Our team

emwords: Who are we?

emwords is this website. The business is emma – short for Elizabeth Manning Murphy & Associates.

emma is a notional group of editors, writers, trainers, mentors and business consultants who are based in Canberra, Australia, but work around the world in various capacities. We come together as required for specific emma projects. The team is headed by the Principal, Elizabeth Manning Murphy. Here is a bit about her:

Elizabeth Manning Murphy, BA Hons (ANU-Linguistics), FCES, FSBT(UK,) AFIML, IPEd Distinguished Editor

My academic background is in linguistics and psychology with training as a teacher in commercial education as well. The appointment of Distinguished Editor (DE) was made by the Institute of Professional Editors (IPEd), Australia in 2008. I am a professional member of both Canberra Society of Editors and IPEd. I am an Honorary Life Member of both Canberra Society of Editors and of IPEd, a committee member and former President of Canberra Society of Editors, and a Councillor and former President of the Commercial Education Society of Australia.

‘I am an active professional member of editing, writing and management associations in Australia and internationally. I have written books about English grammar, effective writing and business. Two of my recent books (Working words and Effective writing – 2 edn) are highlighted on the Books page – click here.

‘My current work includes editing academic theses and journal articles, often for non-native speakers of English; editing technical journals and newsletters; mentoring and tutoring editors and others around Australia and overseas (including helping prospective teachers of English as a second language (ESL) to study for their qualifications); training in basic English grammar (see Grammar in a nutshell) for editors, writers, indexers and students of English internationally; and writing books and booklets on aspects of the editing profession. I am currently offering a study plan for anyone thinking of sitting for any exam including the IPEd Accreditation Exam. Read more here.’ 

Contact Elizabeth


A major strength of emma is our ability to call on colleagues to be team members to help with specific projects. Associates are highly qualified and experienced in their fields and are able to add considerable value to the projects on which they work. One such Associate, Dr Jon Rosalky, is highlighted here. Jon has a background in science and languages, and his expertise includes editing, particularly of academic and workplace material, training in aspects of effective writing, particularly English grammar, and IT. He is a professional member of the Canberra Society of Editors and the Institute of Professional Editors (IPEd). He has been a co-presenter of the emma workshop Grammar in a nutshell in various formats, and has participated in a special program designed to prepare candidates for qualifications to teach English as a second language.

Here is his story:


Jon Rosalky, PhD GradDipEcon

‘I have been involved with writing scientific and technical papers and documentation for over 40 years. My writing has included scientific theses, research papers and technical documents. In addition I have very considerable experience in general administrative writing in the form of briefing papers, tenders and publicity material. I have been a devotee of plain English since the late 1960s, when I was introduced to Sir Ernest Gowers’ seminal work on the topic.

‘I became well known at several workplaces for my logical, clear writing and was frequently sought by work colleagues for help in writing a variety of documents, particularly in the area of information technology.  I am a professional member of the Canberra Society of Editors and of the Institute of Professional Editors (IPEd) and have worked with Elizabeth Murphy on editing of various doctoral theses.

‘I have expert knowledge of English grammar and spelling as well as considerable knowledge of a number of other languages. I am well versed in the preparation of logical text that is comprehensive, unambiguous and easy to read, and I am experienced in providing tuition in effective writing to academic and other clients.

‘I have considerable experience in providing one-on-one tuition both to non-native English speakers who want to improve their accent and their knowledge of English grammar and to native speakers seeking to become proficient in grammar. Drawing on my knowledge of a number of foreign languages, I am able to provide students with comparisons of how different languages approach certain issues of grammar in different ways, which helps students gain a deeper understanding of English grammar.’

Contact Jon


Another colleague who has recently joined the team of Associates is Dr Justine McNamara. We welcome her for her organisational skills that can help others with study planning. Together we are developing a plan that we hope will help any editors thinking of taking the IPEd Accreditation Exam or anyone just applying the same disciplines to studying for anything at all. 

Here is an introduction to Justine:


Justine McNamara, PhD, Graduate Certificate in Professional Writing (Editing), IPEd Accredited Editor

Justine is a freelance editor specialising in academic editing. She has her own business, Next Version Editing, and is a professional member of the Canberra Society of Editors and the Institute of Professional Editors.

She has published numerous articles in academic journals and a wide range of reports and papers for a variety of audiences. She brings this experience to her editing work.  She also enjoys copyediting non-academic writing, including newsletters and corporate publications.


Justine’s experience also includes helping to organise a study group to prepare for the 2018 IPEd Accreditation Exam. We welcome Justine to the team to help inform the emma study plan for anyone who wants to develop their study skills.

Contact Justine


Other Associates include:

Helen Topor, BA Hons DipEd (UNSW) MEd (Syd Univ)


Helen is a writer and editor who runs her own business: TopWords. She is a member of the Canberra Society of Editors and the Independent Scholars Association of Australia. Helen specialises in academic editing, natural and social history, web content, fiction and non-fiction, and mentoring editors and authors. Her national and international clients value her thoroughness, professional expertise and sound editorial advice.


Contact Helen


Damaris Wilson, BA Hons (ANU-English literature and Linguistics)

‘I have worked as an editor since 1980, initially in Defence, when I worked on the Defence Force Journal, Air Force publications and classified Intelligence reports. I have edited issues of the Lu Rees journal (the Lu Rees Archives are now known as the National Centre for Australian Children’s Literature at the University of Canberra). For four years I owned and ran a secondhand bookshop before being invited to re-enter the public service, where in recent years I have been employed editing in-house forensic papers and a newsletter. I am a member of the Canberra Society of Editors.

‘I have edited autobiographies, a memoir for an eminent artist in the Canberra region, and theses in various disciplines. As an advocate for plain language – particularly for the public service – I regularly attend editing and plain language conferences overseas. Authors of creative work appreciate my attention to their authorial voice, retaining their style while offering rather than imposing advice.

‘My university studies were focused on the development of the English language, and story. Linguistics, Norse language and myths, Middle English and Chaucer through to Dickens and the 20th century, plus regular European travel, have informed my enthusiasm and inspired my continuing engagement with the written word.’

Contact Damaris