20th Anniversary Author Spotlight Q&A: Nic Brewer | Book*hug Press

20th Anniversary Author Spotlight Q&A: Nic Brewer

Our 20th-Anniversary celebrations continue with another installment in our Author Spotlight series. Today, we’re shining a light on Nic Brewer, author of the acclaimed novel Suture. Nic is also one of our favourite people. Nic graciously sat down with us to talk about what it means to be part of the Book*hug Press family, a couple of other Book*hug tiles that have been touchstone books in her life, and what it means to be published by an indie press. Enjoy!

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.

NB: It is still surreal to me that I’m a part of the Book*hug Press author family: Hazel and Jay have been some of the greatest inspirations to me personally and professionally, from the moment I started my internship with them in 2013 as a fresh graduate of the book publishing program at Humber College. 21-year-old Nic was keen and bright-eyed and an absolutely terrible intern, but Hazel and Jay offered such patience, guidance, and expertise, and I wouldn’t be who I am today without them. And then! To be part of Book*hug as an author! Book*hug has published some of the most incredible and adventurous writing Canlit gets to see, and me and my imposter syndrome still can’t quite wrap my head around the fact that my little book now gets to table alongside my very favourite authors.

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.

NB: Sophrosyne by Marianne Apostolides and Je Nathanaël by Nathanaël are both hugely significant books to me as a reader and a writer. Sophrosyne was one of the first books I read by a woman that truly shook me, and completely reshaped my perception of what, and how, women could write. (I am not proud of it, but I certainly used to think that only men like David Foster Wallace wrote the earth-shattering variety of fiction I craved.) The way that every part of Sophrosyne worked together blew me away, from the artistry to the language to the very essence of the narrative, and it made me wonder: can I write like this?

Je Nathanaël found me at a time when I was realizing I was gay (quite late in life, by today’s standards), and also at a time when grief had shattered me: the fragmented tenderness, the perfect in-betweenness, of Je Nathanaël slid under my skin just as I settled into it, a fly on the wall, and it too made me wonder: can I write like this?

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?

NB: I think that we are seeing edgier and more adventurous work coming from larger publishers these days, but I think that’s due to the decades of work that independent publishers like Book*hug have put into nurturing and promoting Canada’s exceptional literary talent, and I am so grateful to have had the opportunity to work so closely with a smart, experienced team that I know cares about me and my book. (Which is not to say editors at large houses don’tthey certainly do.) I am grateful for the creativity and collaboration of publishing with an independent publisherand while I know that book publishing is a business for independent publishers, too, I am grateful to know that with a publisher like Book*hug, my creativity is valued (far) beyond its potential for profit. (I’m just sappy like that.)

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