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THE BIBLIO FILE is a leading podcast that examines "the book" and book culture. Hosted by NIGEL BEALE it features wide ranging conversations with writers, poets, book publishers, booksellers, book editors, book collectors, book makers, book scholars, book critics, book designers, book publicists, literary agents and other best practitioners who busy themselves with the world of books.

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Nov 22, 2022

 Tom Devlin is a key figure in the world of graphic novels. His career mimics the evolution of the genre. As founder of Highwater Books, a publishing house he set up in the early 2000s, he treated alternative comics audiences in North America to their first book-length exposure to future star cartoonist/authors John Porcellino, Marc Bell, Ron Rege Jr., Brian Ralph and others - many of whom subsequently joined him at Drawn and Quarterly, the Montreal-based publishing house founded by Chris Oliveros. Tom now works at D&Q as executive editor (and co-owner) alongside his wife, publisher Peggy Burns. His early work - its high production values, thoughtful design and 'bookshelf-ready' formats, plus experience earned as a comics retailer and distributor - presaged, one could say, an explosion in the popularity of graphic novels, one that was amply fueled by the impressive stuff he put out with various artists over the years at D&Q. 
I talk with Tom about his early love of comics, his work in comic book stores and his experiences publishing graphic novels; about his life with cartoonists and his work helping to build D&Q, plus the struggle experienced by the medium itself to be taken seriously. Drawn and Quarterly: Twenty Five Years of Contemporary Cartooning, Comics, and Graphic Novels serves as our guide. 
We met underneath the well-walked wooden floors of La Petite Librairie D+Q, the company's children's retail bookstore outlet in the Mile End district of Montreal.