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, JP, BA Hons (ANU-Linguistics), FCES, FSBT(UK,) AFIML, DE (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 Canberra Society of Editors, IPEd and the Society for Editors and Proofreaders (SfEP, UK). I am an Honorary Life Member of both Canberra Society of Editors and 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 – Effective writing (2 edn) and the brand new complete revision of Working words – 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 have extensive experience in the writing of workplace manuals and guides for writers, including an early guide to business letter writing, The better letter, for Qantas staff worldwide, the Defence writing manual, and shorter guides for several Australian government agencies. I am a joint national coordinator of the IPEd National Mentoring Program and I am currently offering a study plan for anyone thinking of sitting for any exam including the IPEd Accreditation Exam. Read more here.’ Click here to 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.’ Click here to 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),AE (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. Click here to contact Justine.


Another newcomer we welcome to the emma team is long-time Canberra journalist and editor, Ross Peake. He is an accredited editor and has recent experience as managing editor of the ANU Reporter. He has participated in emma study programs, including Grammar in a nutshell. Here are some brief details about Ross:


Ross Peake BA (University of Queensland), AE (IPEd Accredited Editor)


Ross Peake has experience as a managing editor at the Australian National University and many years of experience as a journalist at Fairfax Media and News Corp. He is an Accredited Editor with the Institute of Professional Editors and has a Bachelor of Arts, including journalism studies, from the University of Queensland. He is a professional member of the Canberra Society of Editors. Click here to contact Ross.




Other Associates include:

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

‘I am the Principal of TopWords, a freelance provider of writing and editing services, and a professional member of the Canberra Society of Editors and the Independent Scholars Association of Australia. I subscribe to several style manuals including the Australian manual of scientific style. I bring a passion for clear, concise, effective communication and cross-cultural sensitivity to my writing and editing endeavours.

‘My editing experience ranges from academic theses, corporate communication, social sciences research reports to natural, science and social history books and reports, web content, fiction and non-fiction. Abridging content and rewriting material in plain English is a speciality.

‘At CIT I developed and delivered a number of face-to-face and e-learning modules centred on business communication, effective writing and presentation skills, and writing user documentation. I also developed and delivered the three Editing modules of the Associate Diploma of Communication. I project managed e-content development for Certificate IV in Systems Analysis and Design Toolbox.

‘I have provided a variety of on-the-job effective writing and editing skills training courses at PSA House, AFP College, ATO and ACT SES.

‘Among the books and user guides I have edited are NGOs and Political Change – A history of ACFID; Shell Questacon Science Circus: a history; AFP Intelligence Doctrine; National Archives of Australia Recordkeeping System (rks) User Guide.

‘As part of a team coordinated by Elizabeth Murphy (emma), I wrote the training chapter of the Defence Writing Manual.

‘My national and international clients value my thoroughness, professional expertise and sound editorial advice and practice.’ Click here to 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 professional 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.’ Click here to contact Damaris.

(Photographs on this page all supplied by the subjects themselves.)