Posts Tagged: featured

Thinking about the Legacies of Colonialism in Publishing

Wet'suwet'en Strong march, Jan 11, 2020

In the vast European colonial project, from the 15th century onwards, three institutions – church, school, and book – formed the non-military means by which European empires and cultures established social and economic dominance over practically every continent on earth. Publishing has been central to this; the rise of print culture in Europe coincides neatly with the rise of imperialism and colonialism.

In 19th-century Canada, this played out as part of a nation-building project: an effort to secure an enormous resource base, which involved explicitly racist efforts to centrally control both the First Nations and the waves of diverse immigrant populations that already had and continued to move into North America – while at the same time working to resist American “manifest destiny.” Colonial and later national governments in Canada promoted a curriculum and a school system designed to assimilate and normalize British culture across a diverse and dynamic population. That the earliest publishers in Canada were the same people that designed the Residential School system is not coincidental; these were parts of the larger nation-building project.

It began with religious, government, and educational publishing, but in the 20th century, as “colonialism” ceased to be an orienting term in public life, the project was articulated more in terms of class and social mobility. Books and literature had long been the markers of class distinction and indeed self-improvement for the middle classes. The ways in which trade and mass-market publishing shaped up in the 20th century reinforced notions of what it meant to be cultured, educated, well-read.

The idea of a best-selling book – the book that everyone reads – comes out of the colonial paradigm: gathering and sustaining mass audiences around a small number of texts in heavy circulation. The “economy of scale” in mass production means that the more copies of a book that can be printed and sold, the greater the profit. So, while publishing has often prided itself on plurality and freedom, the economic logic of the best-sellers can’t help but to reinforce cultural hierarchy: the big book, by the star author, that everyone reads, succeeds both in making money and in generating cultural capital for the author, the publisher, and the ideas — this is the force behind all the “cultural industries.” 

But that means that exclusion is part of the mix; it’s a constitutional part of how cultural markets work. It doesn’t have to be exclusion by design or intent, but exclusion is a result of choosing what to include, and what to take a risk on. If as a publisher I decide that a particular thing is worth publishing, that means I am also deciding that something else isn’t. As we elevate certain things to the status of cool or desirable or important, we are making a distinction in favour of those things and against other things. We can call this “curation,” but the other side of it is “gatekeeping.”

So, if by its very nature publishing is trading in distinction, then it always risks participating in and trading on the forms of oppression that are shot through the social order of the day. Our social order is pre-conditioned by racism, by class structures (or the legacy of class structures, if you want to deny that class still exists), by gender normativity, and by the persistent capitalist mass-market reification of all sorts of “norms” – all of which serve to guide a publisher’s ideas of where a profitable market is likely to be. And here is where the systemic, hidden racisms are most dangerous: in the unspoken, unexamined assumptions about what and who is important, and where so-called “colour-blindness” is such a liability, because it leads back to an unexamined white normativity.

The result is a nasty feedback loop, as in the incredibly oft-reported claim that “people [who aren’t white] don’t read,” which then discourages publishers (who are mostly white) from taking risks on any books that don’t assume the usual white audience. Which means those books don’t get published, and by extension, that readers of colour remain invisible (while invisibly reading those same white books). A recent piece in The New York Times, “A Conflicted Cultural Force: What it’s Like to Be Black in Publishing” provides a stark illustration of this pattern. 

There isn’t a straightforward way out of this loop. Five years of Lee & Low’s Diversity Survey tell the publishing industry over and over again that it is shockingly homogeneous, and publishers claim to have heard the call. But It’s hard to get out of the rut because a good deal of economic energy is devoted to staying in the rut. And because this is such a ‘constitutional’ problem to the publishing industry, it’s not easily solved via any means already sitting on the desk of industry insiders. 

Rather, it is going to take a lot of different actions and agendas working in concert. Yes, publishers can make more informed and proactive decisions, both about acquiring books and about hiring staff. Affirmative action-style plans help because they directly address patterns of marginalization; this is necessary but not sufficient. There also needs to be a diversity of publishing organizations themselves: Indigenous publishers; Black publishers; LGBTQ+ publishers – and booksellers too. And the cultures of literature and reading themselves have to change – the recent calls for white readers to go find and read books written by people of colour are important because this addresses that invisibility and also helps to broaden the discourse across formerly distinct reading audiences.

The late Greg Younging – Publisher at Theytus Books, Professor at UBC Okanagan, and tireless advocate for Indigenous publishing – made me believe that a decolonized kind of publishing was possible; that it was possible to escape these colonial legacies and the logics that perpetuate them. His optimism — and his dogged work on this — inspired many of us. The surge of activism and awareness around racial justice in 2020 also inspires me. This defines the work to be done right now — by everyone in publishing, but especially those of us in publishing education — to bust open these old assumptions and hide-bound ways of thinking about publishing, and markets, and culture. We need to understand these legacies and how they shape us, and we need to tell ourselves new stories about what writing and publishing mean in today’s world, about who it’s for, and why.  


30 Days of Art & Design

What’s 30 Days of Art & Design?

