Posts Tagged: featured

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.

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Admission is free, but a reservation is recommended. Please email:

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!


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.


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 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, 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.

Three Questions My Audience Asked at My Talk on Podcasting as Feminist Method

Publishing @ SFU Instructor Hannah McGregor Answers Questions About Accessibility, Peer Review, and Audience Backlash During Her Presentation Green College, UBC

During the Q&A period for her October 3, 2019 presentation at Green College (UBC), SFU’s own Hannah McGregor, Assistant Professor of Publishing, elaborated on the potential and pitfalls of her podcasting work, both as a feminist and a scholar. Speaking at length on a range of questions from the audience, McGregor spoke with characteristic levity and intimacy about difficult subjects. McGregor’s presentation was centred upon the possibilities of scholarly accountability when podcasting is employed as a feminist method, and led to questions about accessibility, the peer review process, and navigating backlash when producing high risk public work.

Hannah McGregor is an Assistant Professor of Publishing at Simon Fraser University, where her research focuses on podcasting as scholarly communication, systemic barriers to access in the Canadian publishing industry, and magazines as middlebrow media. She is the co-creator of Witch, Please, a feminist podcast on the Harry Potter world, and the creator of the weekly podcast Secret Feminist Agenda, which is currently undergoing an experimental peer review process with Wilfrid Laurier University Press. She is also the co-editor of the book Refuse: CanLit in Ruins (Book*hug 2018).

– – – – – – – –

Q: If podcasts do become an acceptable academic endeavor, do they become [institutionalized and de-radicalized inherently]? Is there a possibility they will be put in a position of less accessibility, just like journals are today (e.g. paywall, jargon, etc)?

HM: For sure, such is the endless hunger of the institution, right? That it takes anything that’s, like, interesting and it’s like [chomp!] “It’s mine now! It’s mine now and guess what it’s in the university so it’s bad now!”… So yes, absolutely, we need to think about institutionalization and the impact that it has, and we need to think about, whether or not, you know, podcasting will just get sucked into exactly the same systems… which is why it’s been really important to me in this project to make my podcasts as podcasts first – that they live on the open web; are published and circulated via RSS feeds; are accessible everywhere [to anybody] who would get podcasts; are never paywalled;…you don’t have to know how to access scholarly systems in order to find them – you find them the way you find podcasts. And that has been really fundamental to me, that “I am making a podcast, and then we are peer reviewing it,” rather than “I am doing scholarship, and then we’re putting it onto a podcast.”

– – – – – – – –

Q: I was just starting to think about the difference between public and your peers, and I just wonder if you have plans in the next season for trying to challenge who are considered “peers” and sending [an invitation to critically review your podcast] out to the public…as opposed to waiting until people come to you?

HM: We actually did that in Season 1. So right up front, I was way more skeptical about peer reviewing the podcast than Siobhan was, [who had] great faith in peer review as an actual mechanism to make work better… via the process of this project, I have come on board … because the peer reviews that I’ve received have [been] so genuinely helpful. So at the end of Season 1 [of Secret Feminist Agenda], I put out a call to my listeners to say, “I would like a peer review from you, and here are my three questions… please post your responses in the comments.” And I got, like, 75-80 responses, from people… answering the questions and thinking it through, and really explicitly saying that they loved being involved in the process… [and of being told] that I was thinking of them as public and peers… I asked for that again at the end of Season 2 and got very little response… (and I didn’t even try it at the end of Season 3). And the reason [for the little response] I think, is that I now have an active and ongoing engagement with my listenership such that they’re giving me that feedback constantly, right? They are responding to episodes, they are asking me questions, they are commenting, they’re suggesting readings… so that interaction is now… just now an iterative part of how I engage with my listeners and they engage with me.

– – – – – – – –

Q: I was thinking about a public who does come to your podcast with very aggressive anti-feminist agenda. As scholars we’re [expected to make our scholarship accessible, [but] we’re not really given training on dealing with [that backlash]…what are your thoughts on the drawback of doing scholarship publically on this subject?

