Press release: Invitation to PEG’s webinar on editing fiction

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PEG nitty-gritty editing webinar: Sharing the highs and lows, the nuts ‘n bolts, of remaining ‘invisible’ while enhancing authors’ works of fiction

‘Like a decent pair of sunnies, a fiction editor should be invisible ….’

Most of us copy editors settle comfortably into the relative cosiness and complacence of non-fiction editing – although many of us experience that eternal yen, or yearning, to try our hand at what seems to be the apogee of the editor’s craft: editing that manuscript for a novel.

If you number yourself among the yearners, or perhaps even want to dip your toes in the waters of fiction, or need to satisfy your curiosity about what being ‘sunnies’ to an author’s wild imaginings entails, then why not join PEG’s climactic webinar of 2021. You’ll be in the most nurturing of hands, our panellists comprising an author of fiction, an editor of the genre and both an author and a trainer of fiction editors.

The event will also be an ideal opportunity to attend the launch of PEG’s most recently published guide, Editing Fiction, and to win some really cool books during the prize draw that will conclude the proceedings.

  • Focus: The aim is to familiarise participants with the noble and finely crafted art of editing fiction texts and the particular joys, challenges and triumphs of working with such authors.
  • Date: Saturday, 11 December 2021
  • Documents, if any, will be emailed upon registration.
  • Time: 09:30 to 13:00
  • Place: Online (Zoom meeting)
  • Panellists:  Izak de Vries, Lexi Lawson & Brent Meersman
About our panellists

Brent Meersman is the author of eight books, including Rattling the Cage (Picador), a book of essays on democratic South Africa; Primary Coloured (Human & Rousseau)a political roman-à-clef; A Childhood Made Up (Tafelberg), a memoir; Ophila and the Poet (Junkets), a poetry collection, Reports Before Daybreak (Umuzi/Random House) and Sunset Claws (Missing Ink), a trilogy of novels, of which Rapport said: ‘Meersman is one of this country’s greatest storytellers.’ His work has been translated and published internationally. In 2013, he founded the authors’ publishing co-operative Missing Ink. He is currently the co-editor of GroundUp. He previously wrote as a columnist for the Mail & Guardian (2003–16) and This Is Africa (2014–18), and was SA bureau chief for New Africa Analysis (London). He is currently the chairperson of the Cape Town Press Club.

Izak de Vries began his literary career in the days of fax machines as reviewer for Die Burger. Interaction with the subeditors taught him a lot about words. Over the years he has consulted and worked for a number of publishing companies and he has also written both fiction and non-fiction. Izak believes an editor should be similar to a pair of decent sunglasses on a bright day – they ought not to distort the view but, by diminishing the glare, every detail will become more visible and enjoyable. Like a proper pair of sunnies, an editor should be invisible, and the user ought not to know of her or his presence.

In 2010, Lexi Lawson enrolled in McGillivray Linnegar Associates’ courses in basic and advanced copy editing and these armed her with the wherewithal to start freelancing. She has always read voraciously ­– chose English Literature for a BA major – and it was soon clear that editing creative writing was her strength and, later, her passion. She tries to get into the author’s head, tries to think and write like them, tries to change text – or suggest changes – while maintaining their voice. Her relationship with authors, although physically distant, often becomes close: a creative collaboration. PEG’s three-day fiction editing workshops in Franschhoek more than a decade ago were a highlight for her, and she enrolled for six consecutive years. She misses them.

About the webinar

This webinar will take the form of a panel-style presentation and discussion in which our participants will reveal what it takes to edit in the genre of fiction. Not only will they reveal much about the nuts and bolts of the editor’s craft but they will also consider the unique kind of working relationship – or ‘creative collaboration’, as Lexi refers to it – that is an essential ingredient of a successful end product. As a bonus, we’ll also be hearing the author’s take on the editor’s role expressed by two seasoned fiction authors – essentially, what they expect of an editor in ‘diminishing the glare’, as Izak so aptly puts it, so that their words ‘become more visible’ to the reader (without the editor having left so much as a toeprint of evidence of their intervention, of course). A delicate balancing act that’s no mean achievement.

The event will also be an ideal opportunity to witness the launch of PEG’s most recently published guide, Editing Fiction, and to win some really cool book prizes (including copies of the guide) during the prize draw that will conclude the proceedings – a happy denouement to the year’s learning experiences.



Early-bird registration fee

(before or on 6 December 2021)

Registration fee

(from 7 to 9 December)

PEG members



LAMP, PEN Afrikaans, Pen South Africa members*



Non-affiliated members



*LAMP members ( Association of Southern African Indexers and Bibliographers (ASAIB), ProJourn, Southern African Freelancers’ Association (SAFREA), South African Science Journalists’ Association (SASJA) and the South African Translators’ Institute (SATI).

Please register by completing and emailing the registration form to Sharon Rose ( no later than 12 noon on Thursday, 9 December. (Download the form here.)

Cancellation policy

If members are unable to attend this webinar after having registered and paid for it, a full refund is possible if cancellations are received by Sharon Rose ( by 9 December. Once the final number of attendees has been confirmed on the morning of the webinar, no refunds will be possible.

In addition, should you be prevented from participating in full or in part on the day of the webinar owing to Eskom loadshedding, you will be entitled to take either the same webinar or another on the 2021 webinar programme. When this occurs, the onus will be on you to inform Sharon Rose of your disqualification on this ground and to specify which alternative webinar you would like to transfer your registration to. Remember, though, that as a would-be or part-participant on the day, you will in any event receive the audio recording of the entire event plus PDFs of the PPT slides.

Use the early-bird special: save money and secure your spot at this webinar by registering early!

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