The Rosanne Fitzgibbon Editorial Award has been awarded to Cathy Vallance, a senior editor at University of Queensland Press, for her editorial work on Zana Fraillon’s middle-grade verse novel The Way of Dog (UQP).
Known as the Rosie, this award recognises editorial excellence in memory of editor Rosanne Fitzgibbon DE.
'I have never been prouder of a book and believe it represents the best editing work of my career'
– Cathy Vallance
The judges said Vallance’s work on The Way of Dog demonstrated great sensitivity and skill in her undertaking of a complex brief: to work with the author to refine a poetic verse novel with an animal as the protagonist. 'Vallance honed voice and character through her edits, and played a significant role in shaping the story,' judges said.
Vallance, who developed a close and respectful rapport with the author, accepted the award at a session of the 11th IPEd Editors Conference on 3 May.
Author Zana Fraillon said of her work with Vallance:
'Rather than providing simple possible alternatives for text, Cathy would question the reasons behind the choices I had made. This, in turn, led to us identifying and exploring why sections weren’t working as well as they could, and discovering alternatives that perhaps neither of us could have reached on our own. Not only did this result in a far superior manuscript, it injected energy and excitement into the process, which is often difficult to find and maintain during the editing stage.'
The judges reported a theme of close rapport between editors and authors in this year's entries. They said, 'Most of these edits were undertaken during a pandemic, when lockdowns and other changes to our lives meant the need to find new ways to communicate and keep in touch – and, often, to keep an author's spirits buoyed during an uncertain time.'
They commended the shortlist for keeping open the lines of communication with authors, offering motivational boosts during longer stretches, and for demonstrating skills of adaptability, flexibility and creativity.
IPEd Chair Ruth Davies AE commended this year’s Rosie entries on the diversity of genre and subject matter. The range of genres represented – from cookbooks to literary fiction and from textbooks to young-adult novels – is a healthy reflection of the growth and diversity of our industry. Davies said the judges’ decision was difficult, as many of the entries were of a very high standard, demonstrating the quality of editing in Australian publishing.
The judges of the 2023 Rosie were:
- Julia Carlomagno, publisher at Monash University and winner of the 2019 Rosie
- Rachel Bin Salleh, author and illustrator, and publisher at Magabala Books, Australia’s leading Indigenous publisher
- Sara El Sayed, author and a recent Queensland Writers Fellowship winner, and shortlisted for the 2020 Queensland Premier's Young Publishers and Writers Award.
The Rosie is awarded every two years at the IPEd Editors Conference. For details about the Rosie Award and the Institute of Professional Editors, visit the IPEd awards page, and learn about the rest of this year's shortlisted editors here.