HM: So we are increasingly demanding that academics do our work publicly – particularly young graduate students…[are pressured to], like “be public! Be public facing! Be on Twitter! Be out doing things! Be in the media!” and then it’s like, “but if people get mad at you… you’ve got nothing”… We want people to be public until there’s any consequences to the publicness of their work… We need to have better conversations about how departments can support faculty members when there is backlash for their work… The more that we are interested in engaging publics, the more we need to understand what the consequences look like when we do that work.
What I will say is that…for the most part, podcasts are very hard to troll. [They] are significantly less trolled than a lot of other media, and there’s one really good reason for that – and that is that you cannot, like, command+F and look for words that make you angry in a podcast recording. And that’s mostly what people are doing when they’re trolling women’s public work, or public feminist work, right? They’re looking for the word “feminist”…they’re looking for words that make them mad, finding that word, and then going after you based on that word, and you can’t do that with a podcast—you would have to listen to it. And the fun thing about misogynists is that they don’t want to listen to women talk! So, it’s like, it’s great! All of my ideas are hidden here in my lady voice! And you would have to listen to it, to like, get to the ideas!

– – – – – – – –

If you’re interested in getting the kind of education in publishing that allows for challenging yourself and others, consider applying for the Master of Publishing Program at Simon Fraser University before February 1st.

12 Completely Made-Up Books Created by 2019’s Master of Publishing Students

Every year, graduate students of the Master of Publishing program at Simon Fraser University present their fall book projects in a format that instructor Scott Steedman describes as “sales conference meets thesis defences with a bit of Dragon’s Den and Canada’s Got Talent thrown in.” The public is invited to attend, though the total audience doesn’t usually exceed thirty or forty people. The students’ presentations are critiqued by three panelists from the book publishing industry. This year (2019), the panel included Vici Johnstone, publisher of Caitlin Press and Dagger Editions; Iolanda Millar, Account Manager, British Columbia, Yukon & Northern Territories at Manda Group; and Mike Leyne, editor at Figure 1 Publishing, in addition to operating a micro-press.

Below are the highlights of the presentation. Given that the majority of books the students conceptualize include real-life authors with real-life careers, Publishing @ SFU has scrubbed all author names from this recap article. Likewise, we can’t display the cover art for the concept books for the same reason. 

Please note: all references to real literary organizations, awards, and world instances are entirely made-up/fictitious, created to simulate a “real world” industry experience in book publishing for the Master of Publishing students.

RISE: A Concept Imprint of Canadian Book Publisher, Greystone Books

Katia, Amy, Vishakha, Lakota, and Melissa made up the team at RISE, a concept imprint of of Greystone Books. According to their printed catalogue, required in both the MPub’s educational setting as well as in the real world of the book publishing industry, RISE endeavours to “bring exciting emerging voices to the forefront on pressing societal issues.” They remain steadfast to Greystone’s environmentally conscientious production mandate. RISE publishes accessible non-fiction titles about feminism, climate action, LGBTQ topics, immigration, race, and celebrating differences. We champion underrepresented perspectives and often introduce humour and hope even when there may seem to be no light. 

Their concept books included:

  • Where Are You Really From?: 10 Cultures. 10 Lives. 10 Canadians, an anthology of experiences by ten young, first- and second-generation Canadians edited by a Canadian journalist who also anchors for CBC News as well as award-winning Canadian poet and short story writer.
  • Be Gay, Do Comedy: A Memoir of Getting the Hell Out of Your Small Town, written by an award-winning Canadian comedienne. This book was presented as an intimate, hilarious exploration of growing up queer in a small town and coming into her own in the big city in this unforgettable memoir.
  • Swipe Wrong: Hookups, Heartbreaks, and the Horrors of Modern Dating: hilarious online dating horror stories from the creator of the viral social media account who also launched a YouTube Channel and her own line of swag.
  • Earth is Enough, a personal collection of ecopoetry that unearths heartbreak and hope in the wake of the 2013 Alberta floods. While in this case the author wasn’t a real person, RISE created a stand-in author with a history of writing poetry, some award-winning, who would have had a direct link to the natural disaster that bases this book.

