Navigating the currents of writing, editing and self-publishing a memoir


Our February general meeting will feature Helen Topor in candid conversation with CSE colleague and Mentoring Coordinator Kaaren Sutcliffe. They will discuss the challenges and benefits of writing, editing and self-publishing her memoir Neither King Nor Saint.

You can attend either in person or via a Zoom webinar. Please register on this Trybooking page if you wish to attend in person.

Date: Wednesday 22 February 2023
Time: 5.45 pm (on site), 6.30 pm (webinar)
Further details below.

(For details of upcoming meetings, scroll to the bottom of the page.)

About the presentation

In this dynamic Q&A, Helen Topor will share her decision to write Neither King Nor Saint, a memoir focused on her father and her relationship with him, and some of the discoveries she made during the process.

Writing a memoir is a courageous and challenging task—and can uncover unexpected facts, people and emotions. Sometimes, for instance, writers find they have written or edited something much larger than themselves—and early feedback on Helen’s memoir shows that she has elegantly and expertly captured a rich and layered insight into the life and trauma associated with displaced persons arriving in Australia during the 1950s and 1960s, and the legacy inherited by their families.

Helen will also talk about balancing her trained editorial eye with authorial control of powerful emotions evoked by memory and research, and the choices she made about publication and marketing options.

Memoir is one of the best-selling genres in our time, and books such as Helen’s show us why. For anyone wanting to write or edit memoir, this is an opportunity to delve deep into key aspects of the genre.

About Helen

Helen Topor is a Canberra-based author, freelance editor, mentor and Voluntary Guide at the National Gallery of Australia. Her publications include Outdoor Games for Today’s Kids (2017), Discovering Vermeer: A Passionate Quest (2018) and Neither King Nor Saint (2022). She is currently writing a historical novel.

Helen has also presented conference papers on comparative education, multicultural education, training opportunities in editing, the interiority of Johannes Vermeer’s female subjects, and on weaving a non-celebratory migrant narrative. She has contributed articles to The Canberra Editor and the National Gallery of Australia’s News and Views.

Helen is a longstanding member of the Canberra Society of Editors, the Independent Scholars Association of Australia, the Australian Society of Authors, the ACT Writers Centre (MARION), the Canberra Writers Group and the Alliance of Independent Authors.

To attend in person

Please register on this Trybooking page if you wish to attend in person.


The Durie Room
St Mark’s National Theological Centre
15 Blackall St (not Blackall Place)
See MAP.


The room opens at 5:45 pm. The presentation begins at 6:30 pm.

Need to cancel?

Return your ticket directly into the TryBooking system to make it available for someone else.


Depending on demand, we may organise a dinner at a nearby restaurant for the presenter and CSE members after the meeting. If you’d like to join us, please email by 3pm on Wednesday 22 February, so that we can finalise bookings.

To attend the webinar (via Zoom)

Use this Zoom webinar link
Passcode: 020245

Details for joining in a web browser:

Go to
Webinar ID: 810 9932 2050
Passcode: 164669

Details for dialling by phone:

Dial the number for your area: Australia: +61 2 8015 6011 (ACT.NSW) or +61 3 7018 2005 (Vic/Tas) or +61 7 3185 3730 (Qld) or +61 8 6119 3900 (WA)
Follow the prompts to enter:
Webinar ID: 810 9932 2050
Passcode: 164669

The webinar audience can use Zoom’s Q&A functionality to ask questions or offer opinions. (You will not be able to see the presentation or participate in the Q&A if you attend by phone call.)

The webinar will not be recorded.

Other General Meetings this year

29 March

Pamela Hewitt

Editing digital texts

26 April

David Whitbread

A presentation about the third edition of the Design Manual, which is due to be launched in March,

31 May

Hugh McKay

Truth in fiction and non-fiction

28 June

Stephanie Owen Reader

Stephanie is both a well-published author of children’s literature and an editor. (Topic to follow.)

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