UP Week 2021: Books that Represent UBC Press

Posted: Wednesday, November 10, 2021

To celebrate University Press Week, we asked our staff which publications—published in the last decade—best represent UBC Press. Unsurprisingly, themes emerged that highlight the importance of university presses in expanding knowledge and inspiring change. Here’s what the UBC Press team had to say:

University presses bring passion to their work.


Book cover for Native Art of the Northwest Coast  

Native Art of the Northwest Coast: A History of Changing Ideas stands out for me as such an accomplishment. Decades of work went its 1120 pages and I think that I can speak for everyone at the Press when I say that it felt like such a privilege to be a part of bringing it to the world. And it is a book that was not finished at publication: it went on to spur a series of productive workshops and talks at galleries in British Columbia about Indigenous art, generating even more work and discussion around the ideas raised in its pages. It will continue to influence thought and scholarship for decades to come.”

LARAINE COATES, Assistant Director, Marketing and Business Development

University presses further knowledge.


Book cover for Otter's Journey  

"Otter's Journey through Indigenous Language and Law is a vividly engaging work that uses storytelling in its many forms to show us that Indigenous languages and laws are like streams that, even when paved over for hundreds of years, find ways to reassert themselves, to flow together and become part of a larger and powerful river.


Book cover for At the Bridge  

“At the Bridge is the story of James Teit and his allyship with the Indigenous population of Western Canada during the late 1800s and early 1900s.  Wendy Wickwire tirelessly researched and chronicled the life of James Teit in a very accessible and approachable way.  I think this book represents UBC Press because it sheds light on an important historical figure who had previously been overlooked and undervalued.  I also think At the Bridge epitomizes the importance of publishing books that the general population can read and become more knowledgeable on a topic, in this case, James Teit and Indigenous-Settler relations.”

LIZ HUDSON, Sales and Inventory Manager

University presses champion change.


Book cover for First Nations Wildfire Evacuations  

“Published under our Purich Books imprint, which seeks to ignite understanding and champion change, First Nations Wildfire Evacuations is a culturally responsive emergency management guide. Based on interviews with over 200 wildfire evacuees from seven First Nations communities, it gives insight into how community members experience the different stages of an evacuation in order to help community leaders and external agencies plan for smoother evacuations and better care of evacuees.”

NADINE PEDERSEN, Editor, Purich Books and On Campus Books

Book cover for Bootstraps Need Boots  

“A book near and dear to me is Hugh Segal’s memoir Bootstraps Need Boots: One Tory’s Lonely Fight to End Poverty in Canada published under our On Point Press imprint. Hugh Segal has spent decades trying to convince people that a basic annual income would help people out of poverty. They would do the right thing with the money. A BAI would not be just a handout. I couldn’t help but think about Hugh Segal’s life-long endeavour at the outset of the pandemic, if a basic annual income was in place there could have been a smooth transition to a financial safety net for those who lost their jobs. Bootstraps Need Boots, like many UBC Press publications, is about a big idea that has the potential to bring about positive change.”

KERRY KILMARTIN, Publicist and Events Manager

University presses are in tune with the needs of students.


Book cover for It's All Good (Unless It's Not)  

It's All Good (Unless It's Not): Mental Health Tips and Self-Care Strategies for Your Undergrad Years: This was the first full book that I designed for the Press and I found myself being pulled into the copy time and time again as I laid out the book. Malette has written an insightful book full of tips and strategies for students dealing with mental health issues – it's a resource that I wish existed when I was doing my undergrad.”

GERILEE MCBRIDE, Advertising and Promotions Manager


“I’ve always been interested in and passionate about mental health, so I was very excited when we published It’s All Good (Unless It’s Not) by Nicole Malette. Even more, I love that it’s part of our On Campus imprint, so the book is open access and freely available for anyone who needs it. I think it shows how UBC Press has evolved to become more engaged with and in tune with the needs of students.”

MEGAN MALASHEWSKY, Agency and Digital Marketing Coordinator

University presses publish books other publishers won’t.


Book cover for Birds of Nunavut  

“When the editors of Birds of Nunavut approached UBC Press to publish their book, we knew we had to do it. In the past, the press had published comprehensive bird guides to two other regions of Canada, so we had the in-house expertise to take on a project of this scale–involving comprehensive textual descriptions of 295 species of birds, over 800 colour images, and 155 maps. We also strongly suspected that if we didn’t do it, likely no other Canadian publisher would. The need for this book was clear and urgent. As Denis Lepage a senior scientist with Bird Studies Canada put it, ‘At this crucial juncture of our history, when we have started to realize the disproportionate impacts of climate change on the northernmost parts of the planet, understanding the makeup of its avifauna is ever more important and will help us understand better how it is changing, and perhaps, hopefully, help preserve it.’

NADINE PEDERSEN, Editor, Purich Books and On Campus Books


Posted by Megan M.
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