Aranea: A Concept Imprint of Canadian Book Publisher, House of Anansi Press

Kankana, Emily, Lauren, Mahima, and Nadya make up Aranea Press, home to established and emerging authors experimenting with their voice. Through their compelling stories, they focus a constructive lens on the toughest sociocultural issues facing young Canadians today and invite their readers to learn more about our national community.

Their concept books included:

  • Fit to be Tied, the first novel by a very accomplished nonfiction writer of Polish and Ojibwe descent that tackles the ongoing practice of forced sterilization of Indigenous women. Borrowing from true stories and writing in the haunting voice of a victim-turned-survivor, the author brings to life the insidious crimes perpetrated in past and present time.
  • Women Aren’t Funny (And Other Jokes): Comic Takes on Cultural Calamities from Canada’s Funniest Femmes is an anthology including ten Canadian comedians who explore contemporary culture, intersectionality, and how women are taking over—both onstage and off. This book is edited by the co-creator of a hit female-fronted sketch comedy series and includes a foreword by a popular late-night talk show host(ess).
  • Splintered Spirits is a graphic novel written by an award-winning Oji-Cree poet about Dakwaa, an Oji-Cree Indigiqueer teen, is at his wits’ end being bullied by his peers who don’t understand his identity. A chance encounter with a two-spirit Cree Elder helps him find his place in the all-but-forgotten history of two-spirit peoples across Turtle Island.
  • Mending from Within is a novel appealing to Millennial and Generation Z readers’ interested in zero-waste and anti-fast fashion ethics. The author is recognized by her works in The Walrus and Refinery29 for her sustainable designs and activism against the fast-fashion industry.

Aisling Press: A Concept Imprint of Canadian Book Publisher, Biblioasis

Ryann, Amy, Anastasia, Ashley, Hailey, and Paige created Aisling Press to “provide an inclusive and supportive environment for writers to engage their audiences in broad conversations about contemporary social issues such as feminism, Indigenous rights, and mental health.” 

Their concept books included:

  • Unmasked: My Ancestor’s Spirit. His Transformation Mask. Our Fight for Repatriation. This memoir of an Indigenous elder contextualizes the controversy around colonial theft of Kwakiutl culture and the subsequent repatriation process. With an 8 page insert containing 12 photos, this paperback book saw sales potential in the trade and educational market.
  • Herland: A Graphic Novel is an adapted Charlotte Perkins Gilman’s vision of a feminist utopia come to life (see the original here). This new edition features beautiful illustrations from the illustrator of a popular, Canadian graphic novel released in 2019. It would be the first in the Aisling Press series, Feminist Graphic Classics.
  • Comeback Polka is a novel about a young woman who stumbles across a busker with an accordion at Toronto’s Bloor-Yonge subway station—who turns out to be an old music teacher of hers. 
  • Waken is a powerful, must-read poetry debut by a Tsilhqot’in writer, editor, and storyteller that addresses issues plaguing Indigenous youth, from homelessness and addiction to the fight to keep tradition alive. With a striking cover, this book certainly jumps off the shelf.

If you’re interested in getting the kind of education in publishing that allows for cultural analysis, historical reflection, and diving deep into imaginary worlds, consider applying for the Master of Publishing Program at Simon Fraser University before February 1st.

