Introducing Armelle Davies, recipient of the inaugural Minderoo Editorship

Armelle Davies joined Fremantle Press as an editor in 2018, as part of a three-year position supported by the Minderoo Foundation. She previously completed an internship at Fremantle Press in 2017, and has two degrees in international relations and a BA in Creative Writing, Professional Writing and Publishing, all from Curtin University. We asked her to share more about her background and what she’s working on at Fremantle Press.

What is your role at Fremantle Press?

My role as an editor at Fremantle Press involves assisting the publishers across all aspects of publishing, including copyediting, proofreading, project management and book production.

What made you want to work as an editor?

I have always loved stories, and I originally thought that I wanted to write them. But through the course of my degree in creative writing, professional writing and publishing, I realised that my real passion was not for telling stories, but shaping them. I realised that I didn’t have any stories that were burning inside me, but that I could help someone else tell theirs, and that was something worth doing. I think that books are so important for building empathy and being exposed to new perspectives, and I thought that working in publishing would allow me to feel like I was working for a purpose – not just for money, but to help advance our culture and our national debate. I have also always been fascinated by the intricacies of language, and how it is so inextricably tied to our culture and history. I think that, especially in times like these, the importance of language shouldn’t be overlooked, and I am humbled to join the ranks of editors who act as custodians of language. I am also just a word nerd – in year three, I was ahead of my classmates in terms of vocabulary, so my teacher, Mrs Elliot, got me to find new words in the dictionary. To this day, I still remember some of the words I was so excited to show her, like helter-skelter and mollycoddle.

What experience did you have prior to getting the Minderoo Editorship?

I came to Fremantle Press only a few weeks after graduating from my writing and publishing degree, but during my studies I tried to gain as much experience as I could. I participated in a program editing academic research papers, volunteered as editor for my university’s writers club, and did some freelance writing for a science organisation. During my final year, I was very fortunate to do an internship at Fremantle Press as part of my degree. Getting a taste of publishing really cemented my drive to make my career in the industry, and I learned a lot while I was here. I also previously studied international relations, and worked in the cinema industry for many years.

Where do you hope to be at the end of the three years?

By the end of the fellowship, I hope to be accomplished enough as an editor to be managing my own projects, and contributing enough to the output of Fremantle Press to be able to stay on here.

What is the benefit of the Minderoo Editorship for new and emerging publishing professionals?

Without the Minderoo Editorship, I couldn’t have dreamed of working in publishing in Western Australia until much further down the track, if at all. The publishing industry here is so small that job openings, let alone entry-level positions, are exceedingly rare. I would have had to move to the east coast or tried to build up a career as a freelance editor here – which would have been difficult given the level of experience I had. Over the last few years, I have really come to love Western Australia and be proud of its culture, and I realised that I did not want to move away after all, despite my earlier notion that the east coast was where the real culture happened. To be given an opportunity to stay here, unlike the many other young people in the arts who simply have no other option but to move away, is invaluable. The value of being able to work at a small publisher like Fremantle Press is immeasurable for an editor starting out in the industry, as it allows you to develop a wide range of skills across all stages of publishing, from acquisitions to typesetting and everything in between. It also allows you to work closely with a range of people to deepen your understanding of other aspects of publishing, like marketing, sales and design.

The Minderoo Editorship is sponsored by the Minderoo Foundation until 2020. The three-year program is designed to foster new Western Australian publishing talent by helping entry-level editors develop editorial and project management skills in all genres.

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