Daniel Francis

Reading the National Narrative

Breakwater Makes Fifty

Mar 9, 2023

I see by this article in Quill & Quire that the Newfoundland publisher Breakwater Books is enjoying its 50th year in the business.

Even though I live at the other end of the country and have only been to Newfoundland once, I am one of the horses in Breakwater's stable. In 1984 the press published Arctic Chase, my short history of whaling in Canada's Arctic. At that time I had published one book with Mel Hurtig in Edmonton but Mel was not as enthusiastic about whaling as I was and took a pass on Arctic Chase. One of his editors, Sarah Reid, believed in the manuscript and offered to shop it around for me. The only time I've ever had an agent. And she found a home for it on The Rock.

In those days Breakwater was managed by one of its co-founders, Clyde Rose. I only met Clyde once, at a drunken dinner of small press publishers in Montreal when he almost got us all kicked out of the restaurant because he wouldn't stop bellowing sea chanties at the top of his lungs.

The company is now led by Rebecca Rose, Clyde's daughter. Congratulations on the 50th.