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To publish work of the highest literary merit by world class authors from the mainstream and the margins of Canada’s three founding nations, as well as from both visible and invisible minorities within Canada’s cultural mosaic, and to work with all of our authors to build their national and international literary careers throughout their active writing lives.
We have more than 500 titles in print, which have received well over 300 awards. We have built and continue to keep in print one of the finest and most diverse literary lists in Canada.
Role in Canadian Publishing
Talon’s dedication to the publication of over four decades of excellent Canadian literary work, created through an unbroken line of internal mentorship and succession of ownership in the company, has earned our publishing house the privilege of being one of the pre-eminent independent Anglophone literary presses in Canada. We are the only one of the pioneering “first generation” of Canadian literary publishers of the 1960s to have consistently maintained our success and independence over the past 45 years. We are Canada’s largest independent publisher of drama; do more translations from Québec than anyone else; and publish more Native voices than any other Canadian publisher with the exception of First Nations publisher Theytus Books.
Talon was first established as a poetry magazine with an editorial collective based at Magee High School in Vancouver in 1963, which moved to UBC in 1965. By 1967, the magazine had published so many young writers, Talon decided to become a book publisher for its authors.
Starting out with poetry, including the first books of Canada’s first Parliamentary Poet Laureate, George Bowering (Sticks & Stones), and Ken Belford’s Post Electric Cave Man respectively; the press diversified into drama with Beverley Simons’ Crabdance, George Ryga’s The Ecstasy of Rita Joe and James Reaney’s Colours in the Dark in 1969; into fiction with Jane Rule’s Desert of the Heart and Audrey Thomas’ Songs My Mother Taught Me in 1973; into Québec literature in translation with Robert Gurik’s The Trial of Jean Baptiste M. and Michel Tremblay’s Les Belles Soeurs in 1975; and into non-fiction with the collected works of ethnographer Charles Hill-Tout, The Salish People, Volumes I-IV, in 1979.
In the early 1980s, the press experimented with publishing highly successful commercial titles. However, we found that these not only took too much time away from our new literary work but also threatened, by putting at too great a risk, the company’s solid literary backlist. For these reasons, the press returned to its original, exclusively literary mandate in 1985.
Over the past decade, Talon has diversified its literary non-fiction list to include works on global flash-points in the Middle East and the Balkans, and on Canadian issues and politics.
Talon is a member of the following organizations:
The Literary Press Group
The Association of Book Publishers of B.C.
Canadian Booksellers Association
The Canadian Conference of the Arts
The Association of Canadian Publishers
Today on Meta-Talon, read excerpts from Jack Winter’s new novel, Tales of the Emperor.
Here, then, is my first advice. Collect tales! National ballads, political songs, odes of lamentation by the wearied and the slandered, festive hymns on fixed occasions, murderous anecdotes and tomes, imprecations, work cries, gossip, curses … Collect them, and command their collection, and prefer those by whom they are collected! Is it not by attending their tales that one locates the pulse of the people? …Friday November 13, 2015 in Meta-Talon
Canada’s top playwright takes on teen pregnancy in two comic dramas for young people. Moss Park and Tough! collects two plays by George F. Walker – the iconic Tough!, which first premiered more than twenty years ago, and its sequel, Moss Park, which picks up two years after the first left off. On Meta-Talon today, read part of the opening scene from Moss Park.Thursday November 5, 2015 in Meta-Talon
Almost two decades since her last book of poetry, Judith Fitzgerald returns with the publication of Impeccable Regret, a collection that jostles the truth of experience, shaping intimate loss into a lucent beauty that expiates sorrow. In Impeccable Regret, language hurtles into itself, embodying a negative capability that revives the coupling of amor and mort. On Meta-Talon today, enjoy two poems from this collection.Tuesday November 3, 2015 in Meta-Talon
Like many outgoing young women, Fatima feels rebellious against parents she sees as strict. It just so happens that she is Egyptian-born and wears a hijab. When anti-Muslim graffiti appears on the walls of her school, Fatima transfers to a new school. The guidance counsellor there, Mr. E., does his best to help Fatima fit in, but despite his advice she starts an unlikely friendship with Jorah, who has a reputation for anger issues. Maybe, just maybe, Fatima and Jorah start to, like, like each other …
On Meta-Talon today, read part of the scene from Marcus Youssef’s Jabber in which Fatima and Jorah meet for the first time.
We gratefully acknowledge the financial support of the Canada Council for the Arts; the Government of Canada through the Canada Book Fund (CBF); and the Province of British Columbia through the British Columbia Arts Council for our publishing activities.