News and Interviews

In Memoriam: Dundurn Press Founder Kirk Howard 1942-2023

Today Dundurn Press shared that their founder and Publisher Emeritus John Kirk Howard, C.M., passed away on June 30th, 2023. 

Born December 3, 1942, Howard (known as Kirk to everyone who knew him) was a beloved and dynamic member of the Canadian publishing community for decades. He founded and led the press for an incredible forty-seven years, making a profound impact on Canada’s publishing industry and helping to build the careers of hundreds of Canadian authors.

Dundurn Press Publisher Emeritus Kirk Howard

Dundurn Press Publisher Emeritus Kirk Howard

He established Dundurn Press in 1972 as a publisher of books on Canadian history, expanding the press over the years and particularly during the 1990s and 2000s, when Dundurn acquired other Canadian publishers including Natural Heritage Books, XYZ Publishing, and Thomas Allen Publishers. These acquisitions expanded Dundurn’s list to encompass business, politics, local interest, memoirs, and travel, along with literary fiction, mysteries, and fiction for young adults.

Dundurn Press' logo prior to 2021

Dundurn Press' logo prior to 2021

Howard held many influential positions in the industry, including as the President of the Association of Canadian Publishers, the President of the Ontario Book Publishers Organization, Treasurer of Livres Canada Books, and Board Member of Access Copyright. His contributions won him numerous honours, including the President’s Award from the Ontario Historical Society in 1989 and in 2012, and the Janice E. Handford Award from the Ontario Book Publishers Organization in 2015. In 2012, he was honoured with the Queen Elizabeth II’s Diamond Jubilee Medal and, in 2019, he was invested into the Order of Canada.

Dundurn Press logo

Dundurn Press current logo

He sold Dundurn Press in early 2019 and the house's current team is led by Kwame Scott Fraser, Chris Houston, Kathryn Lane, Graham Matthews, and Meghan Macdonald and aims to continue Kirk Howard’s legacy by bringing Canadian publishing excellence to the world.

Dundurn shared a memorial message, saying "We honour Kirk’s hard work and leadership, which underpins the publishing program that we are proud to produce today. And while our thoughts are with Kirk’s close friends and families, we are heartened to know that Kirk was able to see Dundurn Press celebrate fifty years before he passed away."