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Bruce Walsh

  • Mentor 2017
  • Alumni
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Founding director
University of Regina Press

    A thirty-year veteran of the book industry, Bruce Walsh is a two-time winner of the Libris Award for his outstanding contribution to Canadian publishing. As the former vice president of Margaret Atwood's LongPen and director of marketing at McClelland & Stewart, he has worked with many celebrated authors, both in Canada and internationally.

    In June 2013, he launched University of Regina Press as director and publisher. The first book published by the press --- Clearing the Plains: Disease, Politics of Starvation, and the Loss of Aboriginal Life --- was recently named one of the 25 most influential books published in Canada in the last 25 years and is the bestselling academic book published in Canada this century. The press has published four other national bestsellers since then and has won many awards, including the Sir John A. Macdonald Prize, the Governor General's Award in History, the Clio Award, the Aboriginal Book Prize, the Great Plains Book Award, the Burt Award, and almost a dozen Saskatchewan book awards. With the goal of publishing all of Canada's Indigenous languages and telling Indigenous stories, the press is dedicated to advancing the aims of the Truth and Reconciliation Commission of Canada.

    Much of what he knows, Bruce learned as a volunteer. He has worked in a homeless shelter, a crisis hotline, and in community radio. He is also a long-time board member of the environmental group Canopy, which works with businesses to protect endangered and old-growth forests. A passionate believer in freedom of expression, he resigned in protest from his first publishing job at Oxford University Press after it censored the book Gay Ideas. He then brought national and international attention to Canada's censorship practices and served two terms on the board of Pen Canada. After meeting folk artist Maud Lewis as a five-year-old, Bruce developed a love of visual art and is now on the advisory board of the Dunlop Art Gallery. The recipient of the Queen's Diamond Jubilee Medal for work on behalf of the environment, freedom of expression, and the advancement of culture, he is devoted to community involvement.

    Born and raised in Nova Scotia, he has lived across Canada and knows the country intimately. With the assistance of Indigenous staff and the input of Elders, he is committed to publishing the censored stories and languages of Canada. "Only after understanding who we truly are," he says, "can we reach our potential as a nation." The Pierre Elliott Trudeau Foundation appointed him a Trudeau mentor in 2017.