Sylvia Skene, MagsBC executive director and Melissa Shaw, intern, travelled to Victoria to participate in The Association of Book Publishers of British Columbia's third annual BC Book Day and engage with magazine association members.
They wended their way into the Oaklands neighbourhood to greet The Claremont Review editor-in-chief Jody Carrow. Next they met with Page One Publishing group publisher Georgina Camilleri and president Lise Gyorkos at their office just off Douglas Street to receive copies of Douglas and YAM Magazine to give away. The office was graced with white flower arrangements from Douglas Magazine's 2016 Ten to Watch Awards, which highlights the best new businesses on Vancouver Island.
Left to Right: Page One Publishing president Lise Gyorkos, MagsBC executive director Sylvia Skene and Page One's group publisher Georgina Camilleri
Sylvia and Melissa Shaw then fought through rush hour traffic until they reached the Craigflower Bridge and passed through View Royal and Colwood into Metchosin to reach the pastoral location of Small Farm Canada and Aquaculture North America. A converted barn served as their office, which was located on a rolling hill next to a pasture dotted with grazing sheep.
With boxes of magazines loaded into the trunk, the team made a beeline for downtown Victoria to attend an evening meet and greet at Munro's Books, which was recently ranked third on a National Geographic list of best bookstores in the world.
B.C. Jobs and Labour Minister Shirley Bond, Creative BC CEO Prem Gill, and ABPBC 2016 executive board president Ruth Linka, who is also editorial director at Orca Book Publishers, presented speeches to the crowd of editors, publishers, librarians and others mingling at the bookstore.
BC Jobs and Labour Minister Shirley Bond at Munro's Books
The next morning MagsBC staff set up the display of member magazines in the B.C. legislature rotunda for BC Book Day, which also included tables set up in the adjacent reception hall.
Representatives from various publishing houses, authors, MLAs, the Greater Victoria Public Library, the Victoria Book Prize Society, and B.C. writers' festivals participated in the ABPBC organized-event.
The Honourable Judith Guichon, Lieutenant Governor of British Columbia, spoke to attendees about the Write to Read Project, which has opened ten libraries in remote First Nations communities with another two planned to open in the future.
Vancouver-West End NDP MLA Spencer Chandra Herbert thanked everyone for coming and highlighted the importance of the B.C. Book and magazine publishing industry. Talonbooks president Kevin Williams received the official BC Book Day proclamation from North Vancouver-Seymour MLA Jane Thornwaite.
“Book publishing in British Columbia is an important part of the creative economy and one of the most rapidly growing sectors of the world,” Thornwaite said.
She added that the province's publishing industry employed about 300 people in 2013 and an estimated $800,000 to one million dollars was spent on freelance contractors.
According to Williams, publishers could not do their work without support from the BC Arts Council, the book publishing tax credit and Creative BC.
Left to Right: MLA Spencer Chandra Hebert, MLA Jane Thornwaite, Talonbooks president Kevin Williams, MLA Linda Reid and Lt.-Gov. Judith Guichon
He said government aid for B.C. publishers has helped create a world-class and worldwide industry matched by few countries.
“Prizewinners, bestsellers, ecology, poetry, drama, business ... publishing our great B.C. authors is the goal of B.C. publishers,” Williams said.
“Working collaboratively with our communities, we seek to have an outstanding group of books to present each and every book day and we hope to be back here for many years to come,” he added.
Following the speeches, Victoria's 2015 youth poet laureate Zoe Duhaime gave an impassioned presentation of her poem, "The Rabbit Writes" and "A Parliament of Poets," receiving thunderous applause.
Then the crowd dispersed to peruse the books and magazines spread out across almost two dozen tables and chat with various representatives.
In the afternoon, the team drove along Beach Drive to the University of Victoria and visited The Malahat Review's publisher John Barton.
The Malahat Review is located in a corner of the Medieval Studies department at UVIC, a cozy organized office with sun streaming through the windows and shelves of past issues lining the walls. John and his staff chatted with Sylvia and Melissa before handing them a box of back issues to give away at Creative Industries Week.
The Malahat Review Staff. Left to Right: Garth Martens, Rhonda Batchelor, and Editor John Barton.
Their final stop before heading to the Swartz Bay ferry was the home office of The Pacific Rim Review of Books, to meet publisher and editor Richard Olafson in the emerging multicultural Hillside-Quadra neighbourhood. For those not familiar with PRRB, the newspaper-format magazine reviews Canadian and international titles.
BC Book Day provided an opportunity for our executive director and our intern to meet MagsBC members on Vancouver Island, network with others in the industry and promote B.C. magazines within the Victoria legislature to MLAs, aides, staff, librarians and the public. Melissa and Sylvia would like to say thanks to everyone for making the event a success.
- Written by Melissa Shaw, Summer Intern at MagsBC