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Recap of Screen to Page and Back: In Conversation with Zoe Whittall and Wiebke von Carolsfeld

by B.A. Tanner

Zoe Whittall, Wiebke von Carolsfeld, and Lee Parpart on stage at Screen to Page and Back

Zoe Whittall, Wiebke von Carolsfeld, and Lee Parpart at Screen to Page and Back, September 24, 2019. Photo courtesy of the author.

Editors Toronto and Canadian Authors Toronto (CA-T) were thrilled to co-present their first event of the fall season, in partnership with the Creative Writing Program at the School of Continuing Studies at the University of Toronto, on Tuesday, September 24.

The evening brought together award-winning, medium-crossing writers Zoe Whittall and Wiebke von Carolsfeld. Zoe has published four novels and three poetry collections to date and written for TV shows such as Degrassi and Schitt’s Creek. Wiebke started as a film director, editor, and writer with her directorial debut, Toronto International Film Festival winner Marion Bridge. She launched her first novel, Claremont (Linda Leith Publishing), earlier this year.

CA-T co-president Lee Parpart moderated the discussion and Q&A session. She guided an enlightening conversation focused on writing for both screen and page, and the differences between the two processes. Lee warmed up the audience for the featured discussion by showing video clips from Zoe and Wiebke’s film and TV work. Wiebke shared a trailer for The Saver, a drama she wrote and directed about an orphaned teenager with a desire to build a new life using a self-help book she found at her cleaning job. The tone switched gears when Zoe contributed a short skit called “Buffin’ Your Muffin” that aired on Baroness von Sketch Show and captured oodles of laughs from the audience.

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Editor for Life: Janice Zawerbny, senior editor, HarperCollins Canada

Interview conducted by Adrineh Der-Boghossian.

A career as an editor is often a solo adventure, especially if you’re a freelancer. So we thought one way to better connect with fellow editors was to ask them the Five Ws: who, what, where, when, and why. Read on for some thought-provoking, enlightening tidbits from those of us who choose to work with words to earn our keep.

Black-and-white headshot of Janice Zawerbny

Please tell us a little about yourself, the kind of work you do (and where you live), and how long you’ve been an editor.

I’ve been an editor for more than 20 years in Toronto. I’ve worked in-house for most of my career: I’ve been an acquisitions and developmental editor, who also completes the substantive and stylistic edit after the books have been acquired. I mainly work on literary fiction and non-fiction but have worked on commercial fiction and non-fiction projects as well. I think one of the best traits of a good editor is versatility.

Who: If you could edit one famous author, living or dead, who would it be?

I like working with smart, kind, and humorous people, so I think I’d have to choose David Foster Wallace. I think working with him would have been both fun and intellectually stimulating.

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Editors Unplugged: Get to know our panellists for Editing Comics: From Concept to Publication

Interviews conducted by Indu Singh.

Our popular monthly program meetings often feature a jam-packed agenda. We like to keep our introductions short, so you can hear more from our panellists and less from us! It’s hard to do justice to the incredible wealth of experience these guests bring to the table, so we are offering you a preview with this short Q&A beforehand.

This month, we are honoured to be joined by Steven Andrews, Allison O’Toole, and Megan Kearney. Meet all three panellists in person at this month’s program meeting on October 22.

Raina Telgemeier has been topping bestseller charts since the release of her middle grade autobio, Smile, in 2010 and is credited with changing both the face of comics and the publishing landscape. Her most recent title, Guts, is currently the #1 bestselling book in North America. What other graphic novels do you think are deserving of this attention?

Steven Andrews: I’m fascinated by the recent resurgence in political and historical comics. Congressman John Lewis, inspired by the protest comics he read as a child, created a graphic novel series called March recounting his work in the Civil Rights Movement. Beautifully illustrated by Nate Powell, it carefully navigates a harrowing period of recent history and ties it to the modern day with eternally relevant themes.

Similarly, the comic magazine The Nib collects short illustrated essays and comic journalism. You might find deeply personal stories from refugees, an introduction to net neutrality, or silly satire taken from the headlines in it.

Allison O’Toole: While she’s also quite popular, I think that everything Tillie Walden makes should be an instant bestseller—her work is incredible. Her colour palettes are always unbelievable, her figures very emotive, her characters nuanced, and her emotions complex and engaging. Her work would be accessible and relatable for teen readers, but they’re so smartly written that they’re wonderful for adults as well.

Megan Kearney: Linda Medley has been flying below the radar since the 90s, when she toured with Jeff Smith and Charles Vess, and then sort of dropped out of the spotlight. Castle Waiting is basically perfect, everything I could ever ask for out of a comic—draftsmanship, storytelling, the whole package. The first time I read it, I was shocked. I had never seen something so perfectly suited for my sensibilities. I read it front to back three times in a row.  It’s such a masterful work, I can’t understand how it hasn’t been more lauded!

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Editing Comics: From Concept to Publication with Steven Andrews, Allison O’Toole, and Megan Kearney

"Editing Comics: From Concept to Publication" October 22 program flyer

Date: Tuesday, October 22, 7:00 – 9:30 pm
Location: Viola Desmond Room (3rd floor) at the Centre for Social Innovation (CSI), 192 Spadina Ave.
Map: goo.gl/maps/VRvEPVLumjmuHWbz8

On Tuesday, October 22, Steven Andrews, Allison O’Toole, and Megan Kearney, each a force in the Canadian comic publishing industry, join us for a panel discussion that will introduce us to how independent comics are created and the role an editor plays in the process.

