Breakwater Books co-founder and longtime president Clyde Rose has died. He was 86.
Rose died on Oct. 25 after a long battle with Parkinson’s disease, Breakwater said.
In 1973, he founded the St. John’s-based press with four of his university-professor colleagues and friends, Tom Dawe, Al Pittman, Pat Byrne, and Richard Buehler. The group was motivated in part by their shared frustration with the lack of published works by Newfoundland and Labrador authors, and sought to publish and promote the work of writers living in the province.
After the others stepped back from publishing, Rose remained at the helm, running Breakwater for more than 30 years, and expanding the house with the acquisition in the 1990s of Ontario’s Summerhill Press and Newfoundland’s Jesperson Press in 2002. The publisher, which celebrated its 50th anniversary this year, helped establish many of the province’s authors, including Bernice Morgan, Kevin Major, and Helen Fogwill Porter.
“Clyde was a dynamic and inspiring publisher,” longtime colleague and fellow publisher James Lorimer said in a statement. “A pioneer in demanding room within CanLit for Newfoundland writers and poets – and proving that they merited audiences across Canada. He had charisma galore, and used it to bring Canadian writing and books to the attention of many of the world’s publishers.”
Rose served as president of the Association of Canadian Publishers (ACP) in 1988 and 1989 and was an active member of the Literary Press Group of Canada. He was awarded the inaugural Pioneer Award from the Atlantic Book Awards Society.
Beyond his work with Breakwater, Rose was also a stalwart of the literary and arts community in Newfoundland and Labrador. He was one of the first hosts of the Writers at Woody Point festival, and was also a singer and an actor, performing with The Breakwater Boys and the Brothers Byrne and acting in several films and TV shows.
Rose retired in 2009, when his daughter, Rebecca Rose, took over as publisher and president.
A public wake and celebration of Rose’s life will take place in the spring of 2024.