Created by Kate Siklosi for the Toronto International Festival of Authors.
Canadian poet and small press publisher bpNichol once said, “Supporting small press is supporting literature on the cutting edge. Small press is the guardian of literary culture and free speech.” At its heart, small press is about experimentation and community-building. It began as a cost-effective means of circulating innovative, fringe literatures, and in many ways, this scrappy, humble tradition has been preserved while also inviting new approaches to the craft, from the basement-produced zine to the carefully handcrafted, formally-interested art object. These presses meet the public with vulnerability, craft, and risk: in so doing, they create space for many to publish their first works—a space to try, fail, sit with, be awkward and proud in. Perhaps above all, small press is a labour of love: there is little to no money in it, and it is labour-intensive. Nonetheless, it remains labour undertaken by a fierce community that is hungry for creative engagement and exchange, and for amplifying the voices of others.
This map, while not exhaustive of the small presses currently in existence in Canada, gives a taste of the ephemera and wonder on offer across the country. Happy reading!
—Kate Siklosi, Co-Founding Editor, Gap Riot Press