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Irma has worked as an editor for over two decades, both freelance and in-house. She was Convener of Editing at the University of Canberra for a decade, and currently freelances as a book editor for Australian publishers like Hardie Grant, Penguin Random House, Walker Books and a range of smaller independents, as well as for cultural institutions and individual writers.

Irma edits fiction (literary and contemporary), a wide range of nonfiction, anthologies, and children’s books (picture books, middle grade and YA), many of which have won prestigious awards.

Formerly editor of Muse, Canberra’s former monthly arts magazine, Irma also has an ongoing interest in the arts, and has worked for many arts organisations. She has edited books, magazines, catalogues, exhibition panels, blogs and websites for many cultural institutions, including the National Museum of Australia, National Library of Australia, National Gallery of Australia, Museum of Australian Democracy, National Archives of Australia, QUT Art Museum and William Robinson Gallery.

Irma also works with individual writers looking to prepare their manuscript for submission to traditional publishers, or indie writers looking to create a professional self-published book. As a published author of works for adults and children herself, Irma understands both sides of the editing and publishing process.

Irma is a professional member of the Canberra Society of Editors, and a member of the Australian Society of Authors, Children’s Book Council of Australia, Society of Book Writers and Illustrators, ACT Writers Centre and NSW Writers Centre.


Editing services: Structural editing, copy editing, proofreading.

Other services: Project management, workshops on writing and editing, manuscript assessment and development, mentorships (including once-off phone or Zoom calls to provide advice on any aspect of the writing and/or publishing process).

Examples of work

Fiction: The Deed by Susannah Begbie (winner, Richell Prize), Inkflower by Suzy Zail (shortlisted CBCA Book of the Year); The Hidden Girl by Louise Bassett; We Ate the Road Like Vultures by Lynnette Lounsbury; Taken In by Simon Bryant, Wisdom Tree by Nick Earls, a series of five novellas: Gotham, Venice, Vancouver, Juneau, Noho (winner of Independent Publisher Book (IPPY) Award and winner of the People’s Choice Award at the NSW Premier’s Literary Awards).

Middle grade: Strangers on Country by Kirsty Murray and Dave Hartley, illustrated by Dub Leffler (winner of the CBCA Awards); Amazing Grace by Stephanie Owen Reeder (winner of the NSW Premier’s Award); Midnight Burial by Pauline Deeves (winner of ACT Publishing Awards Children’s Book of the Year); The First Scientists by Corey Tutt, illustrated by Blak Douglas (winner of the CBCA Awards and the ABIA Book of the Year for Younger Children).

Picture books: Sorry Day by Coral Vass, illus Dub Leffler (winner of the CBCA Awards, winner of Best Book for Language and Literacy Development and winner of the Speech Pathology Australia Book of the Year Awards); Tea and Sugar Christmas by Jane Jolly, illus Robert Ingpen (winner of the CBCA Award and ABIA Children’s Book of the Year Award), The Flying Optometrist by Joanne Anderton, illus Karen Erasmus (Notable Book at the CBCA Awards and shortlisted for the Speech Pathology Australia Book of the Year Awards); The Imagineer by Christopher Cheng, illustrated by Lucia Masciullo (Notable Book at the CBCA Awards); Born to Run by Cathy Freeman, illus Charmaine Ledden-Lewis; Back to Sleep by Zoë Foster Blake, illus Mike Jacobsen.

Nonfiction: Australia’s Wild Weather by Mark Tredinnick; William Robinson: A New Perspective by Nick Earls (Highly Commended in the MAPDA Awards); How to Write and Talk to Selection Criteria (5th ed) by Ann Villiers (winner of the ACT Writing and Publishing Awards Nonfiction Book of the Year); Bold Types: How Australia’s First Women Journalists Blazed a Trail by Patricia Clarke; Tent Life by Doron Francis.

