20th Anniversary Author Spotlight: Beatriz Hausner | Book*hug Press

20th Anniversary Author Spotlight: Beatriz Hausner

Our 20th-anniversary celebrations continue with another Author Spotlight interview. Today, we’re shining a light on the very beloved Beatriz Hausner. We’ve had the great fortune to publish three wonderfully unique and brilliant poetry collections from Beatriz: Enter the Raccoon, Beloved Revolutionary Sweetheart, and She Who Lies Above. In this Q&A, Beatriz generously shares what it means to be part of our author family, a title from fellow Book*hug Stephen Cain that has left a lasting effect on her, and her thoughts on what it means to be published by an independent press. Happy reading!

B*: What does being part of the Book*hug Press author family mean to you? Feel free to share an anecdote, reflection, or backstory about your publishing experience.

BH: As I have often said, family matters to me. Family is the microcosm of the world. Biological families come with inheritances of joy and harmony, beauty that is placid and also conflictive. And there are the families one elects because of their affinity to one’s way of being in the world. One such family in my life is Book*hug.

I have felt close to Jay, Hazel, and their family (Reid and Cole were little!) ever since I first met them at the reading series, they ran out of the second floor of what was This Ain’t The Rosedale Library, a wonderful bookstore filled with printed wonders and living people. I’d gone to just such an event in spring of 2000 to see my friends S.L. Higgins and W.A. Davison perform with Six Heads, an Avant Garde sound ensemble. I began following the press around town, attending their events and launches, and I became a subscriber, thus acquiring the wonderful publications they issued in the early years.

I dreamed of becoming their author, to be published by them; I loved their aesthetic, the quality of their publications, the attention to detail, their unwavering commitment to advancing reading and book culture in this country.

Become their author I did, with the publication of Enter the Raccoon (2012). Since then, I’ve been the happiest writer, taking their advice, working with the fabulous designers, production and promotion people that make up the larger Book*hug clan. They’ve blessed my world with the publication of two more of my books: Beloved Revolutionary Sweetheart (2020) and She Who Lies Above (2023).

B*: Can you share another title from the Book*hug Press catalogue that has left a lasting impression on you as a reader? Tell us about a title by another Book*hug author that has been a touchstone book for you, one that you found meaningful, interesting, or simply loved. Bonus points if you also send a photo of you holding the book you wish to shine a special light on.

BH: There are so many wonderful authors in the Book*hug catalogue! One of my favourite books is Stephen Cain’s 2017 False Friends. It’s superb. Contained in that perfect volume are poems that achieve a kind of perfection altogether new in terms of form, and mastery of language. The poetry is sophisticated and elegant, while fully accessible to the reader. Quite a feat!

False Friends by Stephen Cain

B*: When we see more large publisher consolidations and huge conglomerates dominating the marketplace, what does it mean to you to be published by an independent publisher like Book*hug Press?

BH: I feel a sense of rage when confronted with the current state of publishing. The way the multinationals have appropriated then destroyed publishing, borders on the criminal. Not only did they take over presses and imprints with a view to kill them, make them disappear, they did so all the while lobbying public libraries to buy their books via powerful distribution systems which they also control[ed]. The corporations are largely responsible for the demised of a once vibrant and large community of independent booksellers. If we add to their war on independent publishing and distribution the fact that they’ve inserted themselves on the boards of publicly funded institutions, like the Canada Council, the picture becomes even more bleak. For all of the above, I will always champion Book*hug, a true beacon in the defense of the book and reading culture.

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