The Biblio File Hosted by Nigel Beale
Twenty - forty minute interviews with accomplished authors, publishers, biblio people, conducted by an excitable bibliophile.

Bruce Taylor is a two-time winner of the A.M. Klein Award for Poetry. He has published four books of poetry: Getting On with the Era (1987), Cold Rubber Feet (1989), and Facts (1998). He has been a teacher, a puppeteer, and a freelance journalist. He lives in Wakefield, Quebec. We met recently to talk about his most recent collection No End in Strangeness: New and Selected Poems, (Cormorant Books, 2011) and sundry other topics relating to Canadian poets and poetry. Please listen here:

Direct download: Bruce_Taylor_56_R09_0001_5.mp3
Category:Poets -- posted at: 4:18pm EDT

Peter Cocking, Book Designer
Peter Cocking is a Vancouver-based graphic designer and design teacher. His wide ranging portfolio includes annual reports, airline tickets, snack-food boxes, CD packages, corporate identity programs, newspapers, and magazines. Since 2002 his focus has been on book and typographic design as art director at Douglas & McIntyre Publishing. Peter is the recipient of more than 40 awards for his design work. Peter has lectured at the national conferences of the AIGA and the AAUP, and to the Type Directors Club in New York. In 2009 he became the first Canadian juror at the 'Best Books in the World' competition, held annually in Leipzig, Germany.

We met recently at his offices in Vancouver to talk about D&M and some of the notable books that it has published.

Direct download: Peter_Cocking_R09_0005_3.mp3
Category:Book Designer -- posted at: 10:01pm EDT

Robert Reid (Left) with friend and fellow book designer Tak Tanabe

Born in Alberta in 1927, Robert Reid moved to Vancouver with his family at an early age.  During his second year at the University of British Columbia he spotted a beautiful rubricated book on display in the library which inspired him to make something similar. Two years later, in 1949, he issued his first limited edition, a reprint of Alfred Waddington's The Fraser Mines Vindicated.

This book was well received, and encouraged him to set up his own commercial print shop in downtown Vancouver. Through the 1950s he designed and printed  a lot of beautiful material,  including the B.C. Library Quarterly magazine. During this time he also was typographic advisor to the editorial committee at the University of British Columbia.

During the sixties he printed three limited editions - The Journal of Norman Lee (1959), Kuthan's Menagerie of Interesting Zoo Animals (1960), and poet John Newlove's first collection, Grave Sirs: (1962) - before moving to Montreal for a job as director of production and design at McGill University Press. Here he published his magnum opus, The Lande Bibliography of Canadiana. It remains one of Canada's most beautifully crafted books.

In the mid seventies Robert left for New York, where he spent the next 25 years packaging books for major publishers. He returned to Vancouver in 1998 where he continues to participate in the making of beautiful books with, among others, Heavenly Monkey Press, and the Alcuin Society. We met recently in Vancouver to talk about his impressive, life-long achievements.

Direct download: Robert_Reid_entire_56_R09_0004_4.mp3
Category:Book Designer -- posted at: 12:53pm EDT

Crispin Elsted, Canada's own larger (about a foot taller) than life William Morris.

Barbarian Press was established in 1977 in Kent, England where Jan and Crispin Elsted worked with Graham Williams at the Florin Press. With three flatbed hand presses and many cases of type, the couple returned home to Canada in 1978 to set up shop in Mission, British Columbia, about 50 miles east of Vancouver in the Fraser Valley.  The press’s publications range from new translations of poetry and prose, Victorian melodrama, and new poetry to bibliography, illustrated classics, typography, and books on wood engraving. This last has become a particular speciality since the publication in 1995 of Endgrain: Contemporary Wood Engraving in North America, which was greeted with considerable acclaim, and is now widely sought after. This has spawned an ongoing series of books called Endgrain Editions, each showing selected work of a single engraver, printed from the original blocks, with an introduction and a catalogue of major works.

I met with the Elsteds recently to talked to them, in their home, about, among other things, their literary backgrounds; gifts, hands and the discovery of artisanal skills; aspirations and influences; the continuity of human experience; books and students and work experiences; doing all of this together; retirement at age 30; hand presses, hand-made paper and hand setting type, Canadians in England studying Americans; publishing the canon; wood engravings; favorite children; wine and typeface connoisseurship; books as unique performances, and the evils of the digital age. Please listen here:

This interview is part of our Book Publisher Series which focuses on the histories of important British, American and Canadian publishing houses, and how best to go about collecting their works.

Direct download: Elsteds_56_R09_0002.mp3
Category:Publisher's Histories -- posted at: 9:47pm EDT