Description of the Event

Publishing Unbound was a three-day event that took place February 9-11, 2018. It was organized collaboratively by the Association of Book Publishers of British Columbia, the Magazine Association of British Columbia, and Simon Fraser University’s Publishing Program, with additional assistance and funding from Dalhousie University’s Department of English. The goal of the event was to bring together stakeholders in Canadian independent publishing—including authors, educators, scholars, and publishing professionals—for an intensive discussion of systemic barriers to access in Canada’s publishing industry. The event began from the premise that structural issues of racism, sexism, ableism, and cis-supremacy have shaped this industry, while recognizing that those involved in the industry, at every level, are working actively to develop strategies for enacting real change. 

Publishing Unbound engaged in focused dialogue around four key topics: publishing in the wake of the Truth and Reconciliation Commission, the activist roles of small presses in Canada, the links between magazines and social change, and practical models for change within the industry (including intergenerational mentorship) (see Appendix A for the event program). Our goal was to produce a practical set of materials, including recommendations for resources, for publishers, authors, educators, and researchers. These materials include an annotated bibliography as well as this report, both to be hosted at, with recommendations for future areas of research and for future iterations of similar events. 

The overwhelming agreement of participants at Publishing Unbound was that more such events are needed, held in other regions of the country and organized by other stakeholders. To this end, we are also happy to share our organizing decisions, participant rationale, and summary of the event. Our hope is that Publishing Unbound will be the first of many similar events dedicated to supporting greater equity in the Canadian publishing industry.