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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 close to 500 titles that 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 (Sticks & Stones) of Canada’s first Parliamentary Poet Laureate, George Bowering, 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 we share a poem from Sachiko Murakami’s forthcoming collection of poetry, Get Me Out of Here – available next week! Murakami will read from this collection at Talon’s annual spring poetry launches in Vancouver on April 23 and Toronto on April 28, 2015.Thursday April 9, 2015 in Meta-Talon
Today on Meta-Talon we share a poem from Jónína Kirton’s new collection of poetry, page as bone – ink as blood, which is newly available. Kirton will read from this collection at Talon’s annual spring poetry launch in Vancouver on April 23, 2015.Thursday April 2, 2015 in Meta-Talon
Photo by Daniel Canty
Daniel Canty, author of Wigrum (2013) and Les États-unis du vent (_to be published in English by Talonbooks in Fall 2015), recently completed a six-month residency at the Studio du Québec, in London, England. In this series of dispatches, Canty shares his reflections on some of that city’s foggy history and the sometimes foggy process of writing.Thursday March 26, 2015 in Meta-Talon
Limbinal is a new collection of poetry by Oana Avasilichioaei. As its hybrid title suggests, speaks in the porous space between a limb’s articulations and a liminal border. Formally diverse, the pieces in Limbinal intersect prose fragments with incantatory dialogues, poetic footnotes with photographic phrases, rebellious translations with liquid transpositions. “All Aboard!” appears on page 41 of this book.
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.