To get better at something, one needs practice. I asked students to create an artifact every day for the duration of the Design Awareness in Publishing Process and Products. This course is all about challenging the students’ creative thinking and design practices (like wrestling with some of the dilemmas designers face and talking about our professional, social, and ethical responsibilities).  

I did mean every day (well, kind of). Some days off or cheat days were okay (let’s be realistic). To make it easier to keep up the practice, students could spend as little as 5 minutes a day. And to keep everyone accountable to this daily practice (to avoid doing 30 mini art projects in one day), every student had to share their work with their classmates or make it public. 

It could be messy, weird, and silly.

The goal of this project is not to create something pretty, amazing or flawless. Instead, it’s all about getting better at a creative practice and trying to push one’s creativity. It could be messy, weird, and silly. And I asked students to avoid selecting something they were already good at doing to explore something new. 

Students projects

The first task was to submit a creative brief, including what they wanted to learn and the scope of their project. Most students limited themselves to a medium (like calligraphy, photography, tea leaves, software, etc.), a subject matter (monsters, drop caps, logos, lyrics, etc.), and a time frame (ranging from 5 to 90 minutes). Second, was carving time out of every day for their daily creative practice. Third, was to submit a reflection on the process, discussing the evolution of their work. It was amazing how every student ended up with very different projects. Some explored particular skills in a familiar design world, others learnt new software from scratch, while others focused on gaining an entirely new art practice. 

The instructor tries … ish

To support my students in this daily demand for work (it’s not easy), both our TA and I participated. My own goal was to learn a new application, focusing on drawing things from my garden in 30 minutes. Thinking back on my process and progress, the results of my daily illustrations were mixed.  

I really liked focusing on one subject (my favourites being the slug and snail) and trying various methods to illustrate it. Since I was interested in learning a new tool and what it could offer, the drawings were very different from one another (I was using different brushes and blending tools). A few illustrations only took 5 minutes, while others took a couple of nights to complete. The time spent plus the tools selected dramatically impacted the level of detail in each post.

I go back and forth about which one I prefer or which one I would want to make “my” style. The more detailed illustrations felt satisfying and felt like “real” art. (Let’s not even get into what “real” art might mean!) But the looser (and quicker!) illustrations felt freeing and daring; a fantastic feeling! Strangely, the quick, fast, less perfect drawings were more challenging for me, not because they took more attempts to get the lines to work “perfectly,” but because they are rawer and made me feel more exposed.  

Daily accountability

Where all my students succeed, I failed terribly! I only did 15 of 30 posts! Many of us stopped posting for #blackouttuesday. Questioning what to post, if anything, was particularly important when, in class, we were talking about representation, cultural appropriation and decolonizing design practices. It felt important to talk about the impact our design artifacts have in our worlds. But without this project’s public accountability, I stopped my daily practice. Yet my students continued, some privately and some publicly, each at their own pace. Their thoughtfulness and their dedication humble me. So, I will keep doing this project, even though the class is done, and I’m submitting this assignment soooooo late. 

If you are interested to chat about daily creative practices fails, how to avoid using the computer to be more creative, or publication design, email me and check out the Master of Publishing program or the Undergraduate Minor in Print and Digital Publishing

Mauve Pagé is a Publication Design lecturer with Publishing @ SFU. She hopes to inspire students to find creative solutions through conceptual thinking, and get them excited about the unlimited potential to communicate ideas aesthetically.


What Are We Talking About When We Talk About ‘Care’?

By Hannah McGregor

There’s an awful lot of talk about care these days. I’m paying attention to it, because I’m a scholar who has worked quite a bit on care as both a feminist ethical framework and, frankly, a problem

In the broader field of normative ethics, an ethics of care is a feminist intervention that grapples generally speaking with the problem of the other and how we ought to treat them. There are different approaches to producing a normative ethics—an idea of how we ought to be towards one another—such as utilitarianism, which holds that we should make choices that benefit the greatest number of people. The feminist force of an ethics of care lies how it values the kinds of emotional labour and care work that build and sustain networks and that are often responsible for keeping the most vulnerable—those who might be tossed aside in a utilitarian model—alive. 

“Suddenly, everywhere, it seems like care trumps structure. Deadlines, grades, and rubrics have become laughable, their arbitrariness impossible to ignore.”

But care has also been the subject of much critique, particularly by Black and Indigenous scholars who have pointed out how feelings, especially feelings that cluster around the concepts of compassion, empathy, and care, can be used as justification for great violence. Care is often the name in which children are separated from parents, in which state power is extended into the lives and homes of BIPOC and disabled people, in which power decides whose lives matter. The capacity for empathy is the name in which white women extended the guiding hand of colonialism and imperialism that encoded white supremacy in churches and libraries and schools and hospitals. 

This is the context in which I find myself paying particular attention to how we’re talking about care right now. I keep thinking about Dr. Bonnie Henry, the provincial health officer here in B.C., crying at a press conference in early March. An act that, perhaps, in another time, might have been leveraged against her, a woman in a position of medical authority, was instead praised as a welcome sign of compassion and empathy. These are times, we all seem to agree, when we need a lot more compassion and empathy. These are times when knowledge and expertise, necessary though they may be, come accompanied by feeling. 

