Mel Hurtig Brings Tales
of a Life in Canadian Publishing

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 other awards.

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.

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