Renée Otmar was born and raised in Cape Town, South Africa.
She emigrated to Australia in 1986, working as a hairdresser in Melbourne before embarking on a new career.
Renée started editing manuscripts for publication in 1989, while working as an administrative assistant in La Trobe University's Centre for Gerontology Research and Education. Her editing career began in earnest when the University’s Printing and Publications Unit poached her to become its in-house editor and she moved to the main campus at Bundoora. Since then, Renée has amassed considerable experience in writing, editing and publishing—both in-house and freelance. In 2005, she took her first step towards independent publishing, with a novel by West Australian John Cregan.
Renée was awarded a Bachelor of Arts (politics and media studies, Swinburne) in 1990, the Graduate Diploma in Editing and Publishing (RMIT) in 1994 and the Master of Arts (Communications) (RMIT) in 2004. From the University of Melbourne she was awarded the Master of Public Health in 2009, the Graduate Certificate in Advanced Learning and Leadership in 2011 and a Doctor of Philosophy (PhD) in 2012.
Training and presentations
In partnership with Sally Woollett, Renée has designed and presented countless workshops and seminars, including to RMIT’s Graduate Diploma in Editing and Publishing students, training editors in basic business and marketing skills. She has designed training courses on using editorial style sheets, for online delivery. A confident public speaker, she has delivered numerous presentations to conferences, seminars, workshops and other professional development courses.
Renée joined the Society of Editors (Victoria) in 1992 and served on its committee for fourteen consecutive years, including three terms as president. In mid-2007 she was elected president for a fourth term. In 2000 Renée was awarded honorary life membership of the Society, which is now known as Editors Victoria. Renée was a foundation member of the Occasional Series on Australian Editors Working Group (2004–2006).
At the national level, Renée was a founding member of the Council of Australian Societies of Editors (CASE) in 1998, and took an active role in its progression towards becoming the national organisation for editors in 2005, the Institute of Professional Editors (IPEd). She has served as Lead Exam Assessor for the IPEd Accreditation exams since its inception in 2008.
For examples of Renée's work, click here.