Anthologies: The Invisible Thread: One Hundred Years of Words (official publication of the National Year of Reading and the Centenary of Canberra, and winner of the Canberra Critics Circle Award for Literature); The Sound of Silence: Journeys Through Miscarriage (winner of the ACT Writing and Publishing Awards Nonfiction Book of the Year and winner of the Canberra Critics Circle Award for Literature); Impact: Short Stories that Pack a Punch, an anthology of short fiction in association with the 2019 Flash Fiction Festival.


Email Irma to discuss your editing project:

Useful links

Read Irma’s post on what each stage of the editing process involves, how to find a freelance editor who is a good fit for you, and how much you can expect to pay.

Read Irma’s post on the collaborative process of working with an editor. She shares why it’s important to be open, let go of your ego, pick your battles and always be professional. Plus how to get the best out of the author–editor relationship.

Read Irma’s post on ‘What I wished I knew before I was published’, after appearing on a HARDCOPY panel with Omar Musa, Lucy Neave and moderator Nigel Featherstone. From expectations around book sales to why your heart is published along with your book.

Listen to Irma interviewed on The First Time podcast about publishing first times. She talks to Kate Mildenhall about wearing the dual hats of editor and author, and much else besides. You can find show notes here.


Listen to Irma interviewed on The Happy Book podcast about editing children’s books. She talks to Tania McCartney about how to edit your own work, how to work with an editor in a publishing house, and thoughts on hiring a freelance editor. You can find show notes here.

Publisher testimonials

Irma’s editorial work is exceptional; especially notable is her work with fiction authors. As a result of her experience with all stages of the book-making process, she has an outstanding sense of a book as a whole, which results in very intelligent and sensitive structural editing. She is extremely respectful of the authorial voice, forming valuable and collaborative connections with authors. She is also an excellent project editor. Working with Irma is a joy!
Susan Hall, Publisher, National Library of Australia Publishing

Irma is a joy to work with. She is incredibly skilled at shaping manuscripts and authors always respond well to her helpful feedback.
Melissa Kayser, Publisher, Hardie Grant

Gold is the perfect word for Irma. Her editorial insights are precious, her style is nothing but grace, her work with authors generous. She is wise, and thoughtful support to the publishers with whom she works, a meticulous copy editor, invaluable structural editor, and her ability to bring a project in on deadline commands my deepest respect.
Donna Ward, Publisher, Inkerman & Blunt

Author testimonials

Irma Gold is meticulous and thoughtful, and the kind of editor I’d be happy to work with again and again.
Nick Earls

What a gifted editor Irma is – insightful, clever, tactful, imaginative, and highly efficient. All our communications were swift and clear, and I can truly say every suggestion and nuance she introduced improved and enriched my original manuscript. A total pleasure to work with her.
Ursula Dubosarsky

Irma did amazing work on my manuscript. It was a difficult one to edit and she managed it with great skill and gentle persuasion, making the process painless and turning my novel into something I am incredibly proud of. Irma is a writer herself, and I think this makes her an incredible editor because not only does she know good writing, but she understands an author’s connection to their work.
Lynnette Lounsbury

Irma Gold certainly lives up to her name as she is a precious gem. When Irma first read my manuscript I knew that we’d work well together because I’d been able to make her laugh. With gentle proddings and suggestions, she was able to weed out the weeds and fertilise the rest until we ended up with a piece that I am incredibly proud of. So thank you, Irma – Gold by name gold by nature.
Jackie Hosking

Irma is undeniably gifted at crafting beautiful, polished prose and equally knowledgeable in the fundamentals of elegant syntax. She is honest, too, taking your work from good to great by addressing all that lumbers and lades it. And Irma is nice. Approachable. Patient. Diligent. The kind of editor all writers need and hope for. When we’ve done all we can to see our labours of love to perfection, she actually gets it there!
Choechoe Brereton

