The Biblio File Hosted by Nigel Beale
Twenty - forty minute interviews with accomplished authors, publishers, biblio people, conducted by an excitable bibliophile.

Founded in Minnesota in 1980 by Emilie Buchwald and R.W. Scholes, Milkweed Editions is one of the nation's leading independent, nonprofit literary publishers, releasing between fifteen and twenty new books each year in fiction, nonfiction, poetry, and children's literature. Much of its nonfiction is addresses critical environmental issues and works to expand ecological consciousness. Milkweed’s authors come from Minnesota and around the world. Today more than one million Milkweed books are in circulation. Collectively they have received more than 190 awards and special designations, including the Los Angeles Times Book Prize for Poetry, two American Book Awards, the Liberatur Prize for Fiction, seven New York Times Book Review Notable Books of the Year, and ten Minnesota Book Awards. Milkweed’s mission, which combines an emphasis on the literary arts with a concern for the fabric of society, leads it to be active in the Minneapolis community in ways that demonstrate the social relevance of literary writing.

I met recently with co-founder Emilie Buchwald to talk about the history of Milkweed, and how interested parties might go about collecting its books. Please listen here

This interview is part of our  Book Publisher Series which focuses on the histories of important British, American and Canadian publishing houses, and how best to go about collecting their works.

Direct download: Emilie_Buchwald_Milkweed_R09_0013.mp3
Category:Publisher's Histories -- posted at: 10:40am EDT

Hard not to like Randy Bachman. He's smart, friendly, interested, passionate...and a collector. Why a collector? Because in 1976 his favourite guitar was stolen from a Toronto hotel room, and he wanted to get it back. What? A late-1950s orange Gretsch guitar, the Chet Atkins model.Bachman used it -- "my first real professional guitar" -- on the Guess Who hit Shakin' All Over, and later for Bachman-Turner Overdrive's Takin' Care of Business. He has yet to find it.

Not all was lost however. Thirty years of hunting, on and off line, through music stores, pawn shops, websites and garage sales resulted in the world's largest and finest collection of Gretsch electric guitars. This trove of roughly 380 instruments was sold to the Gretsch company several years ago for its museum in Savannah, Ga.

I met with Bachman recently in Ottawa - he was here to promote his new book Randy Bachman's Vinyl Tap Stories, a written telling of stories told on his popular CBC radio program of the same name. Please listen here as we discuss the madness and wonder that is guitar, vinyl and book collecting. Budding collectors: be sure to note the records he suggests you go after.

Direct download: Bachman_R09_0005_2.mp3
Category:Book Collector -- posted at: 3:53pm EDT


Coffee House started out as the Toothpaste Press in Iowa in the early 1970s. Founded by Allan Kornblum after taking a University of Iowa typography course with the famed printer Harry Duncan, this small publishing house dedicated itself to producing poetry pamphlets and letterpress books. After 10 years, Kornblum closed the press, moved to Minneapolis, reopened it as a nonprofit organization, and began publishing trade books. .

In the early 1990s, books such as Donald Duk by Frank Chin and Through the Arc of the Rainforest by Karen Tei Yamashita (a 1991 American Book Award winner) drew national attention and helped cement the press's reputation as a publisher of exceptional works by writers of color. According to Kornblum, Coffee House has actively published writers of color as writers, "as representatives of the best in contemporary literature, first and foremost—then, only secondly, as representatives of minority communities." This could well be the press's most important contribution to American literature.

In July 2011, after a two-year leadership transition process, Kornblum stepped down to become the press’s senior editor. Chis Fischbach, who began at the press as an intern in 1994, succeeded him as publisher. Coffee House has published more than 300 books, and releases 15-20 new titles each year. It is known for long-term commitment to the authors it chooses to publish, and is currently located in the historic Grain Belt Bottling House in Northeast Minneapolis, where I met with Kornblum to conduct this interview:

This interview is part of our  Book Publisher Series which focuses on the histories of important British, American and Canadian publishing houses, and how best to go about collecting their works.

Direct download: Coffeehouse_Press_R09_0011.mp3
Category:Publisher's Histories -- posted at: 8:50am EDT