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Imprinting change: seven women in the book industry who are encouraging diversity

Fierce Ink Press

Fierce Ink Press (illustration: Chris MacDonald)

When former CBC Books and Canada Reads associate producer Kimberly Walsh (left) first conceived Fierce Ink, an internet-age, Atlantic Canadian publishing house for top-notch young-adult literature, she worried it was just a pipe dream. But after receiving encouragement from kids’ author Sheree Fitch while leading a social-media tutorial at Nimbus Publishing, Walsh decided to give it a shot.

Since launching the author co-operative Fierce Ink Press in 2012, Halifax-based Walsh and her PEI co-founder Colleen McKie have been busy churning out YA novels and short creative non-fiction pieces by Canadian writers.

Fierce Ink has been engaging young readers with its Fierce Shorts series: digital-only 5,000- to 15,000-word essays about teen issues, covering everything from unreciprocated crushes to suicide and drugs (25 per cent of net proceeds are donated to a charity of the author’s choice). In September, the series was compiled into a special collectors’ print edition called Becoming Fierce: Teen Stories IRL, with an introduction by Governor General’s Literary Award winner Susin Nielsen.

Fierce Ink is currently in a period of transition. McKie is moving on to other adventures and Halifax freelance writer Sarah Sawler (right) is joining the team as marketing and communications executive. “One of the best things about Fierce is the flexibility,” Sawler says. “We know that the industry’s changing fast, and we know that we’re going to have to be flexible if we’re going to keep up.” – JB