Friday, August 29, 2008

Toronto shuts down Fifth House

Fifth House, prolific publisher of western history titles, will close its Calgary office and lay off all its western-based staff, Quill & Quire is reporting. Fifth House's recent history publications include Ernie Lakusta's biography of explorer James Hector, Brian Brennan's biography of western historian James Gray, and John Weinstein's just-published study of Metis politics.

Fifth House is a subsidiary of the Toronto publishing enterprise Fitzhenry and Whiteside. F&W declares that the house will continue as before ... except that everything will now be done by its Markham headquarters. But this is a delayed death sentence. It's good that FH titles will continue to be stocked and distributed, but Fifth House is/was a rootedly western press, with close links to western writers and western history. They won't get that strength and insight from some part-time staff in Markham, no matter how well-meaning.

F&W is doing the same to its Red Deer Press imprint.
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