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We speak with Stephanie Holt, IPEd’s new deputy chair and Victorian director about her background, hobbies and her new roles. Stephanie is no stranger to IPEd, having been an active member for 20 years, and most recently, serving as the Victorian branch president.

How long were you EdVic president for, and what are projects or achievements you’re most proud of?

I was president for almost three years. Covid dominated those years, especially in Victoria, so supporting the committee’s great work in quickly adapting to Zoom and developing innovative options like the Zoom Cuppa felt both enjoyable and important. Having been a longtime editing teacher, it was exciting to continue work with students and outreach to courses, so the “Ask an Editor” zoom sessions were definitely a highlight, as was pursuing an expansion of IPEd’s student membership to cover recent graduates as well. Our Christmas campaigns to shine a spotlight on members as authors were also rewarding – and a good annual prompt to read more and more widely.

When did you join IPEd, and what have been some of your other IPEd roles and projects?

I’ve been an active member for about 20 years, and before joining the Victorian committee, I’d volunteered with IPEd’s awards and prizes program and accreditation exam teams. Most recently, I was an invigilator of last year’s exam in Melbourne.

Tell us about your new role on the IPEd board

I’m only new to the board, so still finding my way and focus, but I’ll be supporting Ruth Davies as Deputy Chair.

How did you first hear about IPEd and what made you decide to join?

I’d learned editing on the job and in independent publishing projects, so when I started teaching young editors I wanted a better sense of the industry and how “real” editors did what they did. Editors Victoria (as it was then) proved a wonderful place to do that. And it was reassuring to find that many editors had similar pathways to mine, all real editors, after all.

Tell us about your background 

I currently work with Overland literary journal as their Head of Operations, while doing select freelance work, often editing theses, or working on projects with art galleries and arts organisations. Before that, I’d been with RMIT for many years as a teacher and manager in their writing and editing programs. Along the way I’ve had some fun side gigs, such as working in a library, presenting history segments on TV, fact-checking for a quiz show, and being a tour guide. It’s been an accidental career in some ways, but reading, learning and the arts are strong common threads.

Tell us about some of your hobbies or what you do in your spare time 

I’m a dedicated footy fan, so live in hope of seeing St Kilda’s second premiership. AFLW or AFLM, I don’t mind – is that too much to ask? Apart from that, gardening, line dancing and bookbinding are favourite activities to squeeze in to spare time, along with family history research.

Our conference is focused on the theme of “Futureproofing the editing profession” and session topics will look at ChatGPT; neurodiversity, cultural intelligence and diversity in editing; trauma-informed editing practice; inclusive publishing; and mentoring as a method of futureproofing – just to name a few! What do you think are some of the challenges and/or opportunities facing the editing profession?

Kudos to the conference organisers for covering so many pressing current issues. In addition to those, creating an environmentally sustainable publishing industry, and properly rewarding writers and editors are key. AI is an opportunity as well as a threat – can we use it to speed up or eliminate some of the time-consuming work, while honing – and selling – our expertise with the nuances of writing and communication?

Do you have any pets? If so, please tell us about them

I’m a cat person living in the bush, so no pet for me, sadly. But we have regular visits from kangaroos and wallabies, and get to enjoy glorious birdlife and (in a good season) a dam full of frogs.

What is something most people don’t know about you (that you’d feel comfortable sharing)?

I’m a twin, and yes we’re close but no we’re not identical.