Cupids resident wins editing award
Sandy Newton recipient of Tom Fairley Award for excellence
An editor and writer who has adopted the scenic and historic Town of Cupids as her hometown is this year’s winner of the Tom Fairley Award for Editorial Excellence.
The Editors’ Association of Canada (EAC) announced earlier this month that Sandy Newton was awarded the $2,000 prize for her work on “Here’s the Catch: The Fish We Harvest from the Northwest Atlantic.” The book was written by Wade Kearley, and published by Boulder Publications.
The award was presented at EAC’s annual awards banquet, which took place on June 8, in Halifax. Newton was unable to attend the award ceremony, but was honoured to hear she had won.
“I was absolutely delighted to find out they liked it,” Newton said of the book and her work on the project when contacted at her home on Burnt Head June 26.
Newtown was born in Toronto, and has long been a member of the EAC. She has worked on many literary projects, but it never occurred to her to enter the award of excellence competition.
“But this book about all the species harvested here really … it was a long project, but a lovely book I felt good about. So I thought, ‘why not enter and see if something happens, and if more people hear about the book, then that’s a great thing,’” she said.
Newtown has been self-employed as a writer and editor since the late 1990s, and has worked on four other publications for Boulder — all field guides.
Newtown and her husband became enchanted with this province’s rugged beauty and natural splendor more than three decades ago, and resided in the tiny Southern Shore community of Port Kirwan for several years in the late 1980s.
“The air is so beautiful when you’re living by the sea,” she said, noting that during a recent walk along the road on Burnt Head, she could hear a whale in the distance. “It’s just a fantastic experience.” She added: “Winning this award gives a tremendous boost to both my personal confidence and my belief in the merit of the editorial processes I have been applying.”
“Here’s the Catch” is an illustrated celebration of 52 finfish species that are the reason many communities in Atlantic Canada remain linked to the northwest Atlantic Ocean.
The book is also a complex two-and-a-halfyear project. Newton was nominally the managing editor, but in reality played a much larger role. Newton had a hand in verifying factual information, guiding the book’s development through stylistic editing, and assisting with page design. The judges praised her meticulous attention to detail and her thoughtful insights, which contributed to the high quality of the finished work.
“The value [Newton] added to this book is most consequential,” commented one judge. “[She] clearly adheres to the highest possible professional standards.”
Not one to downplay the group effort responsible for the book’s success, Newton remains humble about the achievement.
“The success (and pleasure) of my work was directly linked to the responsiveness, professionalism, dedication and good-humour-underpressure of the team: author Wade Kearley, reviewer Richard Haedrich, advisor George Rose, illustrator Derek Peddle, copy editor Iona Bulgin, designers Alison Carr and Sarah Hansen, and the publisher Gavin Will.”
Newton said editing is an interesting process, since it is both collaborative and also requires individual effort.
“You have a hand in helping ideas and stories
“Winning this award gives a tremendous boost to both my personal confidence and my belief in the merit of the editorial processes I have been applying.” — Sandy Newton
be shared more clearly, in helping people polish their words. You work hard and dedicate your attention wholeheartedly, but you get to step back when the project is done and let the real creators go forward into the spotlight — this is appealing to me. Editing is a bit invisible as a profession … but there is an air of wizardry to it, too.”
The other two editors shortlisted for their editorial excellence were Catherine Plear of Van- couver, BC, for “Seeking Sickness: Medical Screening and the Misguided Hunt for Disease,” by Alan Cassels (Greystone Books) and Adele Simmons of Whitby, ON, for “The Costumer’s Notebook,” by Rae Stephens (The Costumers Institute). Each was awarded a cash prize of $500.
• About the EAC — began in 1979 as the Freelance Editors’ Association of Canada to promote and maintain high standards of editing. EAC is the voice of editors in Canada, with more than 1,500 members, both salaried and freelance, who work in the corporate, technical, government, not-for-profit and publishing sectors.
EAC’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. EAC has six regional branches: British Columbia; Prairie Provinces; Saskatchewan; Toronto; National Capital Region; and Quebec/Atlantic Canada, as well as five smaller branches (called twigs): KitchenerWaterloo-Guelph, Ontario; Hamilton/Halton, Ontario; Kingston, Ontario; Peterborough, Ontario; and Nova Scotia.
Sandy Newton has resided in Cupids for the past three years.