First two Karen Virag Award recipients honoured at Editors Canada awards banquet

The Karen Virag Award recognizes exceptional efforts by an individual or organization to raise the profile of editing in their community. These heroes of editing go out of their way to raise the profile of our profession in their communities year after year. They champion what we do and how valuable we are.

The award comes with a $400 cash prize and is named for a highly accomplished member of Editors Canada who died in 2014.

On Saturday, June 10, we had the privilege of honouring the first two winners of the Karen Virag Award in person.

2016 winner: Nancy Flight

Headshot of Nancy Flight

Nancy Flight of Vancouver, British Columbia, is the winner of the inaugural Karen Virag Award.

Nancy, currently associate publisher at Greystone Books, has been editing books in Canada and the United States for more than 40 years. She is well known across Canada, not only for her work as the editor of award-winning books, but also because of her presentations at conferences and her service on national committees and juries.

In their letter of nomination, West Coast Editorial Associates said, “Nancy’s very person shines a spotlight on editing. Like Karen Virag, Nancy is stylish, charismatic and striking: she says that editors, despite their invisible job, deserve to be seen.” The Encyclopedia of Literature in Canada lists Nancy among the editors “whose patient toil raised the standard of Canadian publishing and who have been responsible for influencing the profession.”

Nancy was announced as the first winner of the Karen Virag Award in October 2016, but officially received the award in Ottawa-Gatineau on June 10. And that wasn’t all. Earlier in the day, Nancy was named an honorary life member of Editors Canada at our annual general meeting. Congratulations, Nancy! Look for that story and more of what happened at the conference and AGM in the June e-news update coming later this month.

2017 winner: Virginia Durksen

Headshot of Virginia Durksen

Virginia Durksen of Calgary, Alberta, is the winner of the 2017 Karen Virag Award.

Virginia’s career began more than 25 years ago. She started out as an editor and still takes on editing assignments, but over the years she has also become a teacher, public speaker and writer. Throughout her career, she has constantly promoted the editing profession: what it is and why we need it.

In their letter of support for Durksen, her nominators said, “Virginia absolutely glows when given an opportunity to speak in public, and her audience strongly responds to her enthusiasm and energy. The ‘editor’s personality’ generally involves avoiding the spotlight. Consequently, having Virginia in our ranks has been valuable: she is regularly out and about, telling people what editors do and why editors matter.”

Congratulations, Virginia!

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