26 November 2010

Ukes & Books

Gaspereau Press’s unofficial ‘artist in residence’ and skilled bindery hand Basma Kavanaugh is presently wandering around in Alabama doing a little bit of printing. She sent me this wonderful Youtube link of Peter Thomas which features Ukes and books. Peter, be sure to come see us if you ever travel this far north.


24 November 2010

Gaspereau at work

Once the dust started to settle last week, Canadian Press reporter Michael Tutton and photo journalist Andrew Vaughan came down and shot some nice footage of Gaspereau's staff at work on The Sentimentalists. You can see that video on the Globe and Mail site.


16 November 2010

Finding the Way Through

Well, Scott McIntyre at D&M and Gary and I here in Kentville spent a lot of yesterday on the telephone and standing in front of cameras, talking about the plan to get The Sentimentalists out to Canadian Readers quicker, without compromising all the things we stand for as literary publishers. CBC's The National did a nice job of summing up the story on their broadcast last night.

Gary and I want to thank everyone who has expressed their support for Johanna and the work of the press. Literature, at the heart of it all, only thrives where there exists a community of shared interests, shared concerns, and shared fates. What I'm saying, I suppose, is that Johanna's story, and our story, is also your story, because you engaged it and helped make it all so.

Now, if you'll excuse me, I still have a hell of a lot of books to make, and I'd better get back to it if I want to make as many people as possible happy before Christmas.


15 November 2010

Skibsrud checks in from Turkey

Earlier today, Giller winner Johanna Skibsrud issued the following statement for the press through her agent, Tracy Bohan, at Wylie UK:

I am really pleased wıth the Gaspereau/Douglas and McIntyre deal -- am so glad that a solution has been arrived at that allows the books to be distributed widely wıthout sacrıfıcıng any of Gaspereau Press's practıses and ideals, whıch make them so unıque and special to work with. One thing that I really apprecıate is that Andrew and Gary took into account my own personal feelıngs and interests when makıng this business decision. Not many publishers would do that -- it makes me feel very grateful to be working wıth them.

Johanna is presently travelling in Turkey.


The Giller Plan


Responding to the high demand of Johanna Skibsrud’s The Sentimentalists, Gaspereau Press licenses Canadian trade paperback rights to Douglas & McIntyre, an imprint of D&M Publishers, who plan to ship stock by November 19

November 14, 2010 – VANCOUVER, CANADA -- Before Scott McIntyre’s head hit the pillow Tuesday night following the Giller gala, he sent a long email to his friend and colleague Andrew Steeves, co-publisher of Gaspereau Press, reporting on the extraordinary evening. McIntyre and Steeves immediately hatched a plan to make Johanna Skibsrud’s debut novel widely available to the Canadian book trade, while still honouring Gaspereau’s craft.

Andrew Steeves commented:

“It was important to us that no copy of the book would say 'Gaspereau Press' on the spine unless it came directly from our own hands; that’s simply the way we work. But when Johanna won the prize it was clear that our method of printing and publishing books wouldn’t meet the demand. It was critical to find a partner who shared our values. Douglas & McIntyre was the obvious choice.

“We’re delighted to be working with Douglas & McIntyre and Friesens to produce a new edition of The Sentimentalists for the wider marketplace. This alliance will ensure that our author’s accomplishment will be honoured, and that readers across the country will have ready access to well-made copies of the book.”

The first 30,000 copies of the Douglas & McIntyre edition of The Sentimentalists (ISBN 978-1-55365-895-5, $19.95, paperback), printed on high quality FSC eco-paper, will be shipped from the bindery on November 19, less than 10 days after the Giller was awarded. Paper is on hand for an immediate reprint of 20,000 copies. The e-book is already a bestseller on Kobo and Douglas & McIntyre will make it available through other e-book retailers, including the Apple iBookstore, Amazon Kindle, Sony eBook store, eBooks.com and Barnes & Noble’s NOOK Store. Gaspereau Press will continue to issue copies of its original edition ($27.95, 978-1-55447-078-5, sewn paperback with letterpress-printed jacket), giving readers a choice of two quality editions of the book.

