The program for IPEd’s 9th national editors conference includes several different presentation types: keynotes, guest presentations, oral presentations, poster presentations, panels, symposia, workshops and Super Book Clubs.

If you’re used to attending conferences, no doubt that’s all clear as mud, but if this will be your first conference you may wondering what on earth all this means.


A keynote speaker is usually a well-known expert or a celebrity, invited as much to entice delegates to attend as to ‘set the tone’ for the conference or event.

Macquarie Dictionary’s first definition, for the noun ‘keynote’, describes it as ‘the note on which a key (system of notes) is founded; the tonic’. Indeed, the term originates from the tradition of singing a cappella, in which the correct note is sounded before the singers commence. At a conference, the keynote speaker usually gives a talk to introduce the overarching theme or purpose of the event.

We are fortunate to be able to offer delegates the honour and pleasure of hearing from four keynotes over the two days of the conference, each highly accomplished in their respective fields:

  • Sue Butler AO, lexicographer at large and former editor of the Macquarie Dictionary
  • Michael Williams, Director of the Wheeler Centre for Books, Writing and Ideas
  • Dr Katherine Bode, an ARC Future Fellow whose research is exploring Australian literature at home and abroad
  • Penny Modra, a ‘grammarpreneur’ forging new horizons in communications.

More information about our keynotes is available.

Guest speakers

A plenary or guest speaker is an industry expert, usually invited to speak on a specific topic or issue.

This year, IPEd’s Patron, Professor Emeritus Roland Sussex OAM, who has been a popular keynote speaker at previous IPEd conferences, will once again regale us with his perspective on English as ‘the’ international language.

An older man next to a radio microphone.
IPEd Patron Professor Roly Sussex OAM. Photo supplied.

Libby Varcoe, Head of Content at the Digital Transformation Agency, will provide an update on progress to revise the Australian government style manual.

Grant McAvaney, CEO of the Australian Copyright Council, will provide an up-to-the-minute overview of recent changes to copyright legislation.

The guest speaker at our Gala Dinner will be Tony Wilson, author and broadcaster, who will be giving us his unique take on the author–editor relationship.

In addition, we are excited to announce that Dr Angela Savage, Director of Writers Victoria and an award-winning author in her own right, will be exploring great moments in literature when editors saved the day.

A woman with curly hair, wearing glasses and a floral hair ornament, smiles at the camera
Dr Angela Savage. Image supplied.
Dr Angela Savage
Director, Writers Victoria

Dr Angela Savage is an award-winning Melbourne writer who has lived and travelled extensively in Asia. She holds a PhD in Creative Writing and currently works as Director of Writers Victoria. Her fourth novel, Mother of Pearl, will be published by Transit Lounge in 2019.

Presenters and panellists

More than 30 individual presenters will be giving short (10 minutes) and long (20 minutes) oral presentations in the concurrent sessions held on the Thursday and Friday, and a further 10 presenters will be showcasing their poster presentations during the lunchbreaks.

A poster presentation is a large printed poster (1 metre x 1 metre approx.) designed to illustrate a particular idea, argument, theory, project or study. We will host a guided tour during the lunch breaks, so presenters can give a 3-minute overview of their poster and take questions.

Poster presentations are often underestimated because people wrongly assume they are a lesser form of presentation. Posters can have a strong and lasting effect because they are visual representations that give delegates time to absorb the content over the course of the conference and to engage directly with the presenter. They are also great for people who have an idea they want to share but feel it’s not yet ready to develop into an oral presentation, or those who aren’t confident enough (yet) to stand up on a podium in front of hundreds of people.

In addition, there will be two panels and two symposia. A panel presentation is a less-formal style of debate or exposition; usually guided by a moderator, individual panellists interact and present differing viewpoints on a debatable topic. A symposium is like a mini-conference within a conference, in which a convenor or facilitator gathers 3–4 people to give a short presentation on a given topic (or different aspects of that topic) and then facilitates a discussion between those presenters and the audience. Another way to think of it is as an extended panel session.

Workshops and Super Book Clubs

A workshop is a facilitated meeting at which a group of people engage in intensive discussion and activity on a particular subject or project. Professional development and training programs are often delivered in workshop format. This year, six half-day, pre-conference workshops are on offer.

The Super Book Clubs (SBCs) is a new feature at the IPEd conference – your home away from book club (or your inspiration to join one). Let’s face it: editors love reading books as much as talking about them!

There will be a SBC discussing the intricacies of editing simultaneous editions of a YA series for different markets and another focusing on ethics in editorial practice in life writing and memoir.