Tightrope Books

Tightrope’s New Zurita Imprint Featured in Quill

By Tightrope Books | October 14th, 2009 | Print This Post | Email This Post | Leave a Comment

Tightrope to debut Latino-Canadian imprint

In the hopes of catering to what has been an almost completely ignored market, the Toronto-based Tightrope Books is launching a new Latino-Canadian imprint next spring.

Publisher Halli Villegas came up with the idea for the new imprint, Zurita, about three years ago, when she became aware of a boom in Latino culture in Toronto and in Vancouver. Villegas, who is half Mexican, began looking for an editor for the imprint at the time, but the plans kicked into gear just last year when she hosted a launch party for a title she’d acquired from Simon & Schuster U.S. – a new anthology (featuring a piece by her own father) geared to Latino youth.

According to Villegas , she was disappointed by the absence of members of the CanLit community at the launch. “I realized once again how non-inclusive CanLit truly is, and what a long time it takes for [the publishing community] to embrace other cultures that are working side by side with it,” she says.

Zurita, which means “dove” in Spanish, is Villegas’s grandmother’s maiden name. “I chose the name because it is about discovery, discovering the Latino artists who live and create in Canada, and discovering something about my own past,” she says. The imprint will launch in the spring with a collection of short stories on self-discovery,Salt Water & Cinnamon Skin, by Toronto author monica rosas. It will continue in the fall with an anthology of Latino-Canadian writers, to be edited by Lorena Gajardo, a professor of Latino studies at the University of Toronto.

Zurita will be the only Latino-Canadian imprint in existence, and according to Villegas it will publish about one or two titles per year, depending on the level of funding it receives through government grants. All books will be printed in English to appeal to the widest market possible.

When asked if there is a large enough market to keep a Latino-Canadian imprint afloat, Villegas points to “the growing number of Latino immigrants” that are moving to Canada on a yearly basis. “There is a scholarly audience in Latino … writing classes in universities across Canada, as well as the need to have materials in high schools that speak to this growing population,” she says.

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