Fish Gotta Swim Editions
Madeira Park, BC and Dordrecht, The Netherlands , British Columbia
Anik See is a Canadian writer and audio documentary maker living in The Netherlands. She is the author of three books, and produces award-winning radio and podcasts. Her writing, both fiction and non-fiction, has been nominated for several awards, and her articles have appeared in many magazines, including The Walrus, Brick and The National Post. She is Fish Gotta Swim Editions’ designer and co-editor.
Theresa Kishkan is a writer living on the Sechelt Peninsula on the west coast of Canada. Her work has appeared in many literary journals and she has published 14 books, as well as 3 chapbooks. She is Fish Gotta Swim’s editor extraordinaire, postmaster and chief of acquisitions.
Tell us a bit about your press. How did you start? Who are your influences, in Canada and beyond? What is your mission?
Our press began during a conversation in which we had been discussing novellas and realizing that most publishers no longer issued them as single texts. We love the form and want to showcase it in small beautiful books.
What about small press publishing is particularly exciting to you right now?
The possibilities are more apparent. Printing costs are accessible, and books can be promoted through multiple social media channels. We’ve also seen that people really value small presses and the novella form in general – a form that the traditional publishing houses tend to dismiss as unviable. Small presses provide vital contributions to the literary conversation and that conversation would be less lively and textured without them. The books are often innovative and challenging, exploring and bringing together fresh language and sophisticated visual design. In the face of corporate influence in so many aspects of our daily lives, the independent and often subversive culture of small press publishing is more necessary than ever.
How does your press work to engage with your immediate literary community, and community at large?
We like to think that our small list of novellas will find readers in unexpected places. What we do at FGS is employ the writer’s network – something we as published writers feel isn’t taken advantage of at traditional publishing houses. The novella has its devotees, it has its following, and we’re proud to extend a welcome anyone who wants a brief and beautiful book.
Tell us about three of your publications. What makes them special, needed, and/or unique?
Our publications in general are unique because they focus on the novella form. We’ve just published two novellas so far, with a third scheduled for spring, 2021.
Our first, Winter Wren, takes readers to an isolated beach on Canada’s west coast where a artist learns to paint the view at dusk and who also befriends a man who accompanied his collector father to remote Indigenous villages in the late 19th century. Winter Wren has a distinct voice, that of a young woman finding her way through her ambition and the natural world in the 1970s.
Our second, Tower, is a contemporary retelling of an old fairy tale, full of lush language and subtle shape-shifting. Frances Boyle dissects the long-told tale and deftly applies it to contemporary issues in a way that really resounds.
Our third, Wanda, explores childhood in an Okanagan Valley orchard community during World War Two and reminds us that strangers in our midst are not what we expect them to be.
How have the current multiple global crises impacted your work with the press?
They haven’t really, though we’re anticipating more submissions in the coming months given that a lot of writers have had more time to spend on their work than usual! Because there are two of us keeping Fish Gotta Swim Editions alive, oceans apart, we’ve learned to work together by email and the odd video call. We were socially-distanced before everyone else. Our readers find us online or in small bookstores or by word of mouth and that hasn’t changed. We ship via the post office, our orders come by phone or email, and because we do this on a shoe-string, we expect to be able to continue.
By Barbara Lambert
Susanna Hall, Her Book
By Jennifer Falkner