We're celebrating 50 years of publishing this year! We asked our authors to share some of their favourite memories for this blog series! Enjoy some more stories of what lead to a book being published in this post featuring Peter Pigott, Mitchell Consky, and Pam Withers.
"In 1994, when my position in Global Affairs Canada was downsized, with a family and mortgage, I felt fortunate to find even an entry level job in the mail room. That summer, we were living on hot dogs and cereal - and then the fridge died. I had edited the student newspaper in university and knew I could write. I faxed (in pre-internet days) all the publishers in Canada with a proposal - I would do a book on aviation in Canada for them - I knew enough about the subject from my Dad who had been in the air force during the war - if they would send me exactly $300 immediately to buy a new fridge. That was Friday at work. On Saturday morning, my six year old daughter came running to me with the phone, saying " Dad, Tony Hawke from Dundurn wants to talk to you!". Tony liked the proposal, sent a contract by courier that day, I signed it, faxed it back and a cheque for a new fridge was on the way ! My kids now with families of their own still talk about the day the new fridge arrived. Knowing that I could do this gave me the self respect that I needed. I wrote for Dundurn for many years after, met Kirk Howard ( who I worshipped) and Beth Bruder at the Dundurn office which was two rooms ( on I think Queen Street then ?) -and especially Tony Hawke. Thanks to them, I told Canadians about bush pilots, our troops in Afghanistan, the Royal Family, plane crashes, Sudan, Canadian Pacific ships, Air Canada etc. Thank you Tony and Kirk for believing in me." —Peter Pigott
"This summer I was driving a 17-seater shuttle bus through Western Canada when my agent called me to tell me Dundurn submitted an offer to publish my book. It was a bittersweet dream come true. My memoir, about losing my father to an aggressive cancer during the onset of the pandemic, was originally a journal I kept to find meaning in despair. As a journalist and writer, I’ve always had aspirations of publishing a book, and my father was my biggest supporter of this dream. But a long list of rejections for other projects over the years left me skeptical about it coming into fruition. That call, on that bus, with the mountains of Whistler whipping past the windows, was a moment I’ll never forget." —Mitchell Consky
"When I submitted the suggested title, "Mountain Runaways," someone at Dundurn counter-suggested "Runaway Mountain." I replied that mountains don't run away and luckily they had a sense of humour -- and let me keep the first name! Another memory: I was in the lineup of Red Maple nominees and standing on the stage on the Toronto city waterfront waiting to deliver my one-minute speech and hear the winner announced, and shivering like crazy (under-dressed, being a Vancouverite). Saw Dundurn staff in the audience with big smiles on their faces looking at me and that warmed me right up!" —Pam Withers