That’s as true in the university as it is in public health. In this moment of global and (unequally) shared crisis, the idea that intellectuals and experts need to model disinterestedness or unemotional objectivity is crumbling around us. Academics insisting on a business-as-usual adherence to traditional notions of rigour look more and more out of touch. In the spaces of the university, our classrooms and our conferences and our associations, calls for care are being sounded everywhere. Those of us who teach at universities and colleges are suddenly, unavoidably being reminded of our students’ humanity and our own, in the context of institutions that are invested in us becoming a little less human so we can be a little more efficient. Where a utilitarian approach to the current crisis in post-secondary education might celebrate the efficiencies of digital pedagogy or the “free time” some academics seem to be finding right now, calls for an ethics of care emphasize the networks of connection that make our research and our teaching possible and encourage us all to nurture those networks, even if it’s at the expense of efficiency and utility.  

Suddenly, everywhere, it seems like care trumps structure. Deadlines, grades, and rubrics have become laughable, their arbitrariness impossible to ignore. And these transformations are not unique to the university. As the Canadian government implements wage subsidies that underline the need for a guaranteed basic incometelecommunication companies are suddenly waiving overage fees—all in the name of care. BC is finally opening pathways to a safe supply for drug users, seeming to recognize at last, as so many advocates have been arguing for so long, that drug users are part of our community, and that we cannot let some parts of our community suffer without all of us suffering. In the university, as in the world, we are perhaps realizing that our institutions, our systems, our rigour will not save us. We are being collectively called upon to reimagine these systems in terms of an ethics of care. 

But care as deployed by corporations or by the state in the interests of oppressive systems will not save us. We need to be suspicious when institutions claim to care, and when care is being used to maintain, rather than dismantle, fundamentally dehumanizing systems. As the many inequities and injustices in and beyond the university are being laid bare, care may be leveraged as a way to patch over them. What if we refuse this? What does it look like, as Christina Sharpe puts it, to “think (and rethink and rethink) care laterally, in the register of the intramural, in a different relation than that of the violence of the state”? What forms of care might we enact that are not economized by the state or the university or for-profit ed tech companies? 

Alongside calls for care and empathy, we need to be asking: what does this care look like, and where might it be, to quote Billy-Ray Belcourt, actually in service of the settler colonial state’s “economization of emotion”? We might also ask: who does the burden of care fall on, and how might a depoliticized call for empathy be invisibilizing the very real inequities this crisis lays bare, particularly the urgency of the many forms of underpaid, precarious, and often gendered and racialized front-line work, and care work, that has been declared urgent and essential? Is our care being leveraged to ensure that the university maintains its institutional and imaginative force in the midst of this crisis, rather than being exposed as a site of neoliberal profiteering?

This post was first published in Hook & Eye

Art (used with permission)

Dr. Lucia Lorenzi (B.A. Hons, Simon Fraser University; M.A. Simon Fraser University; PhD, The University of British Columbia) is a scholar, activist, and writer based out of Vancouver, B.C. Her current academic appointment is as SSHRC Postdoctoral Fellow in the Department of English and Cultural Studies at McMaster University, working under the supervision of Dr. Amber Dean. She specializes in trauma theory and Canadian literature and drama, with a broad focus on sexualized and gendered violence in literature and other media. Her dissertation project was a study of the literary and dramatic uses of silence as a subversive technique for representing sexual assault. Her current research focuses on representations of the figure of the perpetrator, with a specific emphasis on perpetrators’ own narratives. Lucia’s research has been published in West Coast LineTOPIA: Canadian Journal of Cultural Studies, and Canadian Literature. You can find her art on Instagram @empathywarrior


Publishing@SFU in Solidarity with Black Lives Matter

Black Lives Matter

We stand in solidarity with protesters who are resisting anti-Black police violence. Black Lives Matter. Here are some places to donate if you have the means (h/t to @canlesbrarian for gathering these): 

Bail Funds in US states: https://www.autostraddle.com/43-bail-funds-you-can-absolutely-support-right-now/

Black Lives Matter Vancouver: https://www.gofundme.com/f/blmvan

Black Lives Matter Toronto: https://blacklivesmatter.ca/donate/

Anti-Black violence is part of the ongoing crisis of white supremacy and settler colonialism. It is our responsibility to stand against anti-Indigenous violence and to recognize how these different forms of oppression are intertwined. 

We also recognize the ongoing crisis of anti-Black racism in Canadian publishing, and would like to highlight the urgent work being done by organizers, educators, and activists who are working hard to transform this industry. Follow the work of Breathing Space Creative @BSC_AuthorCare, @cicelybelle’s https://www.cicelyblainconsulting.com/, BIPOC of Publishing in Canada @BIPOCPub, People of Color in Publishing @PocPub, and Ebonye Gussine Wilkins (https://egwmedia.com/) to learn more. 

