Coteau Books enters into bankruptcy protection, closes door after 45 years.

After 45 years of publishing Saskatchewan authors and over 500 titles, long-time Saskatchewan publisher Coteau Books has reached the point of insolvency.

February 28, 2020



After 45 years of publishing Saskatchewan authors and over 500 titles, long-time Saskatchewan publisher Coteau Books has reached the point of insolvency. The board of directors of Thunder Creek Publishing Co-operative Limited (operating as Coteau Books) explored every option to save the publishing house, but it is no longer able to carry on.

The press has, therefore, ceased operations, let staff go and has entered into bankruptcy protection.

Former board President Joanne Skidmore: “This is a tragedy that reflects the challenges facing book publishers worldwide, and Saskatchewan publishers in particular. Canadian publishing has always relied on government and community support, and Coteau has been the beneficiary of both over the years. But margins are tight, profits slim, and attracting staff at low salaries has been a challenge. Our situation became untenable.”

Located in Regina, Coteau Books has published Canadian literary writing, particularly Saskatchewan and prairie writers, since it was founded in 1975 by Moose Jaw authors Bob Currie, Barbara Sapergia, Geoffrey Ursell and the late Gary Hyland. Its titles included poetry, fiction, drama, non-fiction, and juvenile and young adult literature.

Coteau has developed many new writers and fostered the careers of established writers over its 45 years, including Sharon Butala, Lois Simmie, Dianne Warren and Connie Gault. Its titles have won three Governor General's awards: Voice by Anne Szumigalski, 1995, poetry; A Song for Nettie Johnson by Gloria Sawai, 2002, fiction; and Fishtailing by Wendy Phillips, 2010, Young People’s Literature. Four other Coteau books were finalists for the Governor General's award.

The press’s accolades include a variety of other awards, including numerous Saskatchewan Book Awards (Book of the Year eight times), and its authors have brought national recognition to the province’s writing scene. Examples include Coteau author Sharon Butala, whose recent story collection, Season of Fury and Wonder, was a finalist for the Rogers Writers’ Trust Fiction Prize last year. Louise Bernice Halfe, author of 2016’s Burning in This Midnight Dream, was the winner of the prestigious Latner Writers’ Trust Poetry Prize. Indigo Books featured emerging writer Chelsea Coupal, author of the 2018 poetry collection Sedley . And Lisa Bird Wilson’s story collection Just Pretending was Saskatchewan’s One Book, One Province choice last year.

“The demise of Coteau Books will leave a huge hole in the fabric of prairie publishing, for authors and readers,” said former board Vice President and former Saskatchewan Poet Laureate Bob Currie.

“Coteau Books would like thank our readers, our authors, our employees – including a legion of freelance editors and designers – and our patrons, including government funding agencies who have supported Coteau Books and the Saskatchewan publishing industry over the past 45 years.”

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