit: Jeremy Franchuk, Douglas College

Clay moved to Canada about five years ago. One day, as she was looking over a colleague’s work and correcting his grammar and punctuation, he asked why she didn’t do that for a living. “That’s when I got back on track,” she says. Clay started the Douglas College Print Futures program in the fall of 2008 and has just finished. “I’m completely exhausted,” she says. “It’s a tough program and I did it full-time, but it’s great for the range of skills it supplies. There’s really nothing else like it in Canada.”

The selection committee for the Claudette Upton Scholarship was composed of several well respected Canadian editors. Nancy Flight (chair) is associate publisher of Greystone Books/D&M and a past president of EAC. Jennifer Glossop has been an editor, both in-house and freelance, of trade books for more than 30 years. Anne Norman is one of the founding members of West Coast Editorial Associates. She has also taught substantive editing courses and currently works at WorkSafeBC. Karen Virag is the supervising editor at the Alberta Teachers’ Association. She is also a freelance writer, editor and book reviewer and teaches grammar at MacEwan University.

The Claudette Upton Scholarship is an annual, national award that recognizes a promising student editor from among the Editors’ Association of Canada membership. The award is named after EAC honorary life member Claudette Reed Upton-Keeley, a gifted editor who loved the English language and was actively involved in social justice and environmental causes throughout her life. She is remembered for her wonderful sense of humour and her sharp mind.

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About the Editors’ Association of Canada

Additional information about the Claudette Upton Scholarship is available at www.editors.ca/uptonscholarship/index.html.

The Editors’ Association of Canada/Association canadienne des réviseurs began in 1979 as the Freelance Editors’ Association of Canada to promote and maintain high standards of editing. EAC is the voice of editors in Canada, with more than 1,600 members, both salaried and freelance, who work in the corporate, technical, government, not-for-profit and publishing sectors. EAC’s professional development programs and services include certification, an annual conference, seminars, guidelines for fair pay and working conditions, and networking with other associations. EAC has six regional branches: British Columbia, Prairie Provinces, Saskatchewan, Toronto, National Capital Region and Quebec/Atlantic Canada. www.editors.ca

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