Kirk Howard’s Speech at Dundurn’s 40th Anniversary Party

Kirk Howard’s Speech at Dundurn’s 40th Anniversary Party

Posted on June 13 by admin
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The following is a complete transcript of the speech given by Dundurn president and publisher, Kirk Howard, at the event:
I’d like to welcome you all here tonight to our 40th anniversary party. Lord,  40 years! 40 years; 2500 books; it hardly seems possible. It seems hardly possible that  40 years have passed since as a callow and somewhat confused and decidedly slimmer 29 year old I got the papers from the lawyer to set  up Dundurn Press.

Book publishing has been called in the Canadian context “a perilous trade” and that of course was Roy MacSkimming’s title for his book on the history of publishing in Canada. In a similar vein, there was a history of Methuen published called 1000 Capricious Chances. And John Morgan Gray the eminent publisher at Macmillan of Canada called the first volume of his autobiography Fun tomorrow. He never lived to write the second volume; so we’ll never know if he did have any fun later.

But on a more optimistic note George Weidenfeld of Weidenfeld and Nicholson called his autobiography Remembering my good friends (presumably he meant the authors he had published).
Sir Stanley Unwin somewhat ominously titled his autobiography The Truth about a Publisher, and Frederic Warburg chose for his book a curious and these days decidedly inapt title An Occupation for Gentlemen.

But I expect all these publishers, gentlemen or  otherwise, found  that while publishing has its moments of disappointment and frustration, more often, much more often, it has its moments of pleasure and accomplishment. What other occupation gives you a chance to spend most of your time working with creative and intelligent people.

First of all, our authors of course without whose imagination and talent and determination, there would be no books, but also all those others who work in the industry bringing the writer to the reader:
the librarians, the booksellers, the people who work in the various agencies all of whom have helped create a national literature in this country, a national literature of which any country would be proud.

So let’s raise a glass to book publishing – long may it flourish!