Meet our members - Heather Millar AE

Posted on: 16 January 2019

Just recently, I discovered my grandfather was a journalist and editor. No-one in the family had thought to share this with me until shortly before my mother died. So, it's no surprise I was drawn to editing myself.

I've been an editor all my adult life. When I finished my BA at the University of Tasmania, I moved to Melbourne and did a Diploma in Professional Writing and Editing at RMIT.

I soon got a job editing a government newsletter, but I wanted to travel more than anything, so off I went backpacking in the early 90s, and stayed away for nearly a decade. I got a job in London working for a small magazine publisher - just at the time custom magazine publishing went BOOM! I started out as deputy editor on Hot Air, the Virgin inflight magazine, and ended up four years later as managing editor across a range of titles.

I met Sandy Grant and Fiona Hardie in London just before I came home. They had been working in publishing in London also, and were planning to set up a new publishing company. They asked me to work for them as Hardie Grant's first managing editor in the custom magazine division. I stayed there for a few years - editing all kinds of magazines from Vital Health for National Pharmacies to Coles Baby magazine, and a few books as well.

I went freelance in 2003, and started Zest Communications, my own editorial consultancy. Since then I've done a couple of part-time in-house stints in communications roles - as senior writer at ReturnToWorkSA and communications manager at the Whale and Dolphin Conservation Society - but mainly, I've worked from home as a freelance editor.

Currently I edit medicSA for the AMA(SA), and documents for DECD, Families SA, Adelaide City Council, the RAA, and other government departments and organisations. I also do feature articles and content writing for magazines and websites, and I have just finished writing all the profiles for the book Faces and Food of the Fleurieu.

I've also edited a number of memoirs and non-fiction books and have become increasingly interested in life story writing. I recorded my father's memoirs before he passed away and made them into a book. It sparked a passion in me, and I now volunteer at the Calvary Hospital in the Biography Program, recording the memoirs of palliative care patients. I have also started doing memoir writing and ghostwriting ... basically helping people get their stories out in whatever form that takes!

This year I decided to sit the IPEd accreditation exam. After 30 years as an editor, I figured I should probably have an AE after my name! I really did not want to risk failing (I mean how would that look after 30 years?) so I worked hard, and thank god, passed.

I put my hand up for the Editors SA Committee after that. I wanted to start giving back to the profession. I'm not in any particular role on the Committee; I'm kind of the odd-job person. However, I have just taken on the task of organising the bursaries for the IPEd Conference in 2019, which I am also looking forward to attending.

Hope to see you there!

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The society works actively to support and promote editors and the editing profession, both in South Australia and nationally. As a member of the society, you will have access to a variety of benefits.

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Conferences

Beyond the page

9th IPEd national editors conference

Melbourne, Australia
8-10 May 2019

Get all the details at iped2019.org.au

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