Discussing the Author-Editor Relationship at the April Dinner Meeting

On Thursday 16 April Editors Victoria held our second dinner meeting for the year, and what a night it was! Our speakers for the evening were Mandy Brett, a senior editor at Text Publishing, and Jock Serong, an author whose debut novel, Quota, was published by Text in 2014. Mandy and Jock worked closely together on Quota for some years, and their easy relationship was impossible to miss amongst all the laughter and storytelling.

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Editor Mandy Brett and author Jock Serong (Photo credits: Sarah Mokrzycki)

As usual, President Jackey Coyle opened the night, discussing upcoming events at Editors Victoria and also her excitement at having Mandy and Jock talk about Quota and their author-editor relationship. Annie Reid acted as Master of Ceremonies (her first time in this role) and performed so well that Jock commented at the end of the night how seamless everything had been.

As with our previous dinner meeting in February, the event was held in the intimate front room upstairs at CQ. Warm candlelight, neatly laid tables, scrumptious food (ooh, that pasta!), great conversation and, of course, the friendly banter of the speakers made it a truly memorable night.

After our delicious dinner, Mandy and Jock took to the stage to discuss Quota: how the story came about, how they met, and how they journeyed together to see the text's completion and publication. It was fascinating to see 'opposing' sides, as it were; Jock as a new writer convinced that what he had submitted was ready for publication, and Mandy, a seasoned editor, seeing a new author with great promise but a text that still had a long way to go!

Members sat rapt with attention as Mandy and Jock discussed how they shaped the novel over the course of five years; the delight Mandy took in Jock's blossoming story, and Jock's excitement as his writing fell into place. It was obvious that the process, and the author-editor relationship, had been a thoroughly positive one for both parties.

After a laughter-filled discussion on Quota, our speakers invited questions from the audience. People were fascinated by Mandy and Jock's journey together and there was no shortage of hands in the air!

The night concluded with the door prize raffle and new member Richard Overall was the lucky winner of the prize - which included a signed copy of Quota. After the raffle was drawn, many members stayed to chat with Mandy and Jock, or purchase a copy of Jock's magazine Great Ocean Quarterly.

A big thank you to all who attended and joined in the fun, and a special thank you to Jock and his wife Lilly who drove all the way up from Port Fairy to attend!

We look forward to seeing everyone at our next dinner meeting, which will take place on Wednesday 17 June.

Sarah Mokrzycki
Events Subcommittee