Winnipeg, MB , Manitoba
Founder and Team
Karen Haughian was a founding member of the Montreal publishing house Nuage Editions – which she later moved to Winnipeg and renamed Signature Editions. She has served on the boards of the regional publishing associations AEALQ and AMBP, the LitDistCo board, and is the current Chair of the Board of the Literary Press Group of Canada. Karen has a master’s degree in English, and taught English at Concordia University for five years before devoting herself full-time to publishing. In 2016, Karen also took over as publisher of J. Gordon Shillingford Publishing.
Our mystery editor Doug Whiteway has published 8 crime novels under his nom de plume C.C. Benson, including his Her Majesty Investigates series and his Father Christmas series, as well as co-authored several non-fiction books. Folowing many years as a journalist at the Winnipeg Tribune and the Winnipeg Free Press he served as associate editor, then editor, at The Beaver, Canada’s History Magazine from 1998 to 2007, He has also been the writer-in-residence at the Winnipeg Public Library. Doug’s latest book is Paul is Dead: A Novel, which was shortlisted for the McNally Robinson Book of the Year award.
Ashley Brekelmans has worked in the sales and marketing of books since 2011, including working at McNally Robinson Booksellers and at Orca Book Publishers. Originally from Winnipeg, Ashley moved to British Columbia in 2017 where she completed her master’s degree in publishing from Simon Fraser University. She also has a bachelor’s degree in both education and English literature from the University of Manitoba. Ashley returned to Winnipeg and joined Signature Editions as the marketing assistant in 2019.
Tell us a bit about your press. How did you start? Who are your influences, in Canada and beyond? What is your mission?
Signature Editions is a literary press with an eclectic list of quality fiction, non-fiction, poetry and drama. Originally named Nuage Editions, the press was formed in Montreal in 1986 as a 16-person publishing collective. The first desktop publisher in Quebec, we put out two to four books a year for the next five years. In 1992 one of the partners, Karen Haughian, took over the reins and ramped up production, releasing six to ten titles a year, and she’s been running the show ever since. In 1997, after eleven years of operation in Montreal, the press moved to Winnipeg and in the year 2000 was renamed Signature Editions.
Signature Editions is committed to discovering and developing new Canadian writing of literary merit, regardless of genre. We publish many first-book authors and work with them to develop their craft. Prose titles are edited in-house by owner/editor Karen Haughian, who has a Master’s degree in English as well as five years’ experience teaching English at Concordia University in addition to the hands-on experience of editing manuscripts gained through 27 years of publishing. Fiction and non-fiction selections are made by Karen.
What about small press publishing is particularly exciting to you right now?
With COVID forcing us to move events online we are now able to reach audiences across the country. No longer are book launches limited to local readers.
How does your press work to engage with your immediate literary community, and community at large?
Signature Editions is a member of the Association of Manitoba Book Publishers, the Literary Press Group of Canada and the Association of Canadian Publishers.
Independent bookstores are the backbone of every city’s literary community and we collaborate with our local independents as well as other independents across the country for events and online promotion.
How have the current multiple global crises impacted your work with the press?
In March and April we hosted an ebook giveaway, providing readers access to quality Canadian literature as they adjusted to isolation during this unprecedented time.
In-person events had to be cancelled so we have shifted to online platforms to celebrate new releases and reach out to readers.
In order to social distance we’ve had to adapt our work flow to accommodate everyone working from home.
Bookstores shut down for months and then gradually began to reopen, but because they don’t have the pre-pandemic foot traffic, they are buying far fewer books.
Reverberations: A Daughter’s Meditations on Alzheimer’s
October 1, 2019
Over 500,000 Canadians are currently living with dementia, a number expected to grow to nearly 1,000,000 in the next 15 years. Marion Agnew’s Reverberations chronicles how her exceedingly accomplished mother was taken by Alzheimer’s, and how her entire family is affected.
October 1, 2020
This collection of short stories by Giller-nominated BC writer Genni Gunn which is set in BC, Ontario and around the world, beautifully demonstrates why Canada is so well-regarded in the short story genre.
St. Boniface Elegies
April 1, 2019
Rich and complex, this award-winning collection by Catherine Hunter is firmly rooted in Winnipeg, with sorties to Banff and Maine as well as Ireland, Hunter’s ancestral home.