Contemporary Canadian Literature with a Distinctly Urban Twist

Anvil Press

A Short History of Anvil Press

In 1990, Anvil Press was nothing more than a dream. A small, second floor, one-room office for $350 a month, a couple of desks, two PC home computers (as they were called), a light table, waxer, coffee maker, sign for the door, and suddenly we were (sort of) legit. The plan was to produce a lit-mag (subTerrain) and a list of literary books (ambitious, yes, but we didn’t know any better!).

Flyers were made, calls went out, manuscripts slowly began rolling in. Much reading ensued, potential acquisitions were argued over and finally settled on. Sketches, photographs, and cover mock-ups began to appear on the wall over the art area; books were designed – it was all DIY, right? We had no idea. A stroll down a blind alley. But we were young(ish), we had time on our side. It was all very organic – fuelled by pots of coffee, day-old baked goods, cigarettes, whisky. Sheafs of paper were handed around – handfuls of poems, stories, novels-in-progress, rants, unclassifiable prose. Ideas, critiques, feedback, revisions, edits, draft upon draft, and finally books being laid out, manuscripts typeset, galleys proofed, corrected, saved as postscript files, and soon, haltingly, nervously sent off on disk by courier to printers across the country where the files would be ripped, output, shot to film, burned to plates, and onto a press that would set the whole process in stone – well, ink and paper.

Then, some weeks later, a truck driver appeared in the doorway, shipping waybill dangling from his fingers, announcing a delivery. Alertness. Silence. Excitement. Boxes carried up the flight of stairs and into the office, the X-Acto knife – carefully – to the tape, and the opening of the box to reveal its contents: books. Brand new, perfect looking books. And wafting from the cases, the unmistakable scent of freshly printed books. A beautiful sight to behold. We all snapped one up, fingering the pages, admiring the cover, putting it to our faces for a smell of the thing – all the work, all the steps, all the hours, now manifest before our eyes.

We were hooked. Still are.

Now in our thirty-fourth year of publishing, Anvil has firmly established itself as a publisher of progressive, contemporary Canadian literature with an entrenched urban sensibility. An award-winning publisher of poetry, fiction, and non-fiction, Anvil has become known for its quality books and unconventional literary work. National — and local — in its vision, Anvil remains committed to its East Vancouver roots and doesn’t shy away from work from the wrong side of the tracks.

Over the past two and a half decades we have survived bad plumbing, rent hikes, eviction, bankrupt distributors, the decimation of indie booksellers, big box retailers, rising paper costs, soaring postal rates, the arrival of ebooks, and numerous pronouncements on the “death of the book.” And through it all, there have always been people who have wanted to hold, buy, and read our books. And so long as those folks exist, we will continue to publish good books by great authors.

We thank all of you for your support over the years and hope you enjoy this season’s offerings!

Anvil Press titles are represented by Publishers Group Canada and distributed in Canada by PGC/Raincoast Books Toll-Free: 1-800-663-5714. U.S. booksellers, please get in touch with us directly. Individual book orders can be placed on this website.

Contact Us
Anvil Press Publishers
P.O. Box 3008
Station Terminal
Vancouver, British Columbia

Publisher: Brian Kaufman
Associate Publisher: Karen Green
Publishing Assistant: Jessica Key

TEL: (604) 876-8710
EMAIL: [email protected]

Funders & Supporters Anvil Press gratefully acknowledges the financial assistance of the Canada Council for the Arts, the Canada Book Fund (CBF), the B.C. Arts Council and the Government of British Columbia via the Book Publishing Tax Credit.

Land Acknowledgment Anvil Press operates on the traditional and unceded territory of the Coast Salish peoples.