Library and Archives Canada
Symbol of the Government of Canada

Institutional links

Literary Archives

Previous | Table of Contents | Next

List of Fonds and Collections


Oolichan Books fonds. - 1974-1996. - 35.4 m of textual record and graphic material.

Administrative History

Oolichan Books came into being in 1974 when Ron Smith requested sponsorship from Malaspina College in Nanaimo, British Columbia to set up a literary press and was granted temporary use of the College's facilities. A successful grant application to the Canada Council in the following year enabled the Press to operate independently. Consequently it moved to Lantzville, British Columbia, a small seaside village on Vancouver Island, where Oolichan Books has remained. Oolichan launched its publishing program with the works of four West Coast writers: David Day, Robert Kroetsch, Kevin Roberts and Robin Skelton. Although primarily geared to publishing poetry and fiction, Oolichan expanded its focus to works of regional and national importance, as well as a few children's titles. Notable publications include Tommy Douglas Speaks (1979), a collection of selected speeches. Other works co-published with the Institute for Research on Public Policy in 1988 include a series on Native issues and two books on Quebec's future in Canada. In 1994, two partners joined Oolichan: Jay Connolly as production manager and fiction editor, and Rhonda Bailey as managing editor and publisher. Ron Smith continues as co-publisher and poetry editor. Despite its size and limited means, Oolichan has earned a reputation for well-designed and well-edited publications. Currently, Oolichan Books advertises itself as a small literary press publishing fiction and poetry.

Biographical Sketch

Professor, publisher and writer, Ron Smith was born in Vancouver, British Columbia (B.C.) in 1943. He studied English literature at Leeds University (M.A. in 1970), and returned to Vancouver Island in 1971 to a teaching position with the English Department at Malaspina College in Nanaimo, B.C. Apart from teaching and running Oolichan Books, Smith reviewed books and edited the successful anthology of West Coast short fiction Rainshadow Stories from Vancouver Island (1982).

Scope and Content

The Oolichan Books fonds includes financial records; author files; typescripts, galleys, page proofs, and art work for each published book including limited and special editions; and catalogues of Oolichan titles. The fonds also includes papers documenting Ron Smith's personal literary career, his student writing, poetry, drafts, fiction, non-fiction, manuscripts and correspondence. The second accession contains correspondence with George Woodcock, Daphne Marlatt, Earle Birney, Dorothy Livesay, George Bowering, Jack Hodgins, among others. The third accession includes business files for activity up to 1994.

Immediate Source of Acquisition: acquired from Ron Smith in 1985, 1990 and 1996. [1985-02, 1990-06, 1996-03]

Language: material in the fonds is in English.

Restrictions: some restrictions on access.

Finding Aid: finding aid available for first accession.

Previous | Table of Contents | Next