Coming off Giller win, Thomas Allen publisher Patrick Crean passes torch to Marc Côté
Following a successful 12-year stint as founding publisher of Thomas Allen Publishers, Patrick Crean is leaving the company to embark on what he describes as a “creative sabbatical.” He will be succeeded in the role by Cormorant Books president and publisher Marc Côté, who will operate as the head of both firms.
The move follows a career high note for Crean, who landed Thomas Allen its second Scotiabank Giller Prize last fall for Esi Edugyan’s Half-Blood Blues. “It has become so difficult to publish in English Canada that it does seem like a good time to take a pause and re-examine the fundamentals of book publishing, and then get back into it,” Crean told Q&Q.
The move further strengthens ties between Cormorant and Thomas Allen Publishers, the publishing division of distributor Thomas Allen & Son. The two companies recently announced a formal partnership that took effect last July when Cormorant moved sales and distribution to Thomas Allen & Son, and company president and CEO Jim Allen took a minority ownership stake in Cormorant.
In December, the two houses partnered to roll out a digital publishing initiative, called cStories, that will see Canadian-authored short stories sold via the websites of independent bookstores. Cormorant now plans to move from its downtown Toronto offices to Thomas Allen’s headquarters in Markham, Ontario.
Côté emphasized that the two houses remain distinct companies operating under separate publishing boards. “They have separate editorial mandates, separate editorial visions, separate editorial directions,” he said.
Under the new arrangement, Côté will continue to acquire and edit for Cormorant and work closely with Thomas Allen Publishers senior editor Janice Zawerbny. Côté said it has not been decided if he will take an active role in acquiring and editing for Thomas Allen Publishers, though he may acquire and edit fewer titles for Cormorant as the company’s children’s publishing imprint, Dancing Cat Books, continues to grow.
Thomas Allen will continue to publish between 8–10 titles per year, while Cormorant will publish 20–28 titles per year, including literary fiction, non-fiction, children's and YA titles, and poetry.
All other positions at the two companies will remain unchanged, though some staffers will take on new roles and responsibilities. Cormorant associate publisher Barry Jowett will officially become publisher of Dancing Cat, while marketing coordinator Bryan Jay Ibeas, who Côté said has been easing into editorial over the past year and a half, will officially become an acquiring editor.
Staff at the two companies is rounded out by Cormorant publicist Meryl Howsan and Catherine Whiteside, the publicity manager for Thomas Allen & Son.
For his part, Crean said he’s happy to leave the imprint in good hands, though he has no intention of staying out of publishing permanently. “Stay tuned, because this adventure is not over yet,” he said.
Crean’s last day at Thomas Allen will be Feb. 29.