Margo LaPierre awarded 2019 Claudette Upton Scholarship

Poet finds magic in nurturing the written word


Toronto, June 10, 2019—The Editors’ Association of Canada (Editors Canada) has announced that Margo LaPierre of Russell, Ontario, is the recipient of the 2019 Claudette Upton Scholarship.

The award was presented at the awards banquet of Editors Canada’s 40th anniversary conference in Halifax on Saturday, June 8. The scholarship is a $1,000 cash award intended to support continuing professional development in editing.

Headshot of Margo LaPierre

LaPierre’s love of language began at a young age. “As a child, reading eclipsed all other pastimes, except maybe for solo nature excursions, and I grew up wanting to be a writer,” she says. While working toward her Bachelor of Arts in Arts and Contemporary Studies from Ryerson University (2013), she edited her friends’ essays. After a few months, those friends became more confident in their writing.

“It was a great feeling to see that each of their essays was better than the last,” she says. “I’d wanted to be an editor since high school, but I didn’t see how I could become an editor without having been a writer first.”

After graduating, LaPierre taught English in Taiwan before her first book of poetry, Washing Off the Raccoon Eyes, was published in 2017 by Guernica Editions. Her experience working with her editor, Elana Wolff, led her to Ryerson’s Publishing Certificate program and the editing profession. She also credits Guernica Editions for its support in launching her editing career, first by hiring her as a publicity intern and then as a fiction editor upon completion of the Publishing Certificate.

“My experience on both sides of the author/editor equation may contribute to my ability to understand that my perspective as an editor is only one of many,” she says. “There’s a poetry in editing as well: the editor draws attention to possible pathways in the narrative and the author creates choices that then extend to the reader.”

“I’m sure I take my own sensibility as a poet into the equation (I appreciate brevity, and the magical).”

LaPierre recently left her full-time job to focus on her freelance editing career and learning and networking opportunities. The scholarship allowed her to attend Editors Canada’s conference in Halifax and to apply for the John Eerkes-Medrano Mentorship Program as a mentee.

When asked what the best advice she ever received was, LaPierre had the following words of wisdom to share with her fellow scholars and editors.

Hoa Nguyen, who is a brilliant American poet and whose poetry course I attended at Ryerson during my undergrad, advised me to submit my poetry manuscript to Guernica, which I did. My life unfolded from there—from an observer of the literary to a participant in the publishing process. She also advised me to seek out a community of poets and to engage with the living (and not just words on the page). Which I also did! I started to go out to open mics in Ottawa and Toronto and to seek out other poets. It’s remarkable how open and inspiring the poetry community is here in Canada, and I’m now finding the same with the editing community. So that advice—find your contemporaries, find a community, find a conversation—it’s good advice.

And the runner-up is from my mother, who said not to worry about how long it takes to achieve your goals, as long as you don’t give up.

This year’s selection committee for the Claudette Upton Scholarship consisted of three respected Canadian editors: Marie-Claude Hébert (Halifax, Nova Scotia), a freelance trilingual translator and French editor; Zofia Laubitz (Montreal, Quebec), a freelance editor and translator; and Anne Louise Mahoney (Ottawa, Ontario), a freelance editor and past president of Editors Canada.

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About Editors Canada

The Claudette Upton Scholarship is an annual national award that recognizes a promising emerging editor. The award is named in memory of 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.

Additional information about the Claudette Upton Scholarship 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
416 975-1379 / 1 866 226-3348

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