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Amara Chimeka Is 2021 holden diversity fellow

By Sunday Aikulola
02 January 2022   |   1:31 am
Amara Chimeka, CEO of Purple Shelves Publishing Ltd, has been selected as one of the six applicants to receive the Holden Diversity Fellowship for 2021.


Amara Chimeka, CEO of Purple Shelves Publishing Ltd, has been selected as one of the six applicants to receive the Holden Diversity Fellowship for 2021.

The US-based organisers announced few days ago that the awardees were chosen on the strength of their impressive contributions and “commitment to advancing diversity in their workplaces and their published work.”

Consisting mostly females, five Americans and one Nigerian, each will receive up to $3,000 to apply to course tuition, conference fees, travel, or other costs related to their continuing career development and skill building.

The first African to receive the Holden Diversity Fellowship, Chimeka said it was almost unbelievable when she got the news and feels the opportunity would improve her editorial skills, which in turn, will percolate the local creative industry, where she has been a key player as the CEO/Founder of Purple Shelves Publishing Ltd for more than five years.

“The goal is to train and position Richard S. Holden fellows to be global leaders in the publishing ecosystem,” Chimeka said.

According to the lady, “the exposure and trainings will ensure that I am in tandem with and uphold global standard practices in all books that I get to edit going forward. Then, seeing that I could achieve this here in Nigeria would inspire other editors here to seek trainings and certifications. Better-edited books mean better reading experiences for consumers and validation for writers and their publishers. Eventually it is a win for everyone, directly or indirectly.”

Chimeka holds a B.A. and an M.A. from the universities of Benin and Lagos, respectively, and a Diplome D’etude En Langue Francais. She is a doctoral student at the University of Lagos and was once a recipient of the UNILAG School of Postgraduate Studies Graduate Fellowship Award.

She is a seasoned Copyeditor, Proofreader, Copywriter, and Publisher with trainings and certifications from the Chartered Institute of Editing and Proofreading (formerly known as SFEP) UK; Publishing Training Centre (BookHouse); and ACES: The Society for Editing, US.

Other 2021 Richard Holden fellows include: Emily Shi Lee of Honolulu, Hawaii; Seth McBride of Portland, Oregon; Sydney Jarrard of Hudson, New York; KaToya Ellis Fleming of Wilmington, North Carolina, and Juliet M. Beverly of Arlington, Virginia.

KaToya Ellis Fleming of Wilmington, North Carolina, serves as the editor of Lookout Books and as an assistant professor of publishing at the University of North Carolina-Wilmington. In her work at Lookout, and before that as a fellow at Oxford American magazine, KaToya has committed to presenting work by writers of colour, LGBTQ+ authors, and other often marginalised voices.

Sydney Jarrard of Hudson, New York, worked for eight years at the American Booksellers Association, rising to the position of content director. There, she led efforts to incorporate inclusive language in the organisation’s publications, on its website, and in social media.

Sydney, recently, left the association to establish a new business as a consultant in conscious editing. Emily Shi Lee of Honolulu, Hawaii. Emily, an editor and consultant, is multilingual in Mandarin, French, and Spanish in addition to English. Before establishing her business, she worked as a quality assurance specialist, English teacher, and language consultant.

Seth McBride of Portland, Oregon. Seth copyedits all content for print and manages the website for New Mobility magazine, a publication of the United Spinal Association. He has worked with colleagues to diversify the magazine’s coverage and its roster of freelancers.

“These six editors impressed us with their commitment to advancing diversity in their workplaces and in their published work, all in support of the audiences they serve,” said Henry Fuhrmann, president of the ACES Education Fund.

“Each has shown a passion for making a difference and promise for significant accomplishments in coming years.”

The Education Fund, in partnership with the Dow Jones News Fund, announced the Holden Fellowship as a pilot program in summer 2020. The objective is to promote diversity and inclusion by advancing early- and mid-career professionals in their work as editors and aspiring industry leaders. The fellowship recognises the work of the late Richard S. Holden, who championed diversity in the ranks of editors as the longtime managing director for the Dow Jones News Fund.

Fuhrmann oversaw this year’s competition for the Education Fund and served as a judge alongside Paula Fuchsberg, an editor at Vanguard and member of the Education Fund board; DeAndre Lipscomb, chief diversity and inclusion officer at Homepoint; and Jared Servantez, night city editor at the Los Angeles Times and a graduate of the Dow Jones News Fund’s summer editing programme.

Major funding for the Holden Diversity Fellowship has been provided by the ACES Education Fund, the Dow Jones News Fund, the Scripps Howard Foundation, and individuals who seek to perpetuate the ideals of Rich Holden.
“We’re grateful for the interest and enthusiasm of all of this year’s applicants, who have confirmed the demand for a fellowship of this kind and proved the concept in just the second year,” Fuhrmann said.

ACES will announce the opening of the 2022 application process early in the new year.