Lorna Hendry

Lorna Hendry_RMIT

‘My career really needed a change,’ says Lorna Hendry, who was working as a graphic designer twenty years ago. ‘Editing gave me a rocket boost, allowed me to make a reasonable wage to support myself and my family.’

Lorna’s proud of this switch. ‘It’s no mean feat to run a freelance business for 20-odd years. I could only have done that with the skills I picked up at PWE.’

The course also changed her life personally, when her travel memoir Wrong Way Round was published. She was well aware that publishing was rare so didn’t set high expectations. It was accepted by Hardie Grant in 2015, which was ‘a fairy godmother’s gift to me’.

When Lorna started PWE, she thought she knew what editing might be, but quickly it became clear that she was about to find out! ‘These were the right people to guide me – the level of teaching, the level of care and the level of professionalism, and always this constant, strong thread that you’re being prepared to work in an industry.’ It was very supportive yet also rigorous.

Lorna enjoys strong relationships with many staff and students from her era – both personal friendships and working relationships. ‘People have given me jobs. I have given others jobs. I collaborate with, share work with and bounce ideas off other freelancers. That’s probably the biggest influence of the course.’

One the challenges Lorna remembers was a little speech she had to do in Penny Johnson’s editing class. She was terrified of public speaking, so put her hand up to go first… ‘We had just come back from a few years’ living in indigenous communities so I decided to talk about Aboriginal English. I was over-prepared, presented the PowerPoint and played a creole version of Waltzing Matilda. And I was really pleased with it. That was a big thing for me.’

Find out more about Lorna at lornahendry.com.

This profile was written and researched by Ann Bolch from A Story To Tell.