Staff Profiles

Katya Johanson


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The most exciting aspect of working in educational publishing was working closely with very intelligent and creative authors.

Katya has come from educational and scholarly publishing, and she can't really imagine how she'd have the opportunity to work with people like that so closely in any other capacity. For Katya, the attraction of educational publishing lies in the making and producing, in being invited to provide creative solutions to writers' problems.

If I had been born a couple of hundred years earlier I think I would have done some kind of craft,‘ she says in response to the stimulus of seeing that complete product, and being a part of the process which makes it smoother, neater and more complete. Katya loves the challenge of editing: finding ways to tweak a particularly cumbersome sentence or chapter that initially seemed impossible to untangle. Then of course there's the joy of finishing something: editing allows you to put the pen down at the end and say ’there, that's done!‘ in a way that many contemporary jobs don't.

The trouble with an editor is that when writing they can self-edit fairly obsessively, and Katya is aware that she needs to stop that self-editing process in order to get a complete draft written. Her favourite time to write is in the morning. ’When I have to produce something big I like to wake up at 6.00, start at 6.30 and knock off at midday with a satisfied feeling, for lunch and a swim.

Her PhD was focused on the Australia Council for the Arts. As Katya says, ’I stumbled on the fact that many of the Australian thinkers and idealists I knew of had been heavily involved in inspiring or leading the Council (Nugget Coombs, Lloyd Ross, Peter Karmel, Geoffrey Blainey, Philip Adams, Rodney Hall and Hilary McPhee, for example), and I wanted to explore their ideas about art and Australia.

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