Introducing Dr. Amanda Lastoria, the First Publishing PhD in North America

Dr. Amanda Lastoria’s PhD Defence at SFU Vancouver Harbour Centre on The Material Evolution of Alice’s Adventures in Wonderland: How Book Design and Production Values Impact the Markets for and the Meanings of the Text

Amanda Lastoria has earned North America’s first Ph.D. in Publishing (Simon Fraser University). She also holds an MA in Publishing (Oxford Brookes University), a BA in French/Arts and Culture (SFU) and a Diploma in Arts Management (University of London). Amanda’s research is critically informed by more than a decade of professional experience in the publishing industry. She has worked as an in-house employee and freelance contractor in a variety of roles, from production editor and production controller to copyeditor and proofreader to business manager and associate publisher. Amanda has worked on, for example, academic books, an online educational platform, an arts magazine, general interest ebooks and high-end trade books for companies in England, America and Canada. Her employers and clients have included both independent and multi-national houses like The Folio Society, Taylor & Francis/Routledge, Macmillan, and Random House, as well as self-publishers, a start-up imprint and a non-profit organization. Amanda is also former Editor of Lewis Carroll Review, and she has developed the standard list of titles for John Tenniel’s iconic Alice illustrations. Amanda is currently the Regional Liaison Officer to Canada for the Society for the History of Authorship, Reading and Publishing (SHARP).

On November 13, 2019, Dr. Amanda Lastoria successfully defended her interdisciplinary doctoral research, which explores the materiality of the book and the “material evolution” of the title. Lastoria uses multiple editions of a single title – Alice’s Adventures in Wonderland – as a case study through which she develops a critical understanding of the title’s positions in the market on the one hand, and the ways in which design and production values contribute to the creation of meaning on the other hand.

Addressing what she sees as a “lack of scholarship that rigorously investigates the look and feel of the book,” Lastoria analyzes 46 editions of Alice’s Adventures in Wonderland, tracing 150 years of the title’s “material evolution” through Anglo-American markets.

Using a combination of methods and tools – bibliography, book history, publishing history and literary theory – Lastoria documents, historicizes and interrogates the book’s power as a commodity. Lastoria takes us on a journey as we follow Alice through the title’s many incarnations and learn of the ways in which the design and production values are at once an echo and an aberration of Lewis Carroll’s original art direction. Lastoria concludes, “Alice, like all books, ought to be judged by its cover – and its paper, typography, ink, bind, endpapers, dustjacket and so forth” so that we can better understand “how the book targets a market and encodes a meaning.”

With gratitude, acknowledgements for this esteemed accomplishment go to Lastoria’s supervisors:  Prof. John Maxwell, Publishing; Prof. Michael Everton, English; and Prof. Stuart Poyntz, Communication; and to her examiners: Prof. Teal Triggs, Graphic Design, Royal College of Art; Prof. Michelle Levy, English.

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If you’re interested in getting the kind of education in publishing that allows you to dive deep into the history of publishing, or develop a scholarship that is as playful as it is rigorous, consider applying for the Master of Publishing Program at Simon Fraser University before February 1st.

Move Over, Archie Andrews: Dr. Teal Triggs Speaks to Katy Keene Fandom, Zines and the Politics of Participation

Professor of Graphic Design in the School of Communication at the Royal College of Art, London, Dr. Teal Triggs presents the comic book world of Katy Keene at Emily Carr University’s Reliance Theatre

On November 14th, 2019, self-described graphic design historian Dr. Teal Triggs delivered a presentation on the comic book world of Katy Keene (1945-1961), a unique American character created by Bill Woggon. While Triggs’ research is usually on the graphic language of British punk and riot grrrl fanzines, for this presentation Triggs takes us further back into the history of fandom, gleaning insight from the documentation that comics fan magazines provide. Of particular interest for Triggs is the relationship between Woggon and Katy’s fanbase, and the ways in which Woggon actively engaged fans to contribute to the graphic design and storylines, breaking down barriers between comic artists and fans to create an “extended family” and participatory culture for Katy Keene that would span the decades all the way up to the present day.

This event was presented by Publishing @ SFU in partnership with the Vancouver Art Book Fair, Graphic Research Group, READ Books and Emily Carr University of Art + Design.