We also recognize that, as part of Canada’s publishing community and university system, we have a responsibility to address anti-Black racism in our own practices. We commit to:

  1. Undergo anti-bias training at a faculty level; 
  2. Continuously revisit our curriculum to ensure that we are centring the legacies of colonialism and racism in Canadian publishing as well as our own institution;
  3. Encourage BIPOC enrolment in our Master of Publishing program by reducing barriers to access, including targeted funding and the discouragement of unpaid internships; 
  4. Continuing to learn about our own complicity in anti-Blackness as well as settler colonialism by reading and listening. 

To better understand the history and present of anti-Black violence in Canada as well as the strength of Black art and storytelling, we recommend: 

Policing Black Lives by Robyn Maynard (@policingblack), published by @fernpub

The Skin We’re In by @DesmondCole, published by @PenguinRandomCA

How She Read by Chantal Gibson, published by @caitlinpress

The Gospel of Breaking by Jillian Christmas, published by @Arsenalpulp

The Black Prairie Archives: An Anthology by @karina_vernon, published by @wlupress 

I’ve Been Meaning to Tell You: A Letter to My Daughter by David Chariandy, published by @PenguinRandomCA

Brother by David Chariandy, published by @PenguinRandomCA

A Map to the Door of No Return by Dionne Brand, published by @PenguinRandomCa

Blank: Essays and Interviews by M. NourbeSe Philip, published by @bookhugpress 

The Hanging Of Angelique: The Untold Story of Canadian Slavery and the Burning of Old Montreal by @afuacooper, published by @HarperCollinsCa

The Outer Harbour by @WaydeCompton, published by @Arsenalpulp

George and Rue by George Elliott Clarke, published by @HarperCollinsCa

The Dyzgraphxst by @canisialu, published by @PenguinRandomCa

Dear Current Occupant by Chelene Knight (LWEstudio), published by @bookhugpress 

100 Days by Juliane Okot Bitek, published by @UAlbertaPress


Publishing School in the Pandemic: Making plans in uncertain times

Cherry blossoms in Vancouver, April 2020

Are we disrupted by the pandemic? Hell yes, we are all disrupted. But we remain committed to our students and our mission and to the well-being of our communities. As an academic institution, we are in a position to keep going, even if it means adjusting how we operate.

In mid-March, Simon Fraser University made the decision to suspend all in-class instruction. That meant we scrambled to pick up all of our existing courses — both graduate and undergraduate — and keep them going online. SFU is invested in the Canvas LMS, which provided a core infrastructure to rely on. And of course, we have expertise in online education, digital publishing, and web-based communications, so this didn’t prove too much of a hurdle for us technically. As with everything in this pandemic, many of the biggest adjustments are social.

For summer term at SFU, the official policy is to continue online instruction. So all our regular courses this summer will be offered digitally as well, and they are seeing healthy enrollments; students want to take courses and complete their degrees, and so we’re offering our summer undergraduate curriculum online.

What will all of this look like come September? No one can say exactly, though we’re hopeful that we’ll be able to be back in the classroom. British Columbia’s relative success at flattening the curve is one source of optimism. But it’s not the whole story; the dynamics of the pandemic could surprise us yet, and it’s possible that we’ll continue to deliver courses online during the fall semester. We are actively planning for that contingency.

A crucial issue for us is our international students. Many of our classes, and especially the Master of Publishing program, have lots of international students. So we also have to think about a scenario in which it is possible to be back in the classroom here in Vancouver, but where travel restrictions mean our international students can’t join us. Here, it’s might help to think about offering our fall courses in a “blended” mode, combining in-class and online interactions. That might allow our international colleagues to join us virtually at first, and in person when it becomes possible to do so.

Because it’s impossible right now to plan for any one situation, we’re instead planning for multiple scenarios and preparing to iterate and make changes as the situation in the world evolves. 

So plan we will, and we’ll keep you updated as things become clearer. Stay tuned!


Reno or Rebuild? Making change and forging connections in an evolving Canadian literary culture

Event Details

Wednesday, February 12, 2020
Room 1400 SFU Harbour Centre
Doors open at 6:30 pm
Event begins at 7:00 pm

This public event is part of the Emerging Leaders in Publishing Summit

Diversity panels and half-hearted efforts at inclusivity haven’t brought the change our industry needs. If Canadian publishing truly wants to excel and uplift, we have to ask some difficult questions about who we publish, what we publish, and how we publish—and we must ensure that both writers and the industry professionals working to publish them represent the change we seek.

Cherie will talk about the need for ‘diverse’ voices in decision-making roles in publishing. Sharing her own experiences and challenges she will examine how publishers can provide readers with what they want while giving them an opportunity to fall in love with what they don’t yet know they want.

Cherie’s talk will be followed by a conversation with CBC journalist, Angela Sterritt. 

