By Mike Foster
Books such as the Mathematical Modelling of Zombies, as well as a string of awards, including the prestigious PROSE Award in Literature for The Collected Poems of Miriam Waddington and the 2015 Prix Champlain-winning Du coq à l’âme: L’art populaire au Québec, by Jean-François Blanchette, are positive proof that the University of Ottawa Press (UOP) is only getting warmed up as it turns 80 years young this year.
Founded in 1936, the UOP is using this week’s Congress of the Humanities and Social Sciences to mark its 80 years in publishing.
And what better way to celebrate than with the launch of some new titles, adding to the more than 1,000 publications that it has produced over eight decades? At the congress this week, the UOP launched a beautiful critical edition of Hugh Garner’s Best Stories, a 1963 Governor General’s Award-winning collection of short prose written between the late 1930s and early 1960s, as well as eGirls, eCitizens, edited by professors Jane Bailey and Valerie Steeves, featuring cutting-edge interdisciplinary insights into the links between gender, privacy and equality in online social networking. It will also host a roundtable and launch event on June 4 to discuss issues related to another of its new books, Law,Privacy and Surveillance in Canada in the Post-Snowden Era, edited by uOttawa law professor Michael Geist.
UOP director Lara Mainville says the new titles, which add to the nearly 500 UOP publications currently in circulation, are just the tip of the iceberg when it comes to the rich variety produced by UOP. Faculty of Science associate professor (and lover of question marks) Robert Smith?’s books on zombies were big hits at the two most recent editions of the Comiccon conference. And Blanchette’s Prix Champlain-winning book about Quebec folk art as well as Charles Garrad’s Petun to Wyandot (Excellence in Publishing Award 2014, INDIEFAB Award finalist), both co-published with the Canadian Museum of History, show that UOP is attracting top scholars and partners.
“Without a doubt, we are on a mission to showcase all of the knowledge available within a university context, but we also want to break out beyond the confines of the campus and be present among the wider public. We certainly don’t shy away from covering the big issues that capture today’s headlines,” says Mainville.
UOP has also been a trendsetter when it comes to Open Access, promoting free and unrestricted access to scholarly research, she says, thanks to forward-thinking pioneers such as University Librarian Leslie Weir and Geist.
The UOP also has a literary translation program, providing support to emerging translators, in partnership with the School of Translation and Interpretation and uOttawa’s vice-president, research.