Publishing five books in a year as a small press is no small feat. However, with support from our Book Publishing Grant – Publishers’ Stream, that’s exactly what Regina-based, non-profit cooperative Éditions de la nouvelle plume (ÉNP) did in 2022. The funding meant books by two Fransaskois authors–Jean-Pierre Picard and David Baudemont– one Regina-based Inuit artist Brandy Hanna, as well as two Franco-Albertan authors in Hélène Flamand and Pierrette Requier, made it into the world. ÉNP used the funding to hire a host of publishing professionals to accelerate the books’ marketing.
It’s a banner year for an organization that has graced Saskatchewan’s literary landscape since 1984.Three of the books are meant for young readers. Picard’s book, Le Grand Barrage (The Big Dam) is aimed at those aged 8-12 and explores the story of a beaver building infrastructure with an underlying message reminding young readers to not forget their own histories. Meanwhile, Hanna’s Corneille apporte la lumière is a translation of an Inuit legend that also includes a glossary and information about the Inuit community in Canada, and is fully bilingual in both French and Inuktituk. Lastly, Hélène Flamand’s Brigitte et le caneton (Brigitte and the duckling) is aimed as a first book to read for young children.
For those who are older, long-time Saskatoon author David Baudemont’s Départs (Departures) is a book that the publisher describes as “a collection of eight short stories set in France, Africa and Western Canada about leaving, either real or imagined.” Lastly, Requier’s Petites nouvelles du Last Best Ouest is a translation and adaptation of her 2009 Frontenac House title, details from the edge of the village. The book combines the English and French languages in a way that reflects many Franco-Albertan communities.
As for how the grant was spent, ÉNP brought in editors and graphic artists to make their season stand out. They also hired a promotional agent to improve the chances of their books making it into readers’ hands, whether that was via libraries or bookstores. According to administrator Katarina Fasiagova, 2022 also meant an exciting new development on the staffing side of the organization.
“Les Éditions’ greatest success this past year has been the hiring of Martine Noël-Maw as our Managing Editor. She brings a vast knowledge of publishing, both as an author and an editor. We are sure that Martine will add even greater stability to the ÉNP and will continue the work done in the past five years to bring a greater level of professionalism to the publishing house.”
The support from Creative Saskatchewan also meant that ÉNP was able to publish more than they planned. Hanna’s book wasn’t originally slated for this year and ebooks were able to be created for Flamand’s eight children’s books. Petites nouvelles du Last Best Ouest also has a bilingual audiobook that was released in December.
ÉNP has already released their latest book, Sarperlipopette, Suzette (My Goodness, Suzette) by Franco-Albertan author Danielle Lavoie. It’s a book about a child who is making friends with animals and making relationships that her grandmother does not particularly understand. With a call for their 2023-24 season safely in the rear-view mirror, and their sights firmly set on an upcoming publishing schedule that is also funded by Creative Saskatchewan, it’s clear that Éditions de la nouvelle plume is keen to add to their roster of the more than forty authors they’ve published in their 38 years. Here at Creative Saskatchewan, we’re glad that we continue to be a part of the projects that help elevate French-speaking voices in our province and in Canada.
Whether you’re an author, a publisher, or both, Creative Saskatchewan has a funding program to suit your needs. Our Book Publishers’ Production Grant allows for book production costs up to $80,000 (or 50% of eligible expenses, whichever is lesser). If your project involves author contributions, like a self or hybrid-published piece, then the Author-Funded Stream is what you’ll want to take a look at. Depending on the scope of the work, these grants could mean between $15,000 to $25,000.
By John Loeppky.