McIntyre added:

“I have huge respect for Andrew and Gary’s dedication to their craft. This includes putting their author first. With our sales, marketing and distribution system onside, an exceptional novel will quickly reach the wide audience it deserves.

“Three proudly independent Canadian entities – Gaspereau Press in Nova Scotia; Douglas & McIntyre in Vancouver and Toronto; and Friesens in Manitoba – have combined forces to celebrate a remarkable writer, a wise and beautiful novel, and the gift Jack Rabinovich gave Canada when he launched the Giller Prize and dared us all to elevate our game.”

09 November 2010

Jack on the Giller Script

The National Post carried a thoughtful article on the Scotiabank Giller Prize today written by Jack Illingworth, the Executive Director of the Literary Press Group of Canada. In the article Jack makes an excellent explanation of the clash of cultures that takes place when literary presses find themselves nominated for prizes like the Giller, which are usually dominated by the giant multinational book factories in Toronto.

Says Illingworth: “This may seem like willful eccentricity on the part of Andrew Steeves and Gary Dunfield, Gaspereau’s co-publishers. It’s actually something much more interesting: a commitment to a thoughtful, rigorous, refined mode of publishing. While publishing is usually discussed as a business, or an industry, all of the finest small press publishers practice it as an art form. The books that they choose to publish aren’t chosen to fill out a season with a handful of products that stand a reasonable chance of selling. Their lists are cultural projects, embodying a few individuals’ ideas of what literature can be.”


08 November 2010

Gaspereau Press at Windsor Castle

At one time, if a Maritime literary publisher mentioned that something was going on at Windsor Castle, he was most likely referring to the poet Alden Nowlan’s nickname for his Fredericton home, but in this case I’m talking about the real thing. Gaspereau Press was pleased to learn that one of its printed pieces is not only in the collection of her majesty Queen Elizabeth II, but that is also presently on display in the gallery her offical residence, Windsor Castle.

This month, Windsor Castle is exhibiting the broadside "The Last Post" along with portraits of the two last surviving British First World Wat vetrerans, Henry Allingham (1896–2009) and Harry Patch (1898–2009) Mr Patch served with the 7th Battalion, Duke of Cornwall’s Light Infantry as a Lewis machine-gunner and Mr Allingham with the Royal Air Force as an aircraft mechanic. Both participated in the three-month Battle of Passchendaele in 1917: Mr Patch in the trenches, and Mr Allingham repairing the aircraft damaged in the fighting.

Vancouver Island University’s Institute for Island Studies commissioned us design and print this boardside in the fall of 2009 to mark a visit by Britain’s poet Laureate, Carol Ann Duffy. The commission required a quick turnaround and there was some difficulty getting enough sheets of ‘old masters’ handmade paper from Montreal’s Papeterie Saint-Armand. But in the end all turned out well. I hand-printed 133 copies of the 18 × 38 cm broadside. Jack McMaster and I collaborated on a stylized poppy fleuron specifically for the project too.

You can view the the boardside and the portraits and hear a reading for the poem on The Royal Collection’s web site.


02 November 2010

We're getting Sentimental

It is simply too busy to write a proper post at the moment, but here’s a quick glance behind the scenes into some of the work that’s going on right now as we race to put together more copies of Johanna Skibsrud’s novel, The Sentimentalists, which is shortlisted for the Scotiabank Giller Prize. The awards gala is a week away. Gary, who will be representing the press at the event, has been measured for a tux. He is threatening to get his wiskers trimmed even. Oh, the humanity!

I set up two Vandercook proof presses and printed jackets straight through the night last Thursday in order to have books at the International Festival of Author’s readings in Toronto on the weekend.

This clip shows Basma and Gary binding the sewn book blocks on a three-pocket Sulby binder.

Laura stayed late trimming books one night and it seems that trimming so many of the same book for so long drove her to some pretty creative stacking. Perhaps she is considering a jump to a career in setting up endcap displays in bookstores.