Small Press Points: Book*hug Press

From the September/October 2023 issue of
Poets & Writers Magazine

Nurturing transnational literary conversations for nearly two decades, the Toronto-based Book*hug Press publishes eighteen to twenty volumes of poetry, fiction, nonfiction, and translation that are distributed across North America each year. In 2004, after operating as a micro press specializing in handmade chapbooks and broadsides, the company released its first full-length title: the poetry collection Pencil of Rays and Spiked Mace by the Danish writer Niels Lyngsø, translated by Pulitzer Prize–winning poet Gregory Pardlo. About 10 percent of the press’s list comes from international authors, says Hazel Millar, who with her husband, Jay Millar, owns and manages Book*hug. “We think of ourselves as a Canadian press with international leanings, both representationally and aesthetically,” she says. “We believe reading beyond borders is necessary and important.”

Book*hug is open to submissions year-round and is currently reading fiction, narrative nonfiction, and poetry. The press is also open to proposals from translators and rights agents for its Literature in Translation Series. Book*hug seeks “dynamic” writing, particularly from marginalized authors: “We carefully consider questions such as: Whose voices are underrepresented and who are the storytellers we need most right now?” Millar says. Recent titles include Ilnu Nation poet Marie-Andrée Gill’s Heating the Outdoors, a collection of micro poems published in March exploring “decolonial resilience,” translated from the French by Kristen Renee Miller. Big Shadow, a novel by debut Toronto author Marta Balcewicz, released in May, considers “the costs of self-deceit, fandom, and tenuous ambitions,” says Millar. “We are committed to continuing to engage with culture and to finding the voices and stories we most need to hear.”