About Cherie Dimaline

Cherie Dimaline‘s young adult novel The Marrow Thieves shot to the top of the bestseller lists when it was published in 2017, and stayed there for more than a year. It won the Governor General’s Literary Award, the Kirkus Prize in the young adult literature category, the Burt Award for First Nations, Métis and Inuit Literature, was a finalist for the Trillium Book Award and, among other honours, was a fan favourite in the 2018 edition of CBC’s Canada Reads. It was also a Book of Year on numerous lists including the National Public Radio, the School Library Journal, the New York Public Library, the Globe and Mail, Quill & Quire and the CBC. Cherie was named Emerging Artist of the Year at the Ontario Premier’s Awards for Excellence in the Arts in 2014, and became the first Indigenous writer in residence at the Toronto Public Library. From the Georgian Bay Métis Community in Ontario, she now lives in Vancouver. Her most recent novel for adults, Empire of Wild, published by Penguin Random House Canada in 2019, was named Indigo’s #1 Fiction Pick of the Year, and is forthcoming in April in the US through HarperCollins.

About Angela Sterritt

Angela Sterritt is an award-winning journalist, writer, artist and keynote speaker from British Columbia. In 2018, Sterritt won multiple awards for her CBC column, Reconcile This which explores the tensions between Indigenous people and institutions in British Columbia. Sterritt’s feature on missing and murdered Indigenous, women, girls and two-spirit people was nominated for a Canadian Association of Journalists Award. She is now writing a book on the topic.

Download Poster

Admission is free, but a reservation is recommended. Please email: pubworks@sfu.ca


Humour and Anger and Uncompromising Truths: A Conversation with Lindy West, Author of The Witches Are Coming, at the Vancouver Writers Festival

Hannah McGregor of Publishing @ SFU sat down for a conversation with acclaimed author Lindy West at the 2019 Vancouver Writers Festival, held at the Vogue Theatre on Dec 3, 2019. Publishing @ SFU sponsored this all ages event and handed out MPub (Master of Publishing) buttons, made by Publication Design lecturer, Mauve Pagé.

Photo credit: Dillon Byrne

Writer, comedian, and activist Lindy West is a contributing opinion writer for the New York Times and the author of the New York Times bestselling memoir Shrill: Notes from a Loud Woman (2016, Hachette Books) as well as the brand new essay collection The Witches Are Coming (2019, Hachette Books). In 2018 she wrote and executive produced Shrill as a half-hour comedy for Hulu, which just wrapped its second season.

West was interviewed on stage by SFU @ Publishing’s very own Assistant Professor, Hannah McGregor. McGregor’s research and teaching focuses on the histories and futures of print culture and new media in Canada, with a focus on Canadian middlebrow magazines, and podcasting as both self-publishing and public pedagogy. Read more about Hannah here.

Photo credit: Dillon Byrne

A big thank-you to Lindy West and everyone involved in this production for all the laughs, insightful commentary, and a chance to inspire the next generation of feminist thinkers and writers.

If you’re interested in getting a one-of-a-kind education in publishing, consider applying for the Master of Publishing Program at Simon Fraser University before February 1st.


Final Days until Application Deadline for 2020 Master of Publishing Program

The Master of Publishing (MPub) program is the only program in Canada to offer a postgraduate degree in publishing, and is the country’s premier training ground for publishing professionals.

The deadline to apply is Feb 1st, every year.

If this is your first time encountering the SFU Master of Publishing Program, you’ll want to watch these two videos, as they’ll give you a sense of what you can expect:

 

You’ll also want to read “12 Completely Made-Up Books Created by 2019’s Master of Publishing Students”

If you’re interested in reading about MPub alumni, here are some articles:

If you’re interested in getting to know the faculty, go to the faculty page. If you’re interested in getting to know their scholarship and work inside and outside SFU, here are some articles:

So, if you’re read to apply to the Master of Publishing Program at Simon Fraser University, remember to do so before February 1st!


EMERGING LEADERS IN PUBLISHING SUMMIT 2020 – Data: Writ Large and Small

MONDAY – FRIDAY, February 10-14, 2020
PUB 900
9:00 am-5:00 pm
Room 2270
Fee: $725 CDN (includes all course materials)
Max. 20 participants (in addition to 15 graduate students in publishing)

Whether it is informing print runs or underpinning marketing strategies, data has long played a role in publishing houses. Increasingly, data is becoming a key part of day-to-day operations. In the 2020 Emerging Leaders in Publishing Summit we will look at each step in the publishing process from the perspective of the information and statistics gathered through online activity and from publishing analytics services such as BookNet Canada.

As innovative technologies have evolved, publishing has become more global and interconnected , which means to stay competitive and to grow audiences of readers, Canadian publishers need to be agile and able to quickly navigate markets. Successfully capturing and exploiting data is a key part of this. Canada has been at the forefront of many International initiatives and has carved out space in leading companies worldwide.

This unique week featuring authors, publishers and academics, delves deep into the use of data writ large and small.

Last year we looked at how Canadian publishing professionals have helped build Canada’s place in media companies around the world. 

The year before that we looked at how the explosion of podcasts and increased production of audiobooks were impacting publishing practices including acquisitions. 

This year, panel discussions, lectures, and conversations will flow from the broader theme of Data: Writ Large and Small in the world of publishing, in Canada and Internationally. Each day opens with lectures led by top industry professionals followed by afternoon break out brainstorming sessions and one-on-one mentoring opportunities.

This immersive workshop will set the stage for future collaborations between industry and academic instructors and both credit students and industry participants.

