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Image: Partridge Island Publishing

Author-Run Publishing House Launches Latest In Atlantic-Canadian Anthology Series

By Scott Pettigrew Dec 3, 2022 | 8:00 AM

Writers from across the Saint John region, and Atlantic Canada, will showcase their work at the launch of the anthology Lights in the Fog at the Saint John Public Library on December 3.

Each of the Fog series’ four books is a compilation of short stories, located in real places in Atlantic Canada and centered around a common theme.

“For the first one, our authors were all told to choose a house in Saint John. They had to try to figure out what was going on behind closed doors,” says Amanda Evans, managing director of Partridge Island Publishing and of the debut Fog anthology, Houses in the Fog.

Even though the stories are connected to the theme, the work can touch on any genre and go in any direction.

“For Memories in the Fog, it was either a memory that actually existed based on things that happened like the Groundhog Gale, or it could be memories that you made up that could have happened.”

“In Secrets in the Fog, it could be any kind of secret. It could be; I killed the person and buried them under my rosebush. It could be; I tore a tag off the mattress 20 years ago and I felt guilty ever since. It’s very wild.”

Lights in the Fog the light can be the light of the sun, the light of the stars. There’s the East Point spotlight. It can be any kind of light source you want,” she hints.

Independent publisher

The anthology was the perfect vehicle for Partridge Island Publishing, a labour of love run by the writers who contribute the stories.

The seed for the company was planted in 2019, with the formation of a Saint John writers group. Many of the aspiring authors were frustrated at the lack of opportunity to get their work published due, in part, to a lack of publishing houses in the region, as well as to the obstacles of getting a literary agent without having first had a piece published.

That’s when they decided to take matters into their own hands.

“There are a lot of writers in Saint John that are trying to get published,” Evans says. “We got the idea; let’s see if we can get published with a publisher local to us. But we couldn’t find one. So, we decided that we’re going to start our own publishing house.”

After getting the legal framework in order and organizing themselves into a publishing house team, Partridge Island Publishing launched its first book in December of 2019.

The writers group still exists, with participants supporting each other’s writing and providing feedback, while also enjoying group potlucks, birthday celebrations, and social outings.

Local support

All of the books in the Fog series are available at select locations around town, including Indigo East Point, Coles at McAllister Place and at local comic book shop Heroes’ Beacon.

“Heroes’ Beacon got on its feet from crowdfunding, due to that we’ve always held a “Pay it forward” attitude,” says co-owner Chris Duffield.

“While traditional novels are not something we typically carry, supporting the incredibly talented artists and writers in our community is important to us.  That is why we carry locally made comics and novels.  Dedicating some shelf space to local talent to help others become better known and launch their own careers is the least we can do.”

That spirit of community and helping each other achieve their potential is what got Partridge Island Publishing started, and what keeps it going now.

“We make it a goal to publish new authors,” says Evans “Part of the reason we do that is because once you’ve had your name in a book, you can say; this is the book I’m in, this is the publishing house, and other publishers will take you seriously. “

“Some of the people that have published with us have gone on. They’re writing with other companies and they’re getting accepted more often because they can say; I have this on my list of accomplishments. That’s when people start getting noticed.”

Lifting each other up and helping create a community of creativity is the goal.

“We’re keeping it completely Atlantic Canadian: all the authors, the editors, even the printing have to be done in Atlantic Canada, so we can keep the culture going.”

Alex Graham is a reporter with Huddle, an Acadia Broadcasting content partner.


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