Staff Bios

Kirk Howard, President and Publisher
Kirk Howard is the founder and Publisher of Dundurn Press, a company he started in 1972 to address the lack of books dedicated to Canadian history. Kirk named the company after Dundurn Castle, near which he grew up in Hamilton, Ontario. In 2012, Kirk was presented the President’s Award by the Ontario Historical Society for his contributions to preserving the province’s heritage.

Synora Van Drine, Sales Manager
Synora holds post-graduate diplomas in Journalism and Publishing, a BA, and an M.Sc. She has lived and worked in Mumbai, Dubai, Abu Dhabi, London, and Toronto. Prior to coming to Dundurn, she worked as a journalist, public relations consultant, and marketing specialist. She is vague and intriguing.

Laura Boyle, Senior Designer
Laura, originally from the East Coast, moved to Toronto in 2009 after completing her Bachelor of Arts in Montreal and France. In her spare time she is a visual artist and a musician in an electronic duo.

Michelle Melski, Publicity Manager
Michelle Melski graduated from Ryerson University's Arts & Contemporary Studies program with a major in English. She has worked at Second Story Press, ECW Press, and Fitzhenry & Whiteside Publishers. When she's not reading or discussing books with her book club, Michelle likes to hang out with her dog Tucker, travel, and eat sour candy.

C. Dick YuDirector of Finance
Dick oversees Dundurn’s accounting and finance functions. He is a chartered accountant and holds an MBA degree from University of Michigan. His publishing connections go back to more than a decade ago, when he was the General Manager for Canadian Scholars’ Press and Women’s Press. He and Publisher Kirk Howard were both part of the trade mission to China organized by the ACP in 2005. Dick is an avid player of many sports and enjoys reading, photography, and travelling.

Kendra Martin, Publicist & Marketing Administrator
Kendra graduated from Wilfrid Laurier University and Centennial’s publishing program. She has worked in marketing and production for McArthur & Company and James Lorimer & Company. Other than reading the latest CanLit and mysteries, for fun Kendra bikes, bakes, and explores Toronto’s food and culture.

Jenny McWha, Assistant Project Editor
Armed with a love of books, a BA in English Literature, and a proclivity for correcting grammar (much to the exasperation of those around her), she entered the only field available to her: publishing. When she’s not helping the editorial department with proofreading, copyediting, submissions, and anything else they could need, Jenny likes to fit in some non-work-related reading, binge-watch television shows, and blog about her dog, Xena Warrior Princess.

Elham Ali, Publicist
Elham graduated from the University of Toronto, where she double majored in English and History and minored in Near and Middle Eastern Studies (she’s a huge Egyptology nerd). After completing the Humber College publishing program, she worked in the marketing departments at Canada’s Ballet Jörgen and Penguin Random House Canada before coming to Dundurn. When she’s not reading, she loves baking and spending time hanging out with her large extended family.

Tabassum Siddiqui, Senior Publicist
Tabassum is a Toronto-based (by way of wintry Winnipeg, where she grew up) writer who has worked as a journalist and communicator for the past 15 years, reporting and editing for many of Canada's top publications and also helping organizations to tell their stories. When she's not busy trying to craft compelling copy, you'll find her listening to and writing about music as a longtime critic who also serves on the juries for the Polaris Music Prize and Prism Prize.