Arsenal Pulp Press

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Arsenal Pulp Press
Founded 1971
Country of origin Canada
Headquarters location Vancouver, British Columbia
Publication types books
Official website

Arsenal Pulp Press is a Canadian independent book publishing company, based in Vancouver, British Columbia. The company publishes a broad range of titles in both fiction and non-fiction, focusing primarily on underrepresented genres such as underground literature, LGBT literature, multiracial literature, graphic novels, visual arts, progressive and activist non-fiction and works in translation, and is noted for founding the annual Three-Day Novel Contest. The press also publishes alternative cookbooks (including vegan) and craft books.


Established in 1971, Scriveners’ Pulp Press Limited was one of several ventures in alternative arts and literature of the early 1970s. In addition to fiction, poetry and drama titles the Press issued a twice-monthly literary magazine, Three-Cent Pulp, from 1972 to 1978, which introduced a loyal readership to new writing and graphics from around the world. In 1977 Pulp held its first 3-Day Novel Contest, a literary marathon held over the Labour Day weekend during which registered contestants attempted to write a novel in three days. Pulp Press sponsored the event until 1991.

In 1981 the Press initiated a subscription library service, the Arsenal Collaborative Library, to serve as a central distribution point for readers, writers and publishers. Membership, which was free, entitled subscribers to free catalogues and advantageous purchasing arrangements. Arsenal, although still a literary press, gradually added literary non-fiction titles to its list in the areas of cultural, gender and multicultural studies. It also established the Tillacum Library, a Native imprint managed by Randy Fred, founder of Theytus Books, the first aboriginal book publisher in Canada; titles included Children of the First People by Dorothy Haegert, Stoney Creek Woman: The Story of Mary John by Bridget Moran, and Resistance and Renewal: The Kamloops Indian Residential School by Celia Haig-Brown. In 1988 the Press introduced a new series “Little Red Books”, compilations of quotations and anecdotes about major personalities and provocative issues. In the early 1990s Arsenal started distributing its books in the US, and its publishing program was further developed to include books on gender studies and LGBT literature as well as titles which reflected its commitment to publications about British Columbia. In 1999, it published How It All Vegan!, a vegan cookbook by Sarah Kramer and Tanya Barnard, which became the press's biggest seller of all-time and launched a series of vegan and health-related titles by Kramer, Dreena Burton, jae steele, and others. The press has also specialized in a number of books in translation, especially from France; these include The Last Genet by Hadrien Laroche, The Dictionary of Homophobia by Louis-Georges Tin, and the graphic novel Blue Is the Warmest Color by Julie Maroh, which spawned a feature film that won the Palme d'Or at the Cannes Film Festival in 2013.

In the fall of 2011 Arsenal Pulp Press celebrated its 40th anniversary.

The management and editorial team during its first decade of operation included Stephen Osborne, William Gregory Enright, D. M. Fraser, Jon Furberg, and Charles Tidler. In 1982, following the sale of its typesetting and printing operations, Pulp changed its name to Arsenal Pulp Press. In 1988 Brian Lam joined Arsenal following a co-op placement at the Press while studying creative writing at the University of Victoria. Lam became president in 1992 and co-owner with Stephen Osborne, one of the original founders and now editor of the literary magazine Geist. Currently the company is managed by Lam (publisher) and vice-president/associate publisher Robert Ballantyne.

The company's books are distributed in Canada by the University of Toronto Press, in the U.S. by Consortium Book Sales & Distribution, in the U.K. and continental Europe by Turnaround Publisher Services, and in Australia and New Zealand by NewSouth Books.

Arsenal Pulp Press has been named a finalist for the Small Press Publisher of the Year Award by the Canadian Booksellers Association in 2004, 2008, 2010, 2012, and 2014. In 2007, it won the Jim Douglas Publisher of the Year Award from the Association of Book Publishers of British Columbia.


Authors who have been published by Arsenal Pulp include:

The company has also published art books by or on the work of Stan Douglas, Peter Flinsch, Attila Richard Lukacs, and Ralf König.

External links