FACULTY:

Elamin Abdelmahmoud is a news curation editor with BuzzFeed News, and writer of Incoming, the BuzzFeed News daily morning newsletter. He is also a co-host of Party Lines with CBC Podcasts, a columnist for CBC Radio and a frequent culture and politics commentator for CBC News. His work has appeared in the Globe and MailMaclean’s Magazine and Chatelaine. His debut collection of essays, Son of Elsewhere, will be available spring 2021.

Hilary Atleo is the co-owner of Iron Dog Books, metro Vancouver’s only bookshop on wheels and now an immobile storefront located in Hastings-Sunrise.  Hilary is Anishinaabe from Curve Lake, Ontario but now spends more time in her husband Cliff Atleo’s Nuu Chah Nulth territories on the west coast of Vancouver Island.  After working for several years at Russell Books in Victoria Hilary moved to Vancouver for her husband’s work and to pursue her dream of owning her own bookshop. Hilary’s business model is a direct response to Vancouver’s affordability crisis and her desire to keep books present in our communities – she believes books should be available and accessible and that bookshops are fundamentally place-making.

Carleigh Baker is an nêhiyaw âpihtawikosisân /Icelandic writer who lives ­­­as a guest on the unceded territories of the xʷməθkʷəy̓əm, Skwxwú7mesh, and səl̓ilwəta peoples. Her work has appeared in Best Canadian Essays, The Short Story Advent Calendar, and The Journey Prize Stories. She also writes reviews for the Globe and Mail and the Literary Review of Canada. Her debut story collection, Bad Endings (Anvil, 2017) won the City of Vancouver Book Award and was also a finalist for the Rogers Writers’ Trust Fiction Prize, the Emerging Indigenous Voices Award for fiction, and the BC Book Prize Bill Duthie Booksellers’ Choice Award. She is the 2019/20 writer in residence and a 2020 Shadbolt fellow in the humanities at Simon Fraser University.

Jared Bland is Publisher of McClelland & Stewart. He joined Penguin Random House Canada in 2016 from The Globe and Mail, Canada’s national newspaper, where he served first as Books Editor and then Arts Editor. His recent acquisitions include Margaret Atwood’s The Testaments, Deepa Anappara’s Djinn Patrol on the Purple Line, Jeff VanderMeer’s Dead Astronauts, Megha Majumdar’s A Burning, and Kawai Strong Washburn’s Sharks in the Time of Saviors. He edits many key M&S authors, including Marilynne Robinson, Tommy Orange, Colm Tóibín, Omar El Akkad, Dionne Brand, Ben Lerner, and the estate of Leonard Cohen.

Tanya Boteju is an English teacher and writer living on unceded territories of the Musqueam, Squamish, and Tsleil-Waututh First Nations (Vancouver, Canada). Her writing life has mostly consisted of teaching writing for the past eighteen years to teenagers, and she is continually inspired by the brilliant young people in her midst. Her novel, Kings, Queens, and In-Betweens, debuted in 2019 with Simon & Schuster and was named a Top 10 Children’s Book by the American Booksellers Association. Her next YA novel is slated for Spring 2021, also with Simon & Schuster. Tanya is grateful for her patient wife, supportive family and friends, committed educators, sassy students, and hot mugs of tea. She hopes to continue contributing to the ever-growing, positive representation of diverse characters in literature.

Jamie Broadhurst is the VP of Marketing for Raincoast Books, the Canadian distribution partner for some leading publishers from around the world. Broadhurst was educated at the University of Toronto and is an Adjunct and Visiting Professor for the Publishing Program at Simon Fraser University.

Simon Collinson is Senior Manager, Business Reporting at Rakuten Kobo, where he is responsible for analysis, presentation, and forecasting of the company’s performance and usage data. He also teaches ebook production at Ryerson University and is a digital producer at Tilted Axis Press, a nonprofit publisher of translated literature. Before moving to Canada in 2017, he freelanced as an ebook developer and worked at Canelo, a London-based ebook publisher, as a digital editor.

Cherie Dimaline‘s young adult novel The Marrow Thieves shot to the top of the bestseller lists when it was published in 2017, and stayed there for more than a year. It won the Governor General’s Literary Award, the Kirkus Prize in the young adult literature category, the Burt Award for First Nations, Métis and Inuit Literature, was a finalist for the Trillium Book Award and, among other honours, was a fan favourite in the 2018 edition of CBC’s Canada Reads. It was also a Book of Year on numerous lists including the National Public Radio, the School Library Journal, the New York Public Library, the Globe and Mail, Quill & Quire and the CBC. Cherie was named Emerging Artist of the Year at the Ontario Premier’s Awards for Excellence in the Arts in 2014, and became the first Indigenous writer in residence at the Toronto Public Library. From the Georgian Bay Métis Community in Ontario, she now lives in Vancouver. Her most recent novel for adults, Empire of Wild, was published by PRHC in Canada in 2019, was named as Indigo’s #1 Fiction Pick of the Year, and is forthcoming in April in the US through HarperCollins.

