House of Anansi Press, one of the country's most decorated independent publishers and a major element of the Canadian literary scene both historically and currently, has announced that a new publisher will be coming on board to shape the press's editorial direction as of April 19 of this year.
Leigh Nash, the current publisher of Invisible Publishing and an instructor of Book Publishing at York University's Professional Writing Department, is a acclaimed editor and publisher, having expanded Invisible's publishing programme and shaped an editorial identity there that has been met with significant critical acclaim and numerous major literary award nominations. She is a writer herself, with an MFA in Creative Writing from the University of Guelph and a poetry collection (Goodbye, Ukulele) published by Mansfield Press, and previously worked at Coach House Books and co-founded the chapbook press The Emergency Response Unit.
Semareh Al-Hillal, President and Acting Publisher at Anansi, made the announcement, saying that the "experience, passion, and ethos that Leigh brings matches exactly the spirit of the staff at House of Anansi Press... We are building on the fabled history of the House while moving forward, collaboratively, with an innovative, passionate team". Anansi and its sister press, the award-winning children's publisher Groundwood Books, are housed in Toronto's west end.
Nash has been an active member of the publishing community as a past chair of eBOUND Canada’s board of directors and a past board member of the Association of Canadian Publishers and Canadian Women in the Literary Arts. In a statement, she praised Anansi's legacy, saying "Anansi’s books have long inspired me as both a reader and a publisher, and it’s an honour to have this opportunity to continue building on the press’s storied literary excellence.”
Anansi's owner, philanthropist and writer Scott Griffin, praised Nash's hiring. A portion of his statement sums up the reaction the announcement appears to be receiving in the literary community, saying “Leigh Nash is exactly the right publisher for Anansi".