There’s a new craft brewer (of sorts) in Vancouver. What they’re selling is robust, fair-trade and, apparently, “very quaffable.”
It’s not beer, however. It’s books. Vancouver has just become home to a one-of-a-kind experiment in artisan publishing. A brand new independent publishing house called Nonvella, which describes itself as “the craft brewing of publishing,” is aiming to go where no local book publisher has gone before.
Nonvella’s focus is a genre known as narrative nonfiction – timely works of journalism, adventure writing, essay and memoir taken from real life. What’s unique about their model, however, is the length of these stories. Their specialty is long-form nonfiction that’s much shorter than a book but longer than the average magazine article (i.e. stories that are roughly the length of a fictional novella, but in nonfiction form – hence the catchy name, Nonvella.)
Writers already aligned with the publishing house include J.B. MacKinnon, author of the best-selling 100-Mile Diet, American essayist Scott Russell Sanders, Canadian novelist Timothy Taylor and others.
The startup is the brainchild of local Vancouver writer and National Magazine Award winner Tyee Bridge. After years of penning features for magazines, Bridge noticed that lots of his stories ended up “on the chopping block.” Editors would cut off big chunks in order to make more room for more ads in their magazines. Meanwhile, his pieces were too short to qualify as traditional books.
With the advent of digital publishing and print-on-demand technologies, however, authors and readers suddenly have considerably more options. Bridge decided to create a publishing house dedicated entirely to “quaffable” stories that could be read in one sitting.
As an ambitious new startup (and one in a space as competitive as publishing), Nonvella faces a tough road ahead. To produce and print their first books, the publishing house is currently running a campaign to raise $12,500 on crowdsourced fundraising site Kickstarter. Through April 29, you can log on and contribute in exchange for first editions of Nonvella books, signed copies, invitations to launch parties, culinary tours and more.
Vancouver is already home to a thriving craft brewing scene. Will the city become Canada’s centre of homegrown, locally-inspired craft publishing? Time will tell.
Follow me on Twitter @RemyScalza.