Fazeela Jiwa Named Winner of the 2023 Tom Fairley Award


Toronto, June 19, 2023—The Editors’ Association of Canada (Editors Canada) has announced that Fazeela Jiwa (she/they) of Halifax, Nova Scotia, is the winner of the 2023 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 award was presented at the banquet of the Editors Canada conference in Toronto, Ontario, on Saturday, June 17, 2023.

Headshot of Fazeela Jiwa
Frequently Asked White Questions by Fazeela Jiwa

Jiwa was awarded the $2,000 prize for her work on Frequently Asked White Questions by Ajay Parasram and Alex Khasnabish (Fernwood Publishing). The 2023 award recognizes an exceptional editor who played an important role in a project published in the 2022 calendar year.

The selection committee for the 2023 Tom Fairley Award noted that Jiwa played an instrumental role in the development of Frequently Asked White Questions by Ajay Parasram and Alex Khasnabish, a compact and accessible anti-racism handbook. From the moment she approached the authors about creating a book based on their popular online program, Safe Space for White Questions, Jiwa demonstrated what a good author–editor relationship looks like. She did an excellent job of pinpointing weaknesses, highlighting strengths, and making suggestions that ultimately strengthened the book. For example, to create a consistent and accessible style, Jiwa suggested structural and stylistic changes that blended the authors’ distinct voices and made academic theory easy for any reader to digest.

Furthermore, Jiwa ensured that the book, which challenges racist stereotypes and assumptions, maintained a welcoming tone from beginning to end. She also worked with the authors to develop a plain language glossary and key principles for each chapter, both of which contribute to the book’s accessibility. In the space of a year, Jiwa took this project from inception to launch with the perfect balance of editorial professionalism and passion.

The other editors shortlisted for their editorial excellence were Michael Leyne (he/him) of Vancouver, British Columbia, and Lorna Stuber (she/her) of Okotoks, Alberta.

Headshot of Michael Leyne

Most editors are good with words. Not all editors are equally blessed with the skills and qualities necessary to handle illustrated volumes. Michael Leyne is. Glory and Exile: Haida History Robes of Jut-ke-Nay Hazel Wilson by Robert Kardosh, Robin Laurence and Kün Jaad Dana Simeon gave him ample opportunity to demonstrate his obvious talents in this regard, of which the beauty of the final product speaks for itself.

Leyne wore many hats during the two years of this editorial project, among them that of photo researcher (a role that included extensive archival and museum research), substantive editor, copy editor and production editor—as well as that of passionate champion and “sponsor” of the project in-house. The deft and sensitive handling of it all made its editor a worthy contender for the Tom Fairley Award.

Headshot of Lorna Stuber

Lorna Stuber brought a full range of editorial skills to Adel Ben-Harhara’s memoir To Have Nothing: God Bless the Child Who’s Got His Own. She worked closely with the author from the first draft through 12 editorial passes, developing the structure and style and bringing the book from an initial single-volume draft to a final trilogy, and then formatting the book for self-publication.

Stuber’s interest, open-mindedness, sensitivity and dedication to her craft were key in the process. She learned in depth about the author’s Ethiopian culture, not only so the story could be conveyed well to English-language readers but also so it could be conveyed effectively in Amharic and Arabic translation. Her empathy and caring professional relationship with the author shone through in the results.

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The judges for the 2023 Tom Fairley Award are respected Canadian editors.

Marie Clausén is the author of Sacred Architecture in a Secular Age: Anamnesis of Durham Cathedral (Routledge, 2016), as well as a number of academic articles, mainly in the fields of religion, architecture, art history and philology. When time allows and the mood is upon her, she also enjoys writing poetry. After a 20-year editorial career on both sides of the Atlantic, including a stint as the managing editor of University of Ottawa Press, she is currently pursuing a doctorate at the Department of Classics and Religious Studies at the University of Ottawa where she also teaches.

James Harbeck has been an editor for more than 20 years, covering the full length and breadth of the editorial process, from development to publication, for a wide variety of media, formats and genres. For a decade and a half, he was head of a department publishing health information online and in print; in recent years, he has focused on editing books. Notable recent titles he has worked on include Anything but a Still Life: The Art and Lives of Molly Lamb and Bruno Bobak, by Nathan M. Greenfield, for Goose Lane; See You on the Internet: Building Your Small Business with Digital Marketing, by Avery Swartz, for Page Two; Trans Medicine: The Emergence and Practice of Treating Gender, by stef m. shuster, for NYU Press; The Ice at the End of the World, by Jon Gertner, for Penguin Random House; Ecology on the Ground and in the Clouds: Aimé Bonpland and Alexander von Humboldt, by Andrea Nye, for SUNY Press; and Humbitious: The Power of Low-Ego, High-Drive Leadership, by Amer Kaissi, for Page Two. He also writes about language on his blog, Sesquiotic, and for publications such as TheWeek.com and BBC.com. He was the 2018 recipient of Editors Canada’s Karen Virag Award.

Suzanne Purkis is a freelance writer, editor and project manager who specializes in academic, medical and STEM communications. She taught herself to read when she was 3 years old and discovered her affinity for plain language when she was 11 (and was chastised for not using more adjectives in a writing assignment). In addition to being a regular editor for the CSA Group’s standards research branch, Purkis is also the managing editor of the Canadian Journal of Ophthalmology. Before launching her business in 2009, Purkis worked in publications at the Senate of Canada. She has been a member of Editors Canada since 2013 and was a recipient of the President’s Award in 2018. Purkis is also a member of the Plain Language Association International (PLAIN) and the Science Writers & Communicators of Canada.

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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 four regional branches: British Columbia; Toronto; Ottawa–Gatineau; and Quebec, as well as smaller branches (called twigs) in Atlantic Canada, Barrie, Calgary, Edmonton, Hamilton-Halton, Kingston, Kitchener-Waterloo-Guelph and Manitoba.


Media contact

Michelle Ou (she/elle)
Senior Communications Manager
Editors Canada

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