When Pedlar Press founder Beth Follett was a young woman growing up in 1970s Winnipeg, she wanted to become a poet.
I am not a writer by profession, but literature is my passion. I teach English language arts and ESL in an Edmonton junior high school. Usually, when I ask my students to write about their lives, even just their summer vacations, I’m met with whining. “I don’t know what to write!” So I was delighted when, one day in my office, a Grade 9 student named Abu Bakr al Rabeeah, who had fled the civil war in Syria, shared his secret wish: “I want to tell my story.”
“With a poem, you’re trying to say the unsayable.” As poetic manifestoes go, this one is fairly typical of Toronto’s Jeff Latosik.
When Dani Couture was 10 years old, she wrote a fan letter to the novelist Sidney Sheldon. Couture, a self–described “military brat,” was the child of parents in the Canadian Forces; she used to buy paperbacks at yard sales and flea markets on and off whatever base they were seconded to.
Ben Clanton’s Narwhal and Jelly books appeal to parents, kids, and reluctant readers
“I wanted to be a book publisher. It wasn’t much more complicated than that.”
In a public interview recently, a journalist asked me what I meant in the final pages of my memoir, Heart Berries, when I proclaimed myself “untouchable.” A room full of authors gasped audibly at my boldness.
It was his voice that caught her attention. On a Friday in early 2012, Christine Haebler, a producer at Screen Siren Pictures, was driving to work when she heard Richard Wagamese on CBC Radio talking to host Shelagh Rogers about Indian Horse, his novel about an Ojibwe boy named Saul who is traumatized at a residential school and finds possible salvation through hockey.
While browsing her local independent bookstore in 2011, Nancy Vo had an “aha” moment. She had just discovered Jon Klassen’s bestseller I Want My Hat Back: “I was floored and thought, ‘How did a picture book just do that to me?’ It sealed the deal – I was on a path to making kids’ books.”
In 2012, readers went wild for Rachel Hartman’s YA fantasy Seraphina – which was a Quill & Quire book of the year – shooting the debut author up the New York Times bestseller list.