The Literary Press Group has a small and dedicated staff, including:
Laura Rock Gaughan, Executive Director
Laura Rock Gaughan joined the Literary Press Group as Executive Director in 2019. Prior to that she was a senior associate at Laridae, a consulting firm specializing in non-profit management, where she advised clients on communications, strategic planning, community engagement, and governance. An experienced facilitator, she has led numerous workshops and taught college communications and creative writing.
Laura is currently a board member of the Lakefield Literary Festival and previously volunteered as a member of refugee settlement support teams. A published writer, her fiction and essays have appeared in literary journals, newspapers, and anthologies. Her first book, a short story collection entitled Motherish, came out in 2018.
As a wide-ranging reader who regularly prescribes books to family and friends, she’s thrilled to be working to support literary publishers at the LPG.
Barb Phillips, Business Manager
Barb Phillips became the Business Manger for the Literary Press Group in 2011. Her job involves all things financial, but she keeps her fingers in all the LPG pots. She decided to do a career change shortly after moving to Toronto, and attended the inaugural year at Humber's Creative Book Publishing program. After that, Barb worked at McClelland & Stewart for four years.
When not at work, Barb enjoys reading all the beautiful books that come into her office daily, and looks forward to summers on the dock with a pile of LPG books at hand. She also belongs to a longstanding book club – 15 years and counting!
Mandy Bayrami, Marketing Manager
Mandy Bayrami is the marketing manager at the LPG. She previously worked at the Association of Canadian Publishers and Playwrights Canada Press, both of which solidified her enthusiasm for the literary community and the exciting books born from it.
In her spare time, Mandy can be found binge-watching Netflix shows and cooking mediocre dishes. She is smart to let others make dessert though because she is serious about pie. She probably drinks too much coffee, and buys more books than she has space for. One of these days she will need a bigger apartment.
Tan Light, Sales Manager
Tan Light joined the LPG as Sales Manager in early 2013 after 5 years with Random House of Canada. In this role, Tan manages all aspects of the LPG's Sales Force Project, which includes working closely with the Canadian Manda Group, who represent 38 of the LPG's member publishers, in order to develop seasonal catalogues and sales conference events. Additionally, Tan contributes content to the LPG's digital project, AllLitUp.ca.
When not at work, Tan sits on the board of advisors for Found Press and co-chairs the CanPBA Executive Committee, the peer-education & industry event gurus behind BookCampTO, The Mentor Mash and Poetry Karaoke.
Leyla Top, Engagement Manager
Leyla is the Engagement Manager at the LPG. She previously worked in communications within the environmental non profit sector for over four years. Leyla currently manages member engagement for the LPG, including programming industry-related professional development sessions and speakers. She also manages the LPG's ad project and assists with planning and creation of content for All Lit Up.
Leyla is passionate about art and in her spare time can be found pouring over art books, drawing, painting and attending as many art gallery exhibits as she can.
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Providing support and valuable publisher insight is our Board of Directors, including:
Karen Haughian, Signature Editions (Chair)
Karen Haughian was a founding member of the Montreal publishing house Nuage Editions in 1986, the very first desktop publisher in Quebec. In 1997 she moved the press to Winnipeg and in 2000 renamed it Signature Editions. Unabashedly literary, the press is committed to discovering and developing Canadian writing of literary merit, regardless of genre. Its award-winnng list includes both established and first-time authors. Signature Editions currently publishes, on average, 10 books per year, in the areas of literary fiction, non-fiction, and poetry. In 2016, Karen also took over as publisher of J. Gordon Shillingford Publishing.
Karen has a Master's degree in English, and taught English at Concordia University for five years before devoting herself full-time to publishing. She has served on the boards of the regional publishing associations AEALQ and AMBP, the LitDistCo board, and is currently Vice-Chair of the LPG board.
Rebecca Rose, Breakwater Books (Vice Chair)
Rebecca Rose was born and raised in St. John’s and is the President/Publisher of Breakwater Books, Newfoundland’s oldest publishing house. Having grown up inside the publishing industry, she purchased Jesperson Press in 2002 and purchased Breakwater in 2009. Under her guidance, Breakwater has gradually rebranded to focus almost exclusively on the literary trade market.
In May of 2017, Breakwater acquired Creative Book Publishing to become the island’s foremost literary publisher. Rebecca has served as the President of the Atlantic Publishers Marketing Association, a board member of the Association of Canadian Publishers, a board member of LitDistCo, and is currently a board member of the Literary Press Group of Canada. In 2013, she co-founded Ochre Fest – a cultural festival celebrating the unique literature, music, art, and food of Newfoundland and Labrador - which takes place every June in a revitalized church in Ochre Pit Cove, NL.
Hazel Millar, Book*hug Press (Past Chair)
Hazel Millar is the Co-Publisher at Book*hug, an award-winning independent literary press based in Toronto. She is the current Chair of the Board of the Literary Press Group of Canada and sits on several other publishing advisory boards and committees including LitDistCo, Open Book Advisory Board, the Ontario Media Development Corporation's Industry Book Advisory Committee, the Toronto Lit Up Advisory Committee, as well as the International Visitors Program Committee, both in conjunction with the Toronto International Festival of Authors, and Meet the Presses Collective.
Hazel has a BFA in Dance from York University. She lives in Toronto with her husband, Jay MillAR, aka, the other half of Book*hug Press, their two sons, and a cool calico cat named Tess.
Vici Johnstone, Caitlin Press (Treasurer)
Vici Johnstone purchased Caitlin Press of Halfmoon Bay in 2008, and since that time has reinvigorated its publishing program, releasing dozens of titles, many of them BC bestsellers, and garnering recognition across the country. Vici was recently awarded the Jim Douglas Publisher of the Year Award, in recognition of being a voice for under-represented regions of the province, and for reaching out to authors and booksellers throughout BC. Caitlin Press remains committed to publishing diverse and dynamic voices from BC, bridging the gap between urban and rural, and bringing the stories to a growing readership both locally and beyond.
Kelsey Attard, Freehand Books
Kelsey Attard is the managing editor of Freehand Books, a literary publisher in Calgary. She has a master of publishing degree from Simon Fraser University, and she has worked for more than a decade in Alberta’s writing and publishing industry. She also sits on the board of the Book Publishers Association of Alberta.
Nurjehan Aziz, Mawenzi House
Nurjehan Aziz was born in Dar es Salaam, Tanzania, and went to university in Shiraz, Iran, and Boston, Massachusetts. She came to Canada in 1980, and in 1981 was one of the founders of a literary magazine, The Toronto South Asian Review, while working in a research lab at the University of Toronto. The magazine was renamed The Toronto Review of Contemporary Writing Abroad in 1991. She co-organized a conference on South Asian literature in Canada in 1985, which led to the first publication of TSAR Publications, an off-shoot of the literary magazine. In 1993 she became full-time publisher at TSAR, which was re-branded as Mawenzi House Publishers in 2015. She is publisher and co-director (with MG Vassanji) of Mawenzi, continuing with the same editorial vision and mandate, i.e. to publish mainly writers with backgrounds in Asia, Africa, the Caribbean, and the Near East.
She has edited Her Mother’s Ashes: Stories by South Asian Women in Canada and the United States, The Relevance of Islamic Identity in Canada, and more recently Confluences 1 and Confluences 2 (Essays on the New Canadian Literature).