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THE BIBLIO FILE is one of the world's leading podcasts about "the book," and an inquiry into the wider world of book culture. Hosted by Nigel Beale it features wide ranging, long-form conversations with authors, poets, book publishers, booksellers, book editors, book collectors, book makers, book scholars, book critics, book designers, book publicists, literary agents and many others - inside the book trade and out - from writer to reader. 

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Oct 14, 2019

Leslie Hurtig was born into a house of books and has had a long, successful career in Canada’s book industry. She has worked for some of Canada’s best bookstores, acted as a sales representative and publicist for some of North America’s great publishers, and worked as a foreign rights and contracts manager at Raincoast Books. Leslie sat on the Board of Directors for the Vancouver Writers Fest before taking on her "dream job" position as Artistic Director. 

Jan Walter has spent her life around books: selling, editing, publishing, promoting. She began as a bookseller at Mel Hurtig’s store in Edmonton, eventually running her own – Fifth Business Books.

She has worked as an editor and in executive positions with several Canadian publishing companies. In 1988, with Gary Ross and John Macfarlane, she started Macfarlane, Walter & Ross, which became Canada’s premier publisher of quality non-fiction, publishing titles including Boom, Bust & Echo by David Foot, The Danger Tree by David Macfarlane, and On the Take by Stevie Cameron 

Jan has been involved in publishing education at institutions across Canada, teaching at Simon Fraser and Ryerson Universities. She moved to Kingston, Ontario in 2004. A few years later, teaming with Merilyn Simonds, she helped  professionalize the Kingston WritersFest.

I met with Leslie and Jan in Kingston to talk about Mel Hurtig and his legacy as bookseller, publisher and patriot.