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The Institute of Professional Editors (IPEd) is pleased to announce the shortlist for the 2023 Rosanne Fitzgibbon Editorial Award, IPEd’s award for editorial excellence.

The award, known as the Rosie, gives a cash prize of $4,000 to a dedicated editor who has helped an author deliver the best possible outcome on a fiction or non-fiction publication.

IPEd Chair Ruth Davies said the judges were highly impressed with this year’s submissions, as these are based on both the quality of the finished work and submissions from the editor, author and publisher about the editorial process and work of the editor.

“This award recognises editors who are a true asset to the profession as well as to writers and readers – editors who have championed and nurtured an author’s writing so that it can provide the best possible reader experience, resulting in the best possible publishing outcome,” Davies said.

The Rosie honours the editorial contribution of Rosanne Fitzgibbon DE (1947–2012), whose professional life was spent chiefly at University of Queensland Press, editing fiction titles. She was the inaugural winner of the Beatrice Davis Editorial Fellowship in 1992, which took her to publishing houses in New York, subsequently benefiting every author she worked with. Rosie was known and loved for her passionate commitment to her authors, often over several titles.

Below is the shortlist, as well as an honourable mention, with more details about each following.

Shortlisted editors

  • Bronwyn Mitchell, Wetlands of Queensland
  • Emma Rafferty, Dinner with the Schnabels
  • Cathy Vallance, The Way of Dog

An Honourable Mention editor

  • Kathryn Tafra, Tea, War & Crocodiles: Tales from an extraordinary life 

The 2023 Rosie winner will be announced at an online awards event as part of the 11th IPEd Editors Conference. The awards ceremony will take place on Wednesday 3 May 2023 from 1.00 to 2.00 pm (AEST). The conference runs from 2 to 9 May, and tickets are still available. Check out the conference website.

More information about the shortlist


Bronwyn Mitchell, editor, Wetlands of Queensland (Copyediting: Ruth Ridgway. Authors: Mike Ronan, Matthew Griffiths and others. Photographer: Gary Cranitch. Publisher: Queensland Museum Network in partnership with the Queensland Government Department of Environment and Science.) 

Bronwyn Mitchell edited a multifaceted and complex project that had numerous authors and contributors, a high degree of technical detail in the content and questions to be navigated around recognition of cultural safety. It ran for three years, during which time Mitchell’s commitment to the project and its authors was unflagging. 

Emma Rafferty, Dinner with the Schnabels (Author: Toni Jordan. Publisher: Hachette Australia.)

Emma Rafferty demonstrated passion and insight as she worked with the author on a series of structural edits aimed at ensuring the book’s characterisation, chapter structure and comedic aspects met readers’ expectations of the genre. Rafferty’s two thorough editorial reports demonstrated a close and careful reading of the text. They offered detailed but not didactic advice on key elements such as the ending, supporting the author to rework it but also allowing scope for creative interpretation. 

Cathy Vallance, The Way of Dog (Author: Zana Fraillon. Publisher: Clair Hume, Children’s Publisher, University of Queensland Press.)

Cathy Vallance has produced a sophisticated, careful edit of an unusual text – a verse novel told from the perspective of a dog. The text demonstrated a close engagement with the genre and an awareness of the expectations of a middle-grade readership. Vallance worked with the author to develop a set of style conventions and offered advice on elements of tone, language use, length, visual presentation and characterisation. 


Kathryn Tafra, editor, Tea, War & Crocodiles: Tales from an extraordinary life (Author and publisher: Ferdinand [Terry] J Brockhall.)

Kathryn Tafra managed a large and complex self-publishing project, working with a new older author and his family, editing and advising on key textual and design aspects, always keeping the author/publisher and his family included in these discussions.