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Making Space for Vancouver’s Literary Community: A Literary Arts Centre Update

The Association of Book Publishers of BC recently held an information session June 22 at The Post at 750 to discuss the creation of a Vancouver Literary Arts Centre.

“There is nothing like it in Canada so this could really put Vancouver on the map if we can get this going,” said ABPBC executive director Margaret Reynolds.

Several MagsBC member publications including subTerrain and SAD Mag have expressed interest in becoming future tenants. The Writers’ Exchange, ZG Communications, Talonbooks, Arsenal Pulp Press, Anvil Press and ABPBC are also interested in securing office space at the centre.

Margaret said the idea to create a Literary Arts Centre came out of a request from their members to look for a solution to the issue of high administrative costs in the city.

She said the province has funded three feasibility studies and is “completely behind the project.”

Talonbooks and ABPBC board president Kevin Williams said fundraising would support meeting rooms, event space and offices. The association hopes to raise $2.75 million for the centre, which includes $1 million for renovations to the leased space and $1.75 million to cover any funding shortfalls within the first five years of operation.

Kevin said other countries have similar literary spaces, giving examples from Norway, Australia, the U.K. and the U.S.

BC Artscape, a non-profit organization affiliated with the Toronto-based Artscape, has partnered with ABPBC to find an ideal space for the centre, which would be approximately 10,740 square foot in size.

BC Artscape president Genevieve Bucher said finding an affordable option in Vancouver will be challenging and previous Artscape developments in Toronto have relied on a public-private partnership model.

“It’s partnership with the city and then private development through a density for amenity situation where a developer might get a couple extra floors of a building and in turn they provide a cultural amenity, ” she said.

The Vancouver Literary Arts Centre is expected to open in 2018.

For more information, to indicate your interest and commitment to being a tenant, or to help the centre become a reality, please contact Margaret Reynolds at ABPBC,

— By Melissa Shaw, Journalist and Summer Intern with MagsBC, June 2016.