Friday, October 16, 2020

the ottawa small press book fair : home edition #21 : Brian L. Flack/Point Petre Publishing,

Brian L. Flack is the publisher of Point Petre Publishing. The novels In Seed Time, With A Sudden & Terrible Clarity, and When Madmen Lead the Blind, and a collection of poems -- 36 … Poems -- are among his published works. He is also a contributor to several other books, among them Nino Ricci: Essays on His Works and Discourse and Community: Multidisciplinary Studies of Canadian Culture. He has contributed, over the last 50 years, literary & social criticism to periodicals, and academic journals, and written many reviews for newspapers. For several years, he was the host of a weekly radio programme, “Bookviews”, on Q-107  in Toronto. In another life that he enjoyed for almost 40 years, he was a Professor of English Literature. He is married to the painter Susan Straiton.

Q: Tell me about your press. How long have you been publishing, and what got you started? 

Point Petre Publishing (PPP) was established in 2017. It’s designed to be a small operation, publishing only 2 or 3 books a year. What lies behind its existence is the publisher’s understanding of the incredibly difficult time first-time writers have breaking through the bulwarks of mainstream publishing. The deck is stacked and there is not much “give”. The idea was and is to help out in that area as well as publish writers who already have a track record.

Q: How many times have you exhibited at the Ottawa small press fair? How do you find the experience? 

PPP has been to the OSPF 3 times over the last 3 years. It’s a fine way to connect with readers and writers. And, of course, sell a few books! The reading at the Carleton on the Friday evening is a highlight. 

Q: Would you have made something specific for this spring’s fair? Are you still doing that? How does the lack of spring fair this year effect how or what you might be producing? 

PPP would have had a new book of poems in time for the Spring Fair, but that was shelved … not because the Fair was cancelled but because of COVID-19. At the time the book would have appeared, every bookstore in the country was closed. The author, an older writer, decided against even trying again in the Fall as her desire to be out and about in the community in the midst of this pandemic was, in the Spring, and remains to this day, less than encouraging … and quite rightfully. As a result, a launch, visits to bookstores, and readings at several venues could not have happened. The book probably won’t see the light of day until the Spring or Fall of 2021 … if then.

Q: How are you, as a small publisher, approaching the myriad shut-downs? Is everything on hold, or are you pushing against the silences, whether in similar or alternate ways than you might have prior to the pandemic? How are you getting your publications out into the world? 

PPP is effectively shut down for the time being … at least as far as releasing new titles. The publisher continues to be amenable to receiving manuscripts that will fit PPP’s publishing preferences – poetry and literary fiction, so that when this is virus has been tamed PPP will be able to jump right back into the game. Submissions, though, have slowed to something less than a trickle. PPP suspects that many writers simply do not want to play chicken with this virus and be “out there”. But … prospective authors can still send manuscripts. They should go to PPP’s website ( for submission guidelines.

Bookstores, hurting from the long shutdown have also pared back … they are stocking fewer books than they used to because customers are scarcer and most are not hosting book launches. For the time being, orders of books from the backlist are going to have to sustain PPP. This can be done by e-mail. People can write for a book or books – send an email to pointpetrepublishing or go to the website at where pricing is available – and they will be shipped.

Q: Have you done anything in terms of online or virtual launches since the pandemic began? Have you attendeor participated in others? How are you attempting to connect to the larger literary community? 

PPP has had no virtual launches because there have been no new books. Nor has PPP attended any other Fairs. For the moment, PPP does not have much connection to the larger literary community … this is at least partially due to PPP’s remote location in Prince Edward County, Ontario.

Q: Has the pandemic forced you to rethink anything in terms of production? Are there supplies or printers you haven’t access to during these times that have forced a shift in what and how you produce? 

It has. PPP’s printer shut down for some time. Suppliers for other materials – paper, ink, etc. – also shut down. As did PPP. Almost everything went on hiatus … except for the internet.

Q: What are your most recent publications? How might folk be able to order copies? 

A backlist of PPP’s recent books can be found at Those titles can be ordered at

Q: What are you working on now? 

PPP is reading and assessing all manuscripts that come its way, hoping to find a gem or two that can be made ready for publication when the virus emergency comes to an end.

No comments: