Derek Hayes wins inaugural Basil Stuart-Stubbs Prize

Congratulations to Derek Hayes, whose British Columbia: A New Historical Atlas has picked up yet another honour! Hayes’s visually stunning opus has won the Basil Stuart-Stubbs Prize for Outstanding Scholarly Book on British Columbia, a new award from UBC Library and the Pacific BookWorld News Society. More details here.

Honouring Scott McIntyre

It was wonderful to see everyone last night at a reception in recognition of Scott McIntyre’s tremendous contributions to Canadian culture. Andy Sylvester generously hosted the event at the Equinox Gallery, and the evening’s focus was an immensely touching Squamish Nation blanket ceremony: representatives of the Squamish Nation wrapped Scott McIntyre in one of their beautiful blankets, which represented the warm embrace of his friends, family, and community. He stood on four other blankets as various speakers—witnesses, as they were called—came forward to say a few words about what Scott has meant to them personally as well as to their cause; those blankets under Scott would “catch the intent” of the witnesses.

Russell Keziere thanked Scott for his enthusiasm, support, and unflappable confidence (“Of course you can do this!”) while Keziere was trying to establish Vanguard magazine, a publication out of the Vancouver Art Gallery about Canadian art and artists. Michael Audain, philanthropist and self-described “art groupie,” spoke about how much he’s gained by reading Douglas & McIntyre’s great art books and how, after decades of helping others tell their stories, perhaps it’s now time for Scott McIntyre to write his own. Margaret Reynolds of the Association of Book Publishers of British Columbia thanked Scott for the muscle he flexed in lobbying the government for those programs, including the BC Book Publishing Tax Credit and the Canada Book Fund, that were so vital to establishing a vibrant publishing industry within the province and the country. Kathleen S. Bartels, director of the Vancouver Art Gallery, spoke about the longstanding partnership between Douglas & McIntyre and the VAG that produced over twenty beautiful publications—including exhibition catalogues for Fred Herzog, Brian Jungen, Takao Tanabe, and other artists from BC—that together represent only a fraction of Douglas & McIntyre’s impressive list of art books. Ian Gill, principal at Cause+Effect and author of All That We Say Is Ours (“a runaway worst-seller,” Gill joked), likened Scott McIntyre’s commitment to quality and integrity to the core values of The New York Times. Gill also noted that Scott would not be where he is without the undying support of Corky McIntyre and that the two of them have made huge contributions to our collective understanding of the history, art, and contemporary culture of Canada’s aboriginal people.

“My heart is full,” Scott McIntyre responded at the end of the evening. He admitted that the last year has been difficult but that he’s buoyed by the fact that New Society Publishers; Greystone, now under Heritage Group; and Douglas & McIntyre, now under Harbour Publishing, are forging ahead and that Figure 1 Publishing has arisen with the commitment to continue some of D&M’s partnerships with galleries and museums, produce beautiful books, and challenge the old publishing model. Scott said that although authors were a huge part of D&M’s cultural legacy, what made everything happen was the people. Although I was part of D&M for only six of its forty-two-year history, I hope, Scott, that you consider me one of those people. If so, I’m honoured—although I know that what I gained during my time at D&M far exceeds what I could have contributed.

The evening concluded when the representatives from the Squamish Nation asked Scott to share the four blankets on which he stood. His chosen recipients were Corky McIntyre, Robert Bringhurst, Michael Audain, and Karen Love.

Thanks to Chris Labonté, Karen Love, and Andy Sylvester for coordinating the event. I’m so grateful to have been a part of it.

British Columbia: A New Historical Atlas event coming up

Derek Hayes will be giving a talk about his new book, British Columbia: A New Historical Atlas, on Monday, December 3, at the Vancouver Public Library’s central branch. This free event runs from 7pm to 8:30pm, and there will be books for sale. More information is available on the VPL’s event calendar.

Salute to a fallen Canadian cultural institution

I was going to make this week’s post a self-indulgent look back at the past year on my bloggiversary (as the kids call it), but given the sad news that D&M Publishers has filed for creditor protection, I wanted to say a few words about the company—and the people—that made my years in book publishing so rewarding.

I started at D&M during my Master of Publishing degree as a lowly intern (though pretty much everyone there did their best not to make me feel lowly at all), doing all manner of random tasks, from sending out review copies and archiving editorial material to staffing the front desk while the receptionist was away. Getting to spend time in several departments gave me a solid appreciation for the effort everyone was making. It really was, as Brenda Feist, sales and marketing assistant at the time, said, “amazing to see how many people it takes to make a book happen.”

My main tasks, though, were editorial—proofing inputting, proofreading books and marketing materials, and a bit of indexing. I learned from the best: Nancy Flight and Lucy Kenward patiently showed me the ropes, insisting on the highest standards and gently but firmly nudging me to improve myself. From Managing Editor Susan Rana I learned the best practices in book production as I watched her shepherd project after project through multiple hands and to tight deadlines. The company’s art department was also an inspiration: headed by Peter Cocking, D&M’s team of designers produced gorgeous books that routinely swept the Alcuin Awards.

During my internship, I embarked on a project to produce an informational handbook for authors to guide them through the editorial process, explaining the steps and the people involved in transforming a manuscript into a finished book. Little did I know that working on the handbook would sow the seeds of my interest in editorial efficiencies and systems. Later I would carve a niche role within the company of improving documentation and communication with authors and freelancers and developing quality-control methods to continue the company’s tradition of high editorial standards.

