LifeTree Media is proud to announce that our very own Maggie Langrick was shortlisted for the 2015 Tom Fairley Award for Editorial Excellence, a peer-reviewed award given out annually by Editors Canada.
Maggie, who is LifeTree’s Founder and Publisher, earned the nomination for her work on Shell: One Woman’s Final Year After a Lifelong Struggle with Anorexia and Bulimia, by Michelle Stewart. Published by LifeTree in September 2015, the book is a heart-rending memoir chronicling the author’s experience as a palliative patient suffering from terminal kidney disease, a secondary condition to her longstanding dual eating disorders.
Judges’ remarks included:
“Maggie Langrick was the right choice for Shell, a memoir compiled from Michelle Stewart’s blog posts after her death. Stewart died of complications from anorexia nervosa shortly before her family contacted Langrick to pull together and publish her story. Langrick studied Stewart’s blog posts, written in the last year of her life, and built a deeply moving picture of her lifetime struggle with the disease. She sensitively preserved the author’s voice while turning the blog into a readable and important book.”
Editing the work of an author who was no longer living posed some particular challenges. “Every editor bears a responsibility to serve the author’s vision and voice,” said Maggie. “In most cases, there is a lively collaborative dialogue between editor and author to make sure that the author’s intentions are interpreted correctly and expressed in the best possible way. In this case, I did not have the luxury of being able to consult Michelle because she had died before I came onto the project.
“Instead of pushing queries over to her, I had to make many creative decisions on her behalf. This was a responsibility I took extremely seriously, and I think it caused me to listen exceptionally closely to the voice in the material.”
In Shell, Michelle Stewart writes candidly about what it was like to live with active dual eating disorders that she kept secret from all but a few people for more than 30 years. Maggie said that she found Michelle’s story “as heartbreaking as it is illuminating. But what moved me most about it was the blossoming of the heart that Michelle experienced in her final year of life. Having been diagnosed with terminal kidney disease, she opened up to the world about her condition and was met not with the judgment that she feared, but with love and understanding. I am truly honoured to have played a part in her sharing her story.”