Lesley Peterson named winner of the 2015 Tom Fairley Award for Editorial Excellence


Toronto, June 13, 2016—The Editors’ Association of Canada (Editors Canada) has announced that Lesley Peterson of Florence, Alabama, is the winner of the 2015 Tom Fairley Award for Editorial Excellence.

Headshot of Lesley Peterson

Peterson was awarded the $2,000 prize for her work on The Little Third Reich on Lake Superior: A History of Canadian Internment Camp R by Ernest Robert Zimmermann, Michel S. Beaulieu and David K. Ratz (University of Alberta Press). The award was presented at the Editors Canada awards banquet, which took place on June 11, 2016, at the Coast Plaza Hotel & Suites in Vancouver.

“To be recognized by such an expert and elite body as this—by you here—is astonishing,” said Peterson in her acceptance speech. “Thank you for all that you do to support the profession, and for the great honour of welcoming me into your midst.”

“The energy that drove this project, from first to last, was the enduring vitality of the author, the late and much-missed Ernest Zimmermann, whose voice, even from beyond the grave, made him a kind of ghostly Pied Piper whose call it was futile to resist. I am very grateful for the privilege of answering the call on behalf of the University of Alberta Press, and for the insight and expertise of the others who helped me find the road and stay the course. These include, of course, the Zimmermann family’s chosen editors, David Ratz and Michel S. Beaulieu, former students of the author, whose familiarity with Zimmermann’s perspective and personality, not to mention his personal library, I could only envy. They also include Mary Lou Roy and Peter Midgley at the Press, who gave me from start to finish feedback, faith, focus and—most precious of all—space and time, time in which to read and re-read, to think and re-think, space and time, above all, in which to listen attentively to the compelling music of Zimmermann’s voice as it faded in and out of range.”

The Little Third Reich on Lake Superior takes readers into one of Canada’s forgotten WW II prisoner of war camps. While the author completed the manuscript just before his death, it still had to go to peer review, and two academics became its champions throughout the publishing process. The author’s estate also had its own expectations for the work. The panel praised Peterson’s advanced skill in managing the diverse, and at times conflicting, opinions of those involved in this difficult work, which blended memoir and scholarly research.

“Peterson impressively demonstrates that while the work of an editor may be hidden, it can require advanced skills in tact, diligence and patience,” said one judge. “With many competing interests in the posthumous work, Peterson had to do far more than the thorough copy edit required. Peterson is patience with a capital P.”

The other editors shortlisted for their editorial excellence were David Carpenter of Saskatoon, Saskatchewan; Maggie Langrick of Vancouver, British Columbia; and Margaret Shaw of Coquitlam, British Columbia.

Headshot of David Carpenter

Carpenter, the editor of The Education of Augie Merasty: A Residential School Memoir by Joseph A. Merasty (University of Regina Press), devoted more than a decade to bringing an important memoir about residential schools to public attention.

Headshot of Maggie Langrick

Langrick, the editor of Shell: One Woman’s Final Year After a Lifelong Struggle with Anorexia and Bulimia by Michelle Stewart (Life Tree Media), shaped a blog written by Stewart in the last year of her life into a deeply moving picture of the author’s struggle with the disease.

Headshot of Margaret Shaw

Shaw, the editor of The Meter Socket Handbook (Thomas & Betts Limited), worked fearlessly and often unconventionally to bring together all the complicated elements of an illustration-rich and highly complicated publication.

Carpenter, Langrick and Shaw each received cash awards of $500 in recognition of their outstanding achievements.

The judges for the 2015 Tom Fairley Award are respected Canadian editors. Kevin Burns is a writer, editor and researcher, and the former producer of The Arts Report for CBC Radio. He continues to create documentaries for CBC Radio’s Ideas. Lenore Hietkamp is a freelance editor specializing in fiction, as well as  technical and academic publishing, with a background in art and architectural history. She is also in her third year as chair of the Professional Editors Association of Vancouver Island. Stephen Kimber is the author of one novel and eight non-fiction books, including What Lies Across the Water and Loyalists and Layabouts. He is also a professor of journalism at the University of King’s College in Halifax.

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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 1,500 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, guidelines for fair pay and working conditions, and networking with other associations. Editors Canada has six regional branches: British Columbia; Prairie Provinces (currently on hiatus); Saskatchewan; Toronto; Ottawa–Gatineau; and Quebec/Atlantic Canada, as well as smaller branches (called twigs) in Calgary, Alberta; Kitchener-Waterloo-Guelph, Ontario; Hamilton/Halton, Ontario; Kingston, Ontario; Nova Scotia; and Newfoundland and Labrador.


Media Contact

Michelle Ou
Communications Manager
Editors Canada
416 975-1379 / 1 866 226-3348

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