Biblioasis

Biblioasis is an independent literary press based in Windsor, Ontario.

Biblioasis opened as a book store in July, 1998, located at 519 Ouellette Avenue. It was founded by the Chatham, Ontario born Dan Wells, who meant the store to act “as an oasis for book lovers in what might otherwise be a dry land.” The store would close this location in 2007.

By the early 2000s Wells decided he wanted to branch off into book publishing. With the help of Dennis Priebe, a former type-setter for Geist magazine and Arsenal Pulp Press, Biblioasis began its career as a publishing house. Dennis Priebe would serve of the publisher’s Production Manager until 2013.

Biblioasis’ first book was published in 2004, a collection of poems called Straight Razor by Windsor poet Salvatore Ala. This was quickly followed by two collections by the Bosnian-Canadian writer Goran Simic.

In 2004 the critic and author John Metcalf began working for Biblioasis as the Fiction Editor.

Wells partnered with University of Guelph professor and author Stephen Henighan to establish the Biblioasis International Translation Series in 2007. This series publishes translated literature from Europe, Latin America, Africa and the minority languages of Canada into English.

In 2010 a Biblioasis published book was nominated was the Scotiabank Giller Prize short-list. This book was Light Lifting by Alexander MacLeod. The novel went on to sell 20,000 copies, which attracted the attention of press, literary agents, and authors from outside of Windsor to Biblioasis.

In 2012, Biblioasis opened a new bookstore in Windsor’s Walkerville neighbourhood, at 1520 Wyandotte Street East.

Biblioasis launched a subsidiary called ReSet Books in 2014, republishing older titles by the likes of Caroline Adderson, Terry Griggs and Norman Levine.

In 2015 three Biblioasis publications were selected for the Scotiabank Giller Prize long-list: Confidence by Russell Smith, Arvida by Samuel Archibald, and Martin John by Anakana Schofield. Both Martin John and Arvida were selected for the Giller Prize short-list.

Timeline

– Founded as bookstore in 1998.
– First book published in 2004, Straight Razor by Salvatore Ala.
– Started Biblioasis International Translation Series in 2007.
– New store location opened in Walkerville neighbourhood in 2012.
– Lauched ReSet Books in 2014

Sources:

Biblioasis is no mirage, The globe and Mail, October 2, 2015

Biblioasis celebrates 10 years of publishing, Windsor Star, September 11, 2014.

Biblioasis website (about)

Biblioasis International Translation Series