By Paul Anderson
Susie Pilkington, the now ex-EdNSW Administrative officer, retired at the end of June. In no small tribute, here are some reflections from Susie to mark her 14 years of service.
When did you join IPEd?
In 2009 (when Editors NSW was the Society of Editors (NSW) Inc.). Michael Lewis would often mention the society when I was undertaking the Postgraduate Certificate of Editing at Macquarie University with the marvellous Emeritus Professor Pam Peters and Michael (he was a society committee member). Their regular speaker meetings each month featured not only a keynote speaker but also supper and wine – I signed up. The first meeting I attended happened to be the AGM. Pam kindly introduced me to some people so that I had someone to talk with. Later, during the meeting, there was a call for any further nominations from the floor to join the committee. Michael was pointing to someone in the room and I looked around to see who it might be – then, he called out my name as a suggestion for a role on the committee. Well, flattery worked a treat and I’ve been part of the organisation in its various guises ever since.
What are some of your volunteer highlights?
Two of my early roles were wonderful one-off experiences. The first was the 30th anniversary dinner (7 July 2009) with special guest speaker Jeremy Fisher. I called on my PR background and offered to put together show bags for the event. Our guests enjoyed a copy of Christos Tsiolkas’s The Slap, samples of Haigh’s chocolates, and a double pass to Hoyts cinemas. The second was helping with the 2011 IPEd Conference held in Sydney. Committee member Catherine Etteridge undertook the hard work of putting on this major event and I was her trusty assistant. We created a bookshop in the conference foyer where attendees could purchase books at discounted prices that we had sourced from various publishers. I’m thrilled it was the start of a tradition for future conferences.
Would you care to mention any favourites from your variety of roles over the years?
My bent was always to see which committee role was vacant and to take that on so that we covered our bases. Being on the committee was a way to continue my education in editing and to expand my editing experience. I facilitated the Society’s professional development events under the watchful eye of Meryl Potter (who has forgotten more than I’ll ever know about editing, I suspect). Subsequently, the role was expanded into the new, contracted role of office and events manager, and I was fortunate enough to work alongside Agata Mrva-Montoya on events such as our (then) biennial workshop days. But in the end, my time on the committee is most fondly remembered for the many wonderful people with whom I got to share a few hours each month. There are too many to name, but I will single out Julie Ganner, with whom I’ve shared committee duties (and a few wines) since 2015.
What are some of your other interests and which of these will you pursue in retirement?
As I wander towards retirement, I look forward to just waking up to decide what each day will look like, to walks with the dog, and to what the next chapter of life will bring. I have however already spotted an organisation or two I’m keen to volunteer for if I get bored.
Do you have any advice for editors today or thoughts on the editing profession into the future?
I’m curious to see how AI plays out in society at large, but for editors in particular, it could bring new challenges. I’m thinking of thesis editing, for example, and how the issue with plagiarism is now overlain with the potential for AI-text content. Online recently, I came across batches of school exam essays in which one had been generated by AI. I found it fascinating to try to pick the AI option in each instance (not always successfully).
Any other bons mots for us in closing?
The Society, Editors NSW and IPEd have been part of the fabric of my life for some 14 years and it’s been enlightening, entertaining and educational. Thanks to each and every editor I’ve shared that time with.
The Editors NSW committee thanks Susie for her outstanding service. We will send her off in style at our winter dinner event in Sydney on 18 July (bookings are currently open).