At Expozine 2014: The early days of Montreal’s independent press


Archive Montreal presents:
The early days of Montreal’s independent press : exploring the 1970s small press scene
With the founding members of Véhicule Press, Simon Dardick and Nancy Marrelli, and the founder of Montreal’s long-running independent bookstore The Word, Adrian King-Edwards.
— Sunday November 16 from 3pm to 4pm, in Expozine’s presentation room, 5035 Saint-Dominique (Laurier métro), free admission.

Archive Montreal, the non-profit organization dedicated to promoting and preserving Montreal’s independent arts scene, presents a round-table discussion exploring the early days of Montreal’s small press scene.

Beginning in the mid-1960s, the central districts of Montreal began to develop a new cultural milieu in which artists, writers, poets and musicians could get to know each other and get their works known by the wider public. It involved the creation and programming of new cultural spaces where Montrealers could host readings, exhibits and concerts of their own work and of visiting luminaries such as Allen Ginsberg and Bob Dylan. It also involved the emergence of independent media, including student radio stations and newspapers; small press cooperatives; and independent book, magazine and record stores where young local creatives could sell their own publications and recordings in a do-it-yourself fashion. Archive Montreal‘s project Montreal Underground Origins chronicles this era.

This discussion will explore what the early 1970s small press and literary scene was like : where could people find small press publications, who was making them and how? Since the participants are still active in publishing and bookselling to this day, the panel will also explore the differences between that early era and today regarding costs of living, costs and work involved in self-publishing and the changes in how books are promoted will be explored.

Véhicule Press began in 1973 on the premises of Véhicule Art Inc.—one of Canada’s first artist-run galleries located in what was once the legendary Café Montmartre night club. In 1975 the press became Québec’s only cooperatively-owned printing and publishing company. Simon Dardick and Guy Lavoie were general editors. In the seventies the press distributed most of the small English-language literary presses emerging from the city. Simon Dardick and Nancy Marrelli continued Véhicule Press when the co-operative was dissolved in 1981, and they are now publishing more titles than ever. There will be a table full of recent Véhicule Press titles at Expozine all weekend.

The Word Bookstore was opened in 1975 by Adrian King-Edwards, who was already by then an important collector of Montreal small press and self-published publications. It is the oldest running bookstore accepting local publications on consignment in Montreal, having sold hundreds of different titles by hundreds of local authors in its long history. Adrian King-Edwards is also one of the organizers of Montreal’s annual antiquarian book fair.

This event is organized by Archive Montreal and is made possible in part through the support of the Government of Canada through the Department of Canadian Heritage.