Naomi Racz awarded 2020 Claudette Upton Scholarship


Toronto, June 22, 2020—The Editors’ Association of Canada (Editors Canada) has announced Naomi Racz of Markham, Ontario, is the recipient of the 2020 Claudette Upton Scholarship.

First awarded in 2010, the scholarship is a $1,000 cash award intended to support continuing professional development in editing.

Racz began writing at the age of seven. “Throughout my childhood and teenage years I would come up with ideas for stories and then quickly get frustrated when the idea turned to drivel on the page,” she says. “A switch really flipped for me when my tutor on my writing MA program told the class ‘writing is editing.’ Now, I get the rough idea down on paper, and then I get to work (usually with a red pen!)—editing is where the real magic happens.”

Racz earned her MA in Writing, Nature and Place from the University of Exeter as well as a diploma in copywriting from the Blackford Centre. She is currently enrolled in the publishing program at Ryerson University where she distinguished herself by receiving the 2019 Charles Oberdorf Memorial Award for academic excellence. The Claudette Upton Scholarship is the latest achievement for this rising editor.

“It’s a huge honour,” says Racz. “Editing is something I’ve wanted to do for a long time, so receiving this award is a huge boost for me. It confirms for me that I am definitely on the right path!”

The selection panel for the 2020 Claudette Upton Scholarship was impressed with Racz’s understanding of the interconnected, evolving world we live in and her sensitivity to different perspectives and marginalized voices. She also demonstrated that she realizes editors must “remain vigilant and keep abreast of changes in the language” and “be alive to the ways in which people are using and adapting language.” This capacity for empathy and the ability to change her approach over time will serve her well as an editor who will be required to do much more than simply correct errors—an editor must also be able to help an author make their own voice heard.

In 2018, Racz co-founded Stonecrop Review, a literary journal of urban nature writing, art and photography. The selection panel lauded this commitment to pursuing a career as an editor and her ability to manage complex projects, noting that the journal’s focus on urban nature would have appealed to Claudette Upton.

When asked what the best advice she ever received was, Racz had the following words of wisdom to share.

I think a lot of what I’ve done or achieved in my life can be traced back to people who told me “Go for it!” “What do you have to lose?” “You have to be in it to win it.” (That last one is from my high school gym teacher!) It’s easy to let self-doubt hold you back, but having confidence and belief in yourself (or lacking self-belief and doing it anyway!) can make all the difference. I also love the advice, attributed to Voltaire, “don’t let the perfect be the enemy of the good.” It’s got me through many a tough deadline and I think it’s the only reason I’m ever able to call a piece of writing “done.” 

This year’s selection committee for the Claudette Upton Scholarship consisted of three respected Canadian editors.

Michelle Boulton (Saskatoon, Saskatchewan) has over 30 years’ experience in publishing and communication. As a writer, editor, designer and instructor, she helps people create clear and effective content. She is a founding member of Editors Saskatchewan and a past president of the national executive council.

Aaron Dalton (Calgary, Alberta) has had an eclectic career that spanned hospitality, software localization, computer programming and musicology through which he learned firsthand the power of audience-centred communication. He currently works for the Alberta Energy Regulator as an editor and plain language evangelist, where he develops and delivers staff training on effective writing.

Donna L. Dawson (Aurora, Ontario) is a Certified Professional Editor, freelancing since 1996. She has worked on material targeting consumers and specialist audiences, including self-published books, children’s nutrition programs, stock market research reports, continuing medical education programs and professional testing materials. She has worked extensively with the Editors Canada professional certification program and contributed to the association’s publications and the national and Editors Toronto mentorship programs.

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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

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