Noah Genner is CEO & President at BookNet Canada. Noah has an extensive background in independent bookselling, software and business development. As the leader of BookNet Canada he orchestrates a skilled team of technical, policy-oriented and client-focused staff to provide new data management services and supply-chain initiatives to the Canadian publishing and book retail sectors.

Kevin Hanson is President and Publisher, Simon & Schuster Canada. He is responsible for all of the sales, marketing, financial, and operations activities of Simon & Schuster Canada, the exclusive distributor in Canada of the book and audio products of both Simon & Schuster and Simon & Schuster U.K., as well as for Simon & Schuster’s roster of U.S. distribution clients. Kevin came to Simon & Schuster from HarperCollins Publishers of Canada, where he had held the position of Vice President, Sales and Marketing since 2002.  Prior to that, he had been Chief Operating Officer of Madison Press Books. Kevin has also served in executive sales and marketing positions at Penguin Books Canada Limited, Quantum Book Group, Macmillan Canada, and Key Porter Books. He is a 1985 graduate of the University of Alberta and he holds a Masters of Business Administration from the University of Toronto.  He is the current Chair of the Cultural Human Resources Council and was past Chair of the Canadian Publishers Council. Kevin is an adjunct professor at Simon Fraser University.

Robyn Harding is the USA Today and internationally bestselling author of The Arrangement, Her Pretty Face, and The Party, finalist for the Arthur Ellis Award for best crime novel in Canada. She has also written and executive produced an independent film. Her latest novel, The Swap will be out in late June.

Leslie Hurtig was born into a house of books and has made her career from various points within Canada’s book industry. She has worked for some of Canada’s best bookstores, acted as a sales representative and publicist for some of North America’s great publishers, and worked as a foreign rights and contracts manager at Raincoast Books. Leslie sat on the Board of Directors for the Vancouver Writers Fest before taking on this role as Artistic Director; a role which she says is her dream job come true.

Rania Husseini is Senior Vice President of Print at Indigo Books & Music. Rania creates and implements the vision, strategy and direction for the overall Print business within Indigo stores and online.  She is responsible for finding creative and innovative ways to grow and support overall brand objectives for the Print business and acts as an advocate for the customer by placing them at the forefront of all assortment and curation decisions. Rania has an extensive background in bookselling and most recently was the Vice President of Retail Customer Experience and Operations at Indigo Books & Music.

Daniel Kalla is the international bestselling author of We All Fall DownPandemicResistanceRage TherapyBlood LiesCold Plague, and Of Flesh and Blood. His newest novel, The Last High will be published in May 2020. His books have been translated into eleven languages, and two novels have been optioned for film. Kalla practises emergency medicine in Vancouver, British Columbia. Visit Daniel at DanielKalla.com or follow him on Twitter @DanielKalla.

Roanie Levy serves as CEO and President of Access Copyright, a collective that distributes millions of dollars annually in licensing royalties to creator and publisher affiliates. She also leads Prescient, Access Copyright’s creator-focused innovation lab, dedicated to exploring the future of rights management and content monetization through Blockchain and other technologies. Prior to joining Access Copyright, she held key positions on major policy files at Canadian Heritage and Industry Canada and served as a private sector management consultant for Fortune 500 companies. An Intellectual Property lawyer by vocation, Roanie has been called to the bar in Ontario and Quebec. She is fluently bilingual.

Kelly McKinnon is the co-owner of Kidsbooks. Kidsbooks is one of the largest Independent children’s booksellers in North America. 

Shannon Ozirny has worked in public libraries since 2007 and is currently the Head of Youth Services at the West Vancouver Memorial Library. She has taught a children’s materials course as an adjunct at the UBC iSchool, reviewed young adult books for The Globe and Mail and contributes regularly to Quill & Quire as a feature reviewer of picture books. She has served on the BC Book Prize, Canadian Children’s Book Centre Best Books and Odyssey award juries and moderates kidlit events for the Vancouver Writers Festival and Kidsbooks. In 2019 she branched out and read eight adult books; they weren’t bad.

Lindsay Paterson is the Publishing Manager of Appetite, based in Vancouver. She has been with Appetite since its inception in 2011, and has edited many of the imprint’s bestselling and award-winning titles, including Set for the Holidays with Anna OlsonOn Boards by Lisa Dawn Bolton, and Let Me Feed You and Butter Baked Goods by Rosie Daykin. Lindsay leads the imprint’s work with lifestyle brands, companies, and organizations, and is thrilled to be working with Mandy and Rebecca Wolfe and Meredith Erickson on Mandy’s Gourmet Salads, Chef Andrea Carlson on Burdock & Co, and Chef David Hawksworth on Hawksworth. Lindsay is also the Canadian editor for Older, but Better, but Older by Caroline de Maigret, and the forthcoming Interior Design Handbook by renowned Swedish interior desi

Judith Pereira joined The Globe and Mail in 2001 while doing her Masters in Publishing at Simon Fraser University. She has a Bachelor of Journalism from Carleton University. Aside from a stint working as a features editor for globeandmail.com, she has worked at Report on Business magazine first as a researcher/writer and eventually as their managing editor. She won one gold and three silver National Magazine Awards, plus several honourable mentions with the magazine. She started as the Globe’s books editor in January 2019.

