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Editor Profile: Nicola van Rhyn

by | Jun 1, 2018 | Higher Education

If you’re interested in the publishing industry or simply want to have a closer look at Oxford University Press South Africa – look no further than our recurring Editorial Profile feature.

Editorial Profiles are brief Q & A sessions with our Editorial team which aim to give insight into the mechanics of the Publishing industry, shed light on what it takes to be part of the Editorial team for Oxford University Press South Africa, and give expert advice to anybody interested in joining the world of Higher Education publishing in South Africa

Nicola van Rhyn


Q: How did you find yourself following a career in publishing?
I had been studying English and Literary Theory at Unisa and spotted the ad. I had not made a definite decision about my career direction so was open to opportunities.

Q: Describe your work day. What does your job entail?
Days differ but generally start with checking emails to see progress on the projects in production. Any urgent issues are dealt with as soon as possible. I have a list of priorities for the day. The day has everything from permission queries to paying freelancers to checking page proofs.

Q: What key traits do you think make a great editor?
Patience, ability to adapt, and solve problems. It also helps to have a curious mind and people skills.

Q: What is the biggest challenge you face when completing your daily tasks?
Getting through a ‘To do’ list that often changes.

Q: What part of your job do you enjoy the most?
Knowing that you help to produce something tangible that could make a difference in the lives of students.

Q: What advice would give to someone considering a career in Publishing?
Forget romanticised Bridget Jones scenes and be prepared for a variety of tasks, personalities and situations.

Q: What additional support does an editor offer their author, and why is this important?
Offer solutions to avoid expensive copyright fees, alternatives to the structure of the work and the wording in order to meet market needs. It’s also important to build business relationships with those outside of Oxford University Press South Africa.

Q: What would you say is the most rewarding part of the editorial process?
To see things unfold from manuscript to printed book.

Q: On a personal note, what is your favourite book and why?
Wuthering Heights by Emily Brontë. It’s a story of love that is denied and there is magnificent setting of the Yorkshire moors. It’s emotionally intense and there are ghosts’ too so it has all the ingredients of a gothic tale.

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