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"Generosity of Spirit" Hamish Cameron of University of Toronto Press wins Janice E. Handford Award for Canadian Publishing


Yesterday, Hamish Cameron was awarded the Janice E. Handford Award by the Ontario Book Publishers Organization (OBPO), Open Book's sister organization.

The annual prize recognizes a person who has advanced the cause of small and literary Canadian publishing. Cameron, who has been with University of Toronto Press for over 30 years, currently serving as Vice President of Distribution, has long been an advocate for and supporter of independent publishing in Canada, serving previously as the Association of Canadian Publishers’ Executive Director and as the Trade Editor of Quill and Quire magazine. Cameron was himself instrumental in the formation of the Ontario Book Publishers Organization in 1990. In his role at UTP, he oversees distribution for more than 70 independent Canadian publishers and imprints.

Cameron gratefully acknowledged the award, saying he had "been guided from an early age to 'expect the unexpected' and yet this honour catches me completely by surprise!" He also gave credit to the prize's namesake. "I have the fondest memories of Janice Handford," he said. "As a founding participant in the formation of the Organization of Book Publishers of Ontario, I will take some credit for hiring Janice." Reflecting on his time in the industry, "serving independent, small, and literary Canadian presses," Cameron said, "it has been a privilege."

Margie Wolfe, one of the prize jurors and the Publisher of Second Story Press (one of the publishers for whom Cameron handles distribution at UTP), praised Cameron's exemplary record in publishing, saying "I’ve known Hamish for all of his career within the publishing community... As one of his very many, smaller publisher clients I am also aware that we can be a pain in the ass — demanding, always wanting everything "better". With calm and generosity of spirit Hamish listens, knowing that we worry about maintaining survival and viability, and then does his best to help. He is a great fit for the Janice Handford Award."

The Handford Award is usually awarded during an autumn celebration in Toronto, which has been postponed in accordance with public health guidelines. 

Past recipients of the award, which was established in 1997 to honour the late Janice Handford, include Kristine Murphy, Alana Wilcox, Krystyna Ross, Carolyn Wood, Kirk Howard, Janet Hawkins, Jack David, Roy Macskimming, Angela Rebeiro, Judy Mappin, Simon Dardick, Tim Inkster, David Caron, Karl Siegler, Stan Bevington, and Jim Polk.