Nita Pronovost joined Simon & Schuster Canada as Editorial Director in February 2015. Before that, she worked for six years as a senior editor at Penguin Random House Canada. Under the Doubleday Canada imprint, she acquired and edited a wide variety of fiction, nonfiction, and celebrity-driven titles, including eight #1 national bestsellers in three years. She was nominated for Canadian Booksellers’ Association’s Editor of the Year Award in 2013. Nita actively acquires women’s upmarket commercial novels, suspense/psychological thrillers, literary-commercial crossover, historical fiction, memoirs, and notable debuts.

Felicia Quon is Vice President Marketing & Publicity, Simon & Schuster Canada. She provides strategic leadership and vision in the development & execution of multi-tiered marketing campaigns for adult & children’s fiction and non-fiction titles for multiple channels. Her expertise is in building creative big picture projects with innovative digital marketing and social media components.

Angela Sterritt is an award-winning journalist, writer, artist and keynote speaker from British Columbia. In 2018, Sterritt won multiple awards for her CBC column, Reconcile This which explores the tensions between Indigenous people and institutions in British Columbia. Sterritt’s feature on missing and murdered Indigenous, women, girls and two-spirit people was nominated for a Canadian Association of Journalists Award. She is now writing a book on the topic.


Alumni Profile: Michael Despotovic, BC Book Marketer and Digital Marketing Data Analyst

Before I Was a Student of SFU’s Master of Publishing Program,

I was doing my undergraduate degree, also at Simon Fraser University. I majored in World Literature and did a double-minor in Publishing as well as Interactive Arts & Technology. Originally, I thought I was going to be a fiction writer, but a funny encounter with local author, Douglas Coupland, made me rethink my plans. After a Vancouver Writers Fest event, I asked him if I should become a writer. His answer was a simple, and curt, “no”. When I stared blankly, he followed up by saying, “go live your life, do something else, become old…and then you can write.” While his advice may not have made sense to many others, it entirely made sense to me.

And given that I had to do something after my undergraduate degree, you know, while I waited for a story (or stories) to find me in life, I reasoned that helping writers get published would be just as meaningful as being published myself.

While I Was a Student of SFU’s Master of Publishing Program,

I thoroughly enjoyed every moment and every aspect of my education. I was in the 2013/2014 cohort and both the faculty and my colleagues were uniquely aware that the rise of social media, Web 2.0, and other new, digital technologies were going to have a lasting impact on the publishing industry. So, in addition to learning all the foundational—and by definition, “traditional”—components to book and magazine publishing, we were also schooled in things like online marketing, the emerging ebook market, and digital means of production and dissemination.

It was specifically because of my high aptitude for digital technologies that I was recommended for an internship with Penguin Random House Canada’s digital department, which would serve as my third, “professional placement” semester for the MPub program. I wasn’t “handed” the internship, by any means, as I still had to interview and otherwise qualify for the position. But it certainly helped that my then, soon-to-be-manager/mentor was an MPub alumna herself, and knew the benefits and expectations of this program.

Soon After I Was a Student of SFU’s Master of Publishing Program,

I either freelanced or worked for various local companies that were in the Canadian publishing landscape, such as ZG Communications, Page Two Strategies, and Clevers Media, before finding a special place at Caitlin Press, a general trade book published located on the Sunshine Coast. Although I worked remotely, from Vancouver, I often would visit headquarters for a week, perhaps every month or so. My role was to market, do publicity, and manage author events for approximately 20 new books a year, in addition to the backlist, which I proudly accomplished for three years. During this time, I also helped launch a new imprint dedicated solely to queer women’s voices, called Dagger Editions.

Each season, I experienced “favourite” moments, but perhaps the most notable one was when Caitlin Press published Gently to Nagasaki, the one-and-only memoir by Joy Kogawa, one of Canada’s most celebrated authors. It was an honour to serve such a powerful voice of peace and truth, and in the context of Douglas Coupland’s advice to me, I felt like I was part of the success of a truly great writer with an incredibly important story to tell.

Now, as an Alumnus of SFU’s Master of Publishing Program,

I have one foot in and one foot out of Canada’s publishing scene. Since moving on from Caitlin Press, I’ve started a marketing and analytics agency called Apples & Oranges. We help to grow small to medium size organizations that express culture, which includes publishers such as UBC Press and others like the Association of Book Publishers of BC. Our portfolio also includes businesses rooted in social value, such as end-of-life planning, diversity and inclusion training, and bicycles for those with mobility challenges.

Much of my career path is similar to the alumni and the faculty of SFU Publishing. I can never pass up an opportunity to give thanks to instructor Monique Sherrett, who runs Boxcar Marketing, for demonstrating the career path of someone who bridges traditional and digital modes of marketing in Canada’s publishing industry. Nowadays, I can call her my peer and am very fortunate to have her support in helping Apples & Oranges succeed. Thank you, Monique!

If you’re interested in getting the kind of education in publishing that allows for entrepreneurship, innovation, data-driven decision making, and elevating author success, consider applying for the Master of Publishing Program at Simon Fraser University before February 1st.


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