December Dinner Meeting Report

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On such an auspicious date, how could the Editors Victoria Christmas party be anything but a success? It was a well-attended and very convivial affair, in keeping with the mood set by the decorations, Christmas crackers and generous allocation of lollies and chocolates for each table. 

Proceedings were opened by the president, Trischa Mann, who welcomed those present with an assortment of good news. She congratulated the 27 Victorian candidates who obtained accreditation in the recent IPEd exam, and acknowledged the sterling job done by Freelance Affairs Officer Fran Madigan in steering the 2013 Freelance Register to successful completion. 

Trischa also announced the committee's decision to allocate up to $5000 to support Victorian members registering for the next IPEd conference, to be held in Perth in April. To qualify for the subsidy, Trischa told us, registrations must be completed by 31 January; the amount offered per person would depend on the number of eligible registrations, and would be capped at $400 (The final number? A little over 20 registrants, each receiving a 'refund' of a bit over $220 on their registration fee — ed). The committee had also agreed to provide $5000 directly to the WA Society of Editors as sponsorship for the conference, in recognition of the valuable role played by IPEd in promoting the professional recognition of editors.

With renewed good cheer, we tucked into a buffet dinner, with some alluring dessert as an added festive touch. Normally at this point the serious business of the evening would begin. Instead, under the direction of Events Officer Petra Poupa, we divided ourselves into roughly equal teams in preparation for a trivia quiz devised with the assistance of Administration Officer Sabita Naheswaran. The resulting seven teams were, in no particular order of merit: The Luxury Yachts, Proofing the Pudding, Tequila Mockingbird, The Fire Wardens, Fifty Shades of Glitter, The Semi Colonists and The Jolly Gerunds.

The first two rounds consisted of literary trivia, with most teams gaining respectable scores. General groans were elicited by the discovery that it was Danielle Steele who had such a collection of shady husbands, and that it was D. H. Lawrence who was exhumed five years after burial and cremated on his wife's orders, but whose ashes her lover then broadcast across a swathe of Europe. One team even attempted a very dodgy Japanese transliteration of an author's name but failed to sway the markers.

A further two rounds of 'name that author' from photographs displayed on the big screen saw one team open up a commanding lead, and proved that the rest of us are better with words than pictures. The final round challenged us to provide a creative response to a series of truly appalling book covers, each of which had a word blanked out. Answers (generally hilarious, often scatological) were judged on popular acclaim, as adjudicated by Trischa and Sabita. More often than not, the actual book title was even better (or worse) than the ones we dreamed up  Down Home Gynecology, anyone?

The final scores were a clear win for The Semi Colonists, with a tight battle over a tie-break question resulting in second place for Tequila Mockingbird and third placing for The Jolly Gerunds. (Fifty Shades of Glitter failed to capitalise on the success of those illustrious publications it was named for.) The prize hampers for winning teams were shared with the decorum expected of a group of professional people celebrating the end of another hard-working year. To ensure fairness, these teams were excluded from the draw for a series of door prizes, with Trischa doing the gift shop honours.

The success of the night's entertainment can be judged by the president's parting comment: “I laughed until my ribs hurt”. In a very satisfying conclusion to the evening, two boxes of new children's books (a total of 79 books) were collected for donation to the Smith Family's toy and book appeal. In all, this was a great way to farewell 2012  well done to all involved in organising the event, with special thanks to Petra.

Kath Harper