D&M offered me a contract to stay on once my internship was over, and I gladly accepted. There I was exposed to brilliant, inspiring authors and to books on a wide-ranging array of topics, from Aboriginal art to Vancouver architecture, from mouth-watering cookbooks to eye-opening biographies of influential Canadians, from history to current affairs and public policy, from environment to sport. I wish I’d retained more of what I read over those years.

To Scott McIntyre, thank you for all you have done. Thank you for trusting me with some of your best authors, thank you for recommending me to your friends and colleagues once I decided to strike out on my own, and thank you for giving me the opportunity to learn and develop alongside some of the best editors in the country. I can only imagine how heartbreaking this development must be—perhaps it feels like the loss of a child or the loss of a legacy. But please know that your fervent passion for and enormous contributions to Canadian culture endure—in the fine books that you’ve published, in the authors you’ve fostered and encouraged, in the people who’ve been able to learn from you by working for you.

What I value most from my time at D&M are the relationships I’ve forged with some of the smartest, funniest, hardest-working people I’ve ever met. To my good friends at D&M—who are too many to name here—please stay in touch. Now that I can no longer come into the office for the occasional visit, I’ll try to do my part and be better at reaching out in other ways.

Sorry; I guess this post did end up being self-indulgent after all. I didn’t think I would be as emotional about this turn of events as I am. I feel deeply for all of D&M’s employees and authors, and I’m here to offer my help wherever and whenever it’s needed.

Look out—the market’s about to be flooded by some amazingly talented people.

Upcoming EAC-BC meeting on ebooks

My good friend Lara Smith, one of the most generous, helpful people I know, will be giving a talk at the upcoming EAC-BC meeting about ebook formats, digital production workflows, and what editors need to know about ebook conversion. Lara, the print and digital production coordinator at D&M, is the perfect person to give this presentation not only because she sits at the intersection between p- and ebooks but also because she’s worked in house as a proofreader and indexer and acutely understands editorial concerns in the ebook production process. (As an aside, Lara and her partner, Anita, are responsible for the best chili oil I’ve ever tasted.)

Join us at the YWCA on Hornby on Wednesday, October 17, for Lara’s talk and the chance to win a free EAC-BC professional development seminar (as well as the books I’ve reviewed on this site since last month’s meeting). Refreshments and mingling start at 7 pm, and the talk begins at 7:30 pm.

Award for Exploring Vancouver

Congratulations to authors Harold Kalman and Robin Ward and to photographer John Roaf! Exploring Vancouver: The Architectural Guide has won an award from the Canadian Association of Heritage Professionals in the Heritage Communication category. The award will be handed out at a ceremony on Thursday, October 11, between 7:30pm and 9:30pm at the Montreal Masonic Temple.

In other Exploring Vancouver news, Harold Kalman will be signing books at the Chapters on Broadway and Granville on Saturday, November 10.

British Columbia: A New Historical Atlas set to publish

I finally picked up my comp copy of Derek Hayes’s latest opus, British Columbia: A New Historical Atlas, and it’s a gorgeous, weighty volume. When I edit his books, I always mark up black-and-white printouts, and although I do get to see the colour in PDFs of the drafts, viewing those simply doesn’t compare to being able to flip through the finished printed book.

Derek Hayes has curated a stunning collection of over 900 maps, which he deftly uses to tell the story of the province. This book is packed, featuring an enormous variety of maps and historical images, from the sketches of fur traders and gold seekers to plans for the transcontinental railway that was key to British Columbia’s entry into Confederation to maps used during wartime and beyond. Hayes’s text is lively and accessible but rigorous and thorough. His type of visual storytelling (I should mention that he does all of the interior layout and design) is a fascinating way to learn about history.

What I am most looking forward to this time around is being able to take part in the book’s upcoming publicity and events. The past few historical atlases I have worked on—including the Historical Atlas of Washington and Oregon and the Historical Atlas of the American West—were published by the University of California Press, and I missed out on the publicity efforts for those books completely. I’ll post updates about this new book’s events as I hear about them.

An amazing honour

Holy crap! I won the Tom Fairley Award for Editorial Excellence!

The award was announced at the Editors’ Association of Canada banquet on the evening of Saturday, June 2, and I was completely surprised. Thanks again to author Florian Werner, translator Doris Ecker, foreworder Temple Grandin and her wonderful assistant Cheryl Miller, proofreader Lara Smith, designer Naomi MacDougall (interior), cover designer Peter Cocking, and the whole D&M production department for making Cow happen. Thanks to Rob Sanders for trusting me with the project, and a million thanks to Nancy Flight for nominating me for the award and for encouraging me along the way.

Thanks to the EAC for having this award in the first place, and thanks to the donors, awards committee, and judges for this tremendous honour.

I had the pleasure of having a long conversation with fellow finalist Peter Midgley about our respective editing projects—both translations, interestingly enough. I’m very sorry he couldn’t have shared in the award with me, because it sounded as though we had parallel experiences. I look forward to reading the book he edited, The Man in Blue Pyjamas.

East Meets West VIP launch

I just got back from the VIP launch for Stephanie Yuen’s cookbook East Meets West at Lin’s Chinese Cuisine, where Chef Zhang and his staff treated us to delicious snacks, including Lin’s signature xiao long bao, as well as a tan-tan noodle demonstration. It was great to chat with the ol’ D&M crew and meet the author in person, and each of us came away with a swank gift bag from Sunrise Soya Foods and Hon’s Wun-Tun House.