|Writer, publisher and proud Canadian . . . . Mel Hurtig
will speak at the upcoming Professional Development Days.
Mel Hurtig, the prominent Edmontonian who gave up selling
books to publish them in a way the Canadian industry had
never before witnessed, is one of the lunch speakers at
this year’s APEGGA Professional Development Days.
Born and raised in Edmonton, Mr. Hurtig opened a small
book store in 1956. Although it grew into one of the largest
retail book operations in Canada, Mr. Hurtig had further
plans. He sold his store in 1972 to concentrate on publishing
Canadian books. Hurtig Publishers produced many titles
that won the Governor General’s Award and numerous
In 1980 Mr. Hurtig launched the largest and most ambitious
project in the history of Canadian publishing – the
$12-million, comprehensive Canadian Encyclopedia. It was
published in 1985 and a new, updated and substantially
expanded edition was released in 1988.
In September of 1990, Hurtig Publishers embarked on an
even larger project: the five-volume Junior Encyclopedia
of Canada, the first encyclopedia for young Canadians.
Soon after, in May of 1991, Hurtig Publishers was acquired
by McClelland & Stewart.
Over the past 25 years, Mr. Hurtig has spoken across Canada
on economic, social, political and cultural matters and
about the future of the country he loves. In 1985 he formed
a new national organization, the Council of Canadians,
which is dedicated to preserving Canadian sovereignty.
Mr. Hurtig’s first book as a writer, The Betrayal
of Canada, was published by Stoddart in October of 1991.
It quickly became the number one best-selling book in Canada
and is now in its eighth printing.
Mr. Hurtig’s autobiography, At Twilight in the Country/Memoirs
of a Canadian Nationalist, was published by Stoddart in
the fall of 1996. His last book, Pay the Rent or Feed the
Kids: The Tragedy and Disgrace of Poverty in Canada, was
published by McClelland & Stewart in the fall of 1999.
His newest book, The Vanishing Country, was published by
McClelland & Stewart in October 2002.
Mr. Hurtig is an Officer of the Order of Canada and has
been awarded honorary degrees by six Canadian universities.
Among his many other awards and honours are the Lester
B. Pearson Man of the Year Peace Award, the Speaker of
the Year Award, the Royal Society of Canada’s Centenary
Medal, and, on two occasions, the Canadian Book Publisher
of the Year award.
He has been chairman of the board of the Canadian Booksellers
Association, the national chairman of the Committee for
an Independent Canada, and is the founder and former chairman
of the Council of Canadians.
On Friday, April 23, Mr. Hurtig will be the luncheon speaker
at the second PD day of the APEGGA Annual Conference, where
he’ll speak about his adventures in the world of
books. He will offer humourous perspectives on books, book
selling and publishing, all subjects closely related to
his background in business and writing.