Teal Triggs is Professor of Graphic Design in the School of Communication, Royal College of Art, London. As a graphic design historian, critic and educator her writings have appeared in numerous edited books and international design publications. Her research focuses primarily on design pedagogy, criticism, self-publishing. She is Associate Editor of Design Issues (MIT Press) and was founding Editor-in-Chief of Communication Design (Taylor & Francis/ico-D). Her recent books include: co-editor of The Graphic Design Reader (Bloomsbury), author of Fanzines (Thames & Hudson), and the children’s book The School of Art (Wide Eyed). She is a Fellow of the International Society of Typographic Designers, Royal College of Art and Royal Society for the Encouragement of Arts, Manufactures and Commerce.

Dr. Triggs was in Vancouver to examine North America’s very first Publishing PhD candidate, Amanda Lastoria.

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Comic book glamour girl Katy Keene was first published by Archie Comics in 1945, created to appeal to a growing female comic readership. Her girl-next-door appeal lent her a certain accessibility, while her blend of ambition and fashion-consciousness represented an image of femininity that women were encouraged to strive for in post-war America. 

While independent career woman like Katy Keene are recurring figures of imagination in the history of comic strips, Triggs sets out to show us that what sets Katy apart from the pack is the intimate relationship between her world and her fans, who were regularly invited to submit their own designs for everything from Katy’s clothes to her house and car. This intimacy was cultivated in large part by her creator Bill Woggon, who sought authenticity by inviting and publishing not only these design submissions, but also fan mail and photographs and biographies of fans, cultivating a unique and loyal fan club for Katy Keene. 

Triggs paints a picture of the historical context and field of influence that led Woggon to create Katy Keene in the way that he did, to demonstrate not only how, but also why “Katy was different.” Woggon models Katy’s family on his own, and as Triggs tells us, “this notion of family ran deep in the storylines”, with Katy’s family and various boyfriends all featuring prominently in the comic, but also Woggon himself who talks from out of the panel directly to his fanbase, encouraging them to send in designs for Katy and her friends, comprising an extended family. By providing opportunities for fans to become part of the family and participate in ways that affected her actual character development, Woggon was not only breaking down barriers between the real world and Katy’s fantasy world, but between himself and fans of his work (many of whom would go on to become successful designers, illustrators and writers themselves). 

Using the specific example of the banter between Woggon and his own comic book characters that regularly features on the opening page of each comic, Triggs explains, “the dialogue which features in the panels between the photographed Woggon and the drawn and inked comic characters collapses the imaginary and the reality of the reader’s worlds.” This fierce devotion and real-life interaction between Katy’s image and her fans would later culminate in the creation of the Katy Keene Fan Magazine by Craig Leavitt, which ran for 18 issues through the 1980s, and this led to a resurgence of interest in the character for a whole new generation of would-be artists, designers and writers. Being a fanzine, Leavitt’s publication continues Woggon’s project true to form, featuring design, artwork, and storylines contributed by the ever-growing fanbase.

Triggs points to ways in which both “everydayness”, and a sense of luxury at the same time, was of particular importance to engendering this participatory fan culture, through which readers could respond to calls for designs for every last aspect of Katy’s life, even Katy’s design firm itself. Quoting Leavitt himself, to describe the allure, who said in 1978: “I learned diversity through Katy. Every single thing needed to be designed—cars, houses, gowns, lampshades, even the poetry and jokes…Katy represented everything I didn’t have—everything wonderful.”

The Katy Keene comic regularly featured tremendously popular paper dolls of Katy and her many fashionable ensembles, and colouring options, furthering the malleability of the original Katy Keene comic into fanzine form, infinitely reproducible and re-imaginable by her aspiring artist and designer fans. While Katy Keene never moved beyond contemporary female roles, Triggs encourages us to see Katy as a feminist role model who, as a designer herself, is in control and gives her readers and fans “permission to imagine alternative futures”.

If you’re interested in getting the kind of education in publishing that allows for cultural analysis, historical reflection, and diving deep into imaginary worlds, consider applying for the Master of Publishing Program at Simon Fraser University before February 1st. 

Bonus: Did you know Katy Keene is being revived for a new audience in 2020? Here’s the trailer below: