25th Trillium Award

Coach House Books

 
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Coach House Books is a publishing legend in Toronto, in Ontario, in Canada and beyond. The best profile comes direct from their amazing website:

In 1965, a young typesetter named Stan Bevington, newly transplanted to Toronto from Edmonton, began printing versions of the new Canadian maple-leaf flag. With the money he made hawking these flags in hippie Yorkville, he rented an old coach house and bought a Challenge Gordon platen press. With a newfound colleague, Dennis Reid (now a curator of the Art Gallery of Ontario), he printed a book of poetry by Wayne Clifford. Writers and artists soon flocked to the little coach house with their projects, bpNichol’s Journeying and The Returns and Michael Ondaatje’s The Dainty Monsters among them.

Coach House has always maintained a dual role in Canadian letters by both publishing and printing books. Through the years, the printing half of the company has produced books and ephemera for many of Canada’s literary presses and for the University of Toronto, setting new standards for design and printing quality. This emphasis on careful and innovative production enticed many of Canadian literature’s now-luminary figures to join the Coach House crew; in the 1970s and ’80s, the editorial board included, at various times, Victor Coleman, Frank Davey, Linda Davey, bpNichol, Michael Ondaatje, Sarah Sheard and David Young, and the roster of writers grew to include Robin Blaser, George Bowering, Nicole Brossard, Matt Cohen, Christopher Dewdney, David Donnell, Dorothy Livesay, Gwendolyn MacEwen, Daphne Marlatt, Steve McCaffery, David McFadden, Don McKay, Paul Quarrington, Gail Scott, Sharon Thesen, Sheila Watson, Phyllis Webb and countless others. The press was known for its adventurousness in both content and presentation.

A move and a change of ownership and management in the late 1980s brought a new, if short-lived, direction. Editors including Lynn Crosbie, Christopher Dewdney and Michael Redhill, under the stewardship of Margaret McClintock, published books by André Alexis, Ann-Marie MacDonald and Anne Michaels. In 1996, sadly, government funding cuts decimated the viability of the company, and it wound down.

In 1997, Stan Bevington resurrected Coach House, back in its original home in the old coach house, where the printing business was still hard at work. Helmed by Hilary Clark and Victor Coleman, the new Coach House boldly ventured online, publishing electronic editions and luscious print versions, archly referring to the physical copy as ‘that fetish object formerly known as the book.’ Darren Wershler-Henry took over as editor, and then Alana Wilcox, and, as the internet and the publishing climate changed, the emphasis shifted to print books.

And now? We’re still pushing at the frontiers of the book with our innovative fiction, poetry, film and drama, and select non-fiction, including a series of books about Toronto. Our family of fine scriveners includes Christian Bök, Claudia Dey, Guy Maddin, Maggie Helwig and Darren O’Donnell, among countless others. We’ve been piling up the awards nominations: Griffin Poetry Prizes, Governor General’s Awards, Trillium Book Awards, Toronto Book Awards, ReLit Awards, Lambda Literary Awards, Amazon First Novel Awards, Libris Awards, the Ontario Premier’s Award for Excellence in the Arts and so on. And in 2009, we finally had the opportunity to purchase our little coach house. Home sweet House!

See all their books, authors, news and events here.

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Coach House Books
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