Enter the world of comics in this deep-dive discussion on how editors work with text and images and find their way into this expanding field, and how newcomers can build their comic editing skills with award-winning freelance comics editor Allison O’Toole. Acclaimed cartoonist Megan Kearney will take us through an illustrator’s role and their relationship with editors, and Steven Andrews will provide insight into the production of self-published comic anthologies.

The evening will conclude with a Q&A session with our panellists.

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Editor for Life: Michael Mirolla, publisher and editor-in-chief, Guernica Editions

Interview conducted by Adrineh Der-Boghossian.

A career as an editor is often a solo adventure, especially if you’re a freelancer. So, we thought one way to better connect with fellow editors was to ask them the W5: who, what, where, when, and why. Read on for some thought-provoking, enlightening tidbits from those of us who choose to work with words to earn our keep.

Michael Mirolla

Please tell us a little about yourself, the kind of work you do (and where you live), and how long you’ve been an editor.

Right now, I live in Hamilton (on The Mountain, as they call it around here—the bottom end of the escarpment). Before that, I lived in Montreal, Mount Forest (with its “Happy & High” motto on the water tower), Toronto, and Oakville—with a teaching stint in Nigeria just for a bit of variety. My partner and I have run Guernica Editions for ten years, a Canadian literary publishing house where I serve as editor-in-chief, cook, and bottle washer. One of my tasks is to evaluate and then help edit any accepted manuscripts that come in. The great thing about editing manuscripts at a literary press is you get to work on different genres. We publish between 30 and 40 books a year and the final editing always comes through me. In some cases, the manuscripts are shipped out (a metaphor really, as they are sent electronically) to some freelance editors we have on call. They do the heavy lifting. By the time the manuscript comes to me, I’m mostly looking for consistency and formatting. In other cases, I take on the task of editing from start to finish. That includes checking the final PDF typeset version and even making sure the title and author name are spelled correctly!

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Editor for Life: Maria Golikova, managing editor, House of Anansi Press

Interview conducted by Jennifer D. Foster.

A career as an editor is often a solo adventure, especially if you’re a freelancer. So we thought one way to better connect with fellow editors was to ask them the W5: who, what, where, when, and why. Read on for some thought-provoking, enlightening tidbits from those of us who choose to work with words to earn our keep.

Black and white portrait of Maria Golikova standing in front of bookcase.

Please tell us a little about yourself, the kind of work you do (and where you live), and how long you’ve been an editor.

I started out as an in-house production editor in 2013, and now I work as managing editor at House of Anansi Press in Toronto. I describe my role in the editorial department as a mix of air traffic controller and book doula: I support our team by creating and managing editorial schedules and by liaising with our publishers, in-house editors, freelancers, authors, and members of our design and production departments to ensure books are sent off to press on time and error-free (gulp!). Working at an independent publisher affords a wonderful opportunity to wear many hats, and I’m learning constantly. I also love to work collaboratively and in a supportive role—it’s really the authors and their editors at any given stage of the editorial process who do the heavy lifting.

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Editor for Life: JF Garrard, deputy editor for Ricepaper Magazine

Interview conducted by Jennifer D. Foster.

A career as an editor is often a solo adventure, especially if you’re a freelancer. So we thought one way to better connect with fellow editors was to ask them the W5: who, what, where, when, and why. Read on for some thought-provoking, enlightening tidbits from those of us who choose to work with words to earn our keep.

Please tell us a little about yourself, the kind of work you do (and where you live), and how long you’ve been an editor.

I’m a publisher and writer of speculative fiction, based in Toronto. I fell into editing in 2014 when Derwin Mak (fellow writer/editor) told me that an Asian-Canadian magazine called Ricepaper Magazine wanted to create a speculative fiction issue but didn’t have enough people to do it. I volunteered to help, and we edited an issue together in record time! In 2017, I was recruited by Ricepaper to help with writing film reviews, marketing, and coordinating events. In 2018, my role progressed to editorial and administrative work. My tasks now involve editing, interviewing potential editors, networking, coordinating events, and leading the production work for books and magazines. In parallel timelines, for my own press, Dark Helix Press, I began working on different anthology projects with editorial teams. Over time, I’ve learned a lot from leading projects and working with many diverse editors on magazine and book production. At the moment, I’m also in the middle of finishing up courses for a creative writing certificate from Ryerson University.

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An evening with Michael Redhill and Martha Kanya-Forstner

by Joanne Haskins

Editors Toronto hosted a special branch meeting in January, when acclaimed author Michael Redhill took the stage with his editor, Martha Kanya-Forstner, to discuss the writing and editing of Bellevue Square, the 2017 Scotiabank Giller Prize winner.

Redhill’s novels include Consolation (longlisted for the Man Booker Prize) and Martin Sloane (a finalist for the Giller Prize). He has written a novel for young adults, four collections of poetry and two plays. Redhill also writes a series of crime novels under the name Inger Ash Wolfe and is an editor and Editors Canada member. Kanya-Forstner is editor-in-chief for both Doubleday Canada and McClelland & Stewart. Along with Redhill’s prizewinner, she’s edited David Chariandy’s novel Brother, which won the Rogers Writers’ Trust Fiction Prize, and James Maskalyk’s Life on the Ground Floor, winner of the Hilary Weston Writers’ Trust Prize for Nonfiction.

There were few empty seats and the audience of writers, writing students and editors anticipated an enlightening discussion as two of the most highly regarded figures in Canadian literature today promised to reveal the ins and outs of the editor-writer working relationship. The biggest takeaway of the evening for editors was “Ask questions.”

After introductions of both Redhill and Kanya-Forstner, each discussed their process as writer/writer-editor, and editor. The respect they had for each other was evident throughout the discussion as they listened carefully to one another, built upon each other’s responses, and focused on each other’s strengths and abilities to bring the best of the writer’s words to the page. (more…)