Irma is an approachable and highly professional editor. We worked together on an extremely complicated manuscript, Strangers on Country, which I co-authored with Dave Hartley. Irma’s meticulous attention to detail and her eagle-eye for consistency made the proofs of this book the cleanest and easiest to finesse of any book I’ve ever worked on.
Kirsty Murray

I have worked with Irma Gold on several children’s books, and each experience has been a joy. Because Irma understands the entire book creation process, her input is detailed, intelligent and considered, yet holistic, warm and intuitive. For me, an editor should be collaborative—I need to feel genuine care for my work, and Irma’s investment is palpable. She is skilled at both gentle nudging and rigorous pruning, at raising major structural shifts as well as the merest sniff of nuance. On top of that, her understanding of visual narrative is akin to that of any accomplished visual artist. Irma is deeply respectful of author voice and intent, and my books have flourished under her care.
Tania McCartney

Working with Irma was an incredible experience. When I started out on my journey writing my first ever book, I needed a bit of help. How do I take what’s in my head and make it applicable to children? Irma was passionate about my book and helped me achieve my dream of creating The First Scientists for Hardie Grant.
Corey Tutt

I have loved working with Irma on two of my novels. Her commitment to maintaining the integrity of the work and her patience with me when things went wrong was so reassuring. I have really appreciated it and hope we can work together again. 
Elaine Forrestal

I feel so fortunate to have had Irma as my editor, advisor and champion. From suggesting I add a new opening chapter to gently encouraging me to shed scenes, Irma’s insights and advice made my novel, Inkflower, a deeper, more considered and powerful story. I enjoyed the process so much that I’ve bagged her for my next book!
Suzy Zail

Irma Gold has edited four of my books — one a children’s picture book and the others middle grade creative nonfiction titles. I have found her editorial style professional, insightful, comprehensive and invaluable. She is also a pleasure to work with — approachable, helpful and supportive. Irma’s combination of writing and editing skills makes her one of the best editors I have worked with. 
Dr Stephanie Owen Reeder

Irma Gold is an editor with whom I felt privileged to work on my middle grade historical novel. She’s got all the moves. She knows, as a writer herself, that an author has to own his/her work, and her tactful pinpointing of trouble spots is followed by giving writers time to find solutions that work for them. She’s always right about what is a trouble spot as well. When rewriting had lengthened my story, necessitating a reduction in word count, Irma knew I wouldn’t have the detachment to make swinging cuts, so she did this for me — with results I could only applaud, even though one of my favourite scenes went under the knife. If she can make me like that, she can do anything!
Juliet Blair

Irma is meticulous and highly professional. She gave me honest feedback and also listened to and considered my views. It was such a relief to work with someone so dedicated to making my novel shine, after working on it on my own for so long. As a debut author, I found Irma reassuring and supportive, helping me to navigate an unfamiliar process and giving me great feedback along the way. This support has continued even after we finished working together, which has been a lovely surprise.
Louise Bassett

I feel very lucky to have had Irma Gold edit my manuscript. As a first-time children’s author, I benefited immensely from her knowledge and experience. She was very thorough and professional, but also generous and encouraging. I learned a lot from her, and I know that my book is much stronger thanks to her. I hope I have the opportunity to work with her again.
Joanne Anderton

I worked with Irma when she edited my novels, Taken In and Death in Black and White. Her contribution to improving and polishing my work was immense, from her suggestions on structural issues, to advice on character and plot development, then right through to the minutiae of language, grammar and punctuation.

Irma brings a sharp critical eye and an absolutely thorough approach to her work. And, most importantly, she has the ability to communicate her suggestions in a positive, constructive way. She made it clear to me at the start of the process that she believed in my novel, and that it was my prerogative to reject her proposed changes if I so wished. But her suggestions were always so clearly and persuasively argued, that I had no difficulty in accepting that they would improve the final outcome, and hence found myself almost always agreeing to them. 

Irma was thoroughly professional at all times. In my view, she is everything an editor should be.
Simon Bryant