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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 conversations with authors, poets, book publishers, booksellers, book editors, book collectors, book makers, book scholars, book critics, book designers, book publicists, literary agents and other best practitioners on Robert Darnton's "communications circuit."

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May 18, 2021

Ruth Panofsky is Professor of English at Ryerson University in Toronto. She is a leading scholar of the history of publishing and authorship in Canada and Canadian Jewish literature, an award-winning poet and a Fellow of the Royal Society. 
 
We met via Zoom to discuss her most recent book Toronto Trailblazers: Women in Canadian Publishing (2019, U of T Press) which explores the influence of seven women who helped advance a modern literary culture in Canada.

"Publisher Irene Clarke, scholarly editors Eleanor Harman and Francess Halpenny, trade editors Sybil Hutchinson, Claire Pratt, and Anna Porter, and literary agent Bella Pomer made the most of their vocational prospects, first by securing their respective positions and then by refining their professional methods. Individually, each woman asserted her agency by adapting orthodox ways of working within Canadian publishing. Collectively, their overarching approach emerged as a feminist practice. Through their vision and method these trailblazing women disrupted the dominant masculine paradigm and helped transform publishing practice in Canada."
 
We talk about writing these women back into the history of Canadian publishing, and end off with a look at the challenges that face Canada's current book publishing industry.