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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
By Carl Peters
On Meta-Talon today, please enjoy the full text of the presentation given by Carl Peters at the Modern Languages Association convention in New York City on January 7, 2018. This talk responds to the question posed in the MLA convention session Rhetoric in Post-Factual Times: how to perform textual analysis in a time when facts are no longer the marker of good argumentation. (Peters’s talk is also related to his work on Stein; Peters is recently the author of Studies in Description: Reading Gertrude Stein’s Tender Buttons.)Thursday December 21, 2017 in Meta-Talon
Our little end-of-year present to you is a miniature from M.A.C. Farrant’s delightful collection of very short stories, The World Afloat. Happy Holidays from Talonbooks!
Our Spiritual Lives
We’ve seen stains on tea towels that look like Jesus Christ’s face so we know he exists. And we know that dried seaweed can save the Douglas fir from extinction so we hang dried seaweed from the tree’s branches.Tuesday December 5, 2017 in Meta-Talon
A finalist for the 2006 Governor General’s Literary Award for Drama, In a World Created by a Drunken God has been in steady demand since it was first published 11 years ago. From 2006 until the end of 2017, In a World Created by a Drunken God was in print with its original cover, which showed moving boxes and a flip phone. Now, Talonbooks has reprinted In a World Created by a Drunken God for the fourth time, and it wears a dynamic, new cover …Tuesday September 26, 2017 in Meta-Talon
From Oral to Written is a study of Native literature published in Canada between 1980 and 2010, a catalogue of amazing books that sparked the embers of a dormant voice. Leading Aboriginal author Tomson Highway surveys the first wave of Native writers published in Canada, highlighting the most gifted authors and the best stories they have told, offering non-Native readers access to reconciliation and understanding, and at the same time engendering among Native readers pride in a stellar body of work. On Meta-Talon, read a selection from Highway’s prologue.
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.