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Rural BC press launches imprint for queer women writers

‘It’s time for queer women of Canada to have a voice,’ says Caitlin Press

A lesbian-owned and -operated publishing company in a remote area of BC is expanding its mandate to specifically focus on the works of emerging queer women writers.

Vici Johnstone, publisher of Caitlin Press in Sechelt, BC, says the new imprint — a branch of the press with its own name and brand identity — will be launched in spring 2016 and will be dedicated to publishing the literary fiction, non-fiction and poetry of queer women writers.

Johnstone says the company is open to all kinds of writing submissions from lesbian, bisexual, pansexual and transgender women. “We’re focusing on literature from queer women and we’re trying to be as inclusive as possible,” she explains.

Johnstone, who bought the business in 2008 when it was a struggling rural-focused publishing house in the Central Interior of BC, says she hopes the new imprint will carve out a needed niche for emerging queer women authors living in remote areas of Canada.

“We’re the rural press. We’re quite interested in rural stories,” she says. “We want to know what it’s like to be a queer person living in Prince George . . . or what it is about the Kootenays that attracts the queer community.”

Johnstone says her company, which gets “hundreds and hundreds of submissions,” publishes approximately 20 books annually. Now four of those books will be explicitly queer-women focused.

“It’s always been a part of my initial idea to expand and create an imprint,” she says. “We’ve now made a new mandate with our vision.”

While some publishers in Canada effectively serve the queer community, Johnstone says few emphasize the talents of emerging queer women authors. “A lot of presses are willing to publish queer stuff but we’re actually seeking it out,” she says.

“We’re trying to create community. We’re hoping to encourage women who have thought about writing but haven’t,” she says. “It’s long overdue.”

Johnstone says the new imprint is already gaining momentum and the company has received many submissions.

“It’s time for queer women of Canada to have a voice and a community interested in their voice and their stories,” she says.