Book Conservator, Publisher, and Poet

I am a Book Conservator with the Canadian Conservation Institute in Ottawa, a Publisher and Book Designer for Chaudiere Books and a poet with two collections published by BookThug, Conflict (2012) and Charm (2017). My time at Acadia shaped the relative oddness of my tripartite career. I came to Acadia uncertain which path to follow. English as a degree subject was 'out-there' from the perspective of my parents so it wasn't until second year that I shifted from Sociology. My coursework path was a little different than some of my classmates – I particularly loved focusing on postcolonial literatures, linguistics, world literatures, writing by women, editing courses, Maritime writing, and creative writing. I was able to corral other students to help found an arts magazine (estuary) and participated in other publishing activities. I loved the excellent art history courses available at the time and nearly completed a dual specialization. (I regret not doing this now as it is no longer offered at Acadia.)

The thesis itself was pleasure– to be given time at the undergraduate level to just write, and to be taken seriously while doing it? Incredible.  The mentorship of my thesis supervisor Dr. Campbell impacted my overall sense of self as a ‘serious’ writer. All of my creative writing professors impressed upon me the worth of creative writing. This (I find) is rare in academic programs.

I was accepted to MA and MFA programs in English and creative writing, but decided in the end to work at Gaspereau Press. I surprised my professors by turning down a Commonwealth Scholarship to India – but in the end it was the right choice for me as it led to a master’s degree in book conservation (West Dean College, UK). The supportive atmosphere at Acadia nurtured the three aspects of my current career path(s) – publishing, poetry, and to a degree, bookwork. I remember aspects of William Morris blending into my editing coursework and the impulse to see the book as artefact implicit in some of my courses. My path may not have been typical but it fit my needs. The English program at Acadia and several of my professors directly contributed to my overall confidence in all three aspects.