Written by Nancy Tinari; copy edited by Maggie Clark
On the evening of October 18, 2016, three of Canada’s top writers spoke at the Vancouver Writers Fest to give a moving depiction of the late Ellen Seligman. Seligman, an editor with McClelland & Stewart for almost four decades, was esteemed for her work with many of Canada’s best-known writers, including Margaret Atwood, Michael Ondaatje, and Jane Urquhart.
The panel discussion was moderated by Jared Bland; the writers taking part were Michael Helm, Steven Price, and Madeleine Thien. Seligman edited Helm’s and Price’s most recently published books (After James and By Gaslight, respectively) during the final year of her life, and she had previously edited Thien’s book Dogs at the Perimeter. These writers’ anecdotes about Seligman revealed an editor who, even in the face of mortal illness, remained unparalleled in her insights, devotion to her writers, and dedication to her work.
Written by Nancy Tinari; copy edited by Karen Barry
Review of “Yes, I Could Care Less: How to Be a Language Snob Without Being a Jerk” by Bill Walsh.
Yes, I Could Care Less is a funny book for editors. It’s for editors because, like Bill Walsh, we care about words deeply. We recognize aspects of our own personalities in his self-mockery about his obsessive-compulsive quirkiness and his editorial pet peeves. It’s a book for editors rather than a general audience because Walsh, a copy editor at The Washington Post since 1997, tackles some of the most difficult copy-editing conundrums that often stymie editors. Topics include subject-verb agreement “follies” with expressions like “a lot” and “one of those people,” restrictive/non-restrictive clauses with their tricky use of commas and the which/that choice, how to handle trademarks, difficult decisions about hyphenation, and the pitfalls of typesetting technology.
Yes, I Could Care Less reveals what a subjective task editing can be. There are rules, style books, and house style guides, but there are many issues upon which even expert copy editors will not agree. The book opened my eyes about the potential for creativity and what Walsh calls “tiny acts of elegance” in editing work.
by Nancy Tinari; review of presentation by Christine Middlemass, Manager of Collections & Technical Services at Vancouver Public Library (VPL) on the evolving landscape of our libraries, held at the March 19, 2014 EAC-BC branch meeting
Christine Middlemass, a librarian since 1978, provided a lively, fast-paced and thorough overview of how libraries have changed over the past two decades. Accelerating times have caused many challenges for libraries. Yet if librarians have half the competence and humour of Middlemass, book lovers can be confident that these establishments will remain the cornerstone of communities. As Vancouverites, we can feel smug: the Vancouver Public Library is the third largest in Canada and recently was rated number one in the world, tied with Montréal’s library network.