Next general meeting Wednesday 24 June: Memoir editing

Posted on: 12 June 2015

Members and their guests are warmly invited to a panel discussion on memoir editing

Wednesday 24 June 2015 at 7.30 pm at SA Writers Centre, 187 Rundle Street

Memoirs are a part of the contemporary trend of sharing personal information and take their place alongside blogs, reality TV and social media channels in feeding our seemingly insatiable curiosity about each other. In the last decade or so the number and variety of memoirs by ‘ordinary people’ has multiplied to the point of encyclopaedic diversity.

Along with such literary proliferation comes a need for editors, but for many of us the first step into memoir editing is intimidating.

So we’ve asked four of our members – Sandra Lindemann, Margaret McDonell, Heather Millar and Christine Velde – to speak to us about their experiences in memoir editing, including how they started out, the knowledge required and gained, the challenges and successes, the relationship with the author, and the surprises along the way. Questions and discussion afterwards will be welcomed.

RSVP by 20 June via Eventzilla.

Members are also invited to attend a pre-meeting dinner (at member’s own expense) at 6.00 pm at Café Michael at 204 Rundle Street. To book a seat at the table, please email

Our panellists:

Dr Sandra Lindemann has produced five edited memoirs and two interview-based community histories. This work was the inspiration for a research study into the experience of what she calls ‘as-told-to life writing’. Her research thesis, Vulnerable Writers, describes some of the challenges, especially the ethical challenges, confronting the writer/editor at each stage of the process. It is based on her own experiences as well as interviews with other experienced practitioners. 

Margaret McDonell had her first taste of memoir editing in 1999 when she edited the David Unaipon award-winning Is That You, Ruthie? for University of Queensland Press. Since then she has edited several other memoirs/life writing by Indigenous Australians, including the bilingual Listen Deeply, Let the Story In. She finds editing life writing to be challenging, provoking and richly rewarding.

Heather Millar is interested in personal stories. This has taken her from interviewing and feature writing for magazines (and her own blog), to editing and ghost writing memoirs. The first memoir she worked on was for Penguin Australia, a book about a girl with eating disorders called Eli’s Wings. She has also edited a non-fiction work for Hardie Grant Publishing called Breathe for Life, which was part-biography and part-manual. Currently she is working on a memoir for a private client about life in a brothel and addiction to heroin.

Dr Christine Velde is a freelance editor and non-fiction creative writer who has authored her own memoir, Bound: An Expatriate’s Journey to China and Beyond. In the process of compiling the book, she interviewed other expats in Shanghai and Hong Kong, which placed her in the position of being not only memoir author but also writer and editor. Christine’s new book, DragonFlyers: Influential Roles of Prominent Expatriates in Indonesia, will be published in August 2015. She is currently an Honorary Visiting Research Fellow with the Department of Asian Studies, University of Adelaide.

Join us

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.



Join us for the Editors SA Christmas party at the Governor Hindmarsh Hotel on Monday 4 December. Bookings essential.
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