While an authentic Franco-Ontarian literature emerges in the 1970s, new publishing houses are created. The movement is initiated in Sudbury, where Éditions Prise de parole is founded in 1973. Ottawa follows with the creation of Éditions L’Interligne in 1981 and Éditions du Vermillon in 1982. The three publishers fill a significant gap in the Franco-Ontarian publishing world. Jacques Flamand, who co-founds the publishing house with Monique Bertoli, remembers of a time when “there was lots of work, and then perhaps not enough opportunities to make it known.”1
The two Ottawa publishing houses follow different paths, pursuing different objectives. While L’Interligne seeks to publish books on the Franco-Ontarian community, its realities, dreams and ambitions, Le Vermillon opts for a more diverse production. During the first decades, L’Interligne seeks to raise awareness of Franco-Ontarian cultural heritage by publishing historical works: biographies, essays, historical documents, monographs. Curiously, the first book it publishes belongs to a very particular genre: an “anti-photonovel” by playwright Robert Marinier, entitled Lafortune et Lachance. Du Vermillon, for its part, specializes in publishing collections of poetry on universal themes, as well as children’s books, including magnificent illustrated albums.
With time, both publishers are transformed. At Vermilion, the transformation manifests itself as a greater diversity in the type of work published. Its publications include illustrated books for children, children novels, comic books, novels and stories for adults, poetry, essays and pedagogical guides. At L’Interligne, the direction changes when Stefan Psenak takes over in 1997. Psenak, himself a writer, gives L’Interligne a more literary mission: novels, poetry and youth literature are given more space in the catalogue. The evolution of these two publishing houses illustrates the evolution of Franco-Ontarian literature as a whole: initially intended to represent the reality of Franco-Ontarians, it is now as diverse as any other literature.
1 Monique Bertoli and Jacques Flamand, interviewed by Joël Beddows and Lucie Hotte for the “Construction d’une mémoire française à Ottawa : savoirs communautaires et réseaux sociaux” project, 2013 (translated from the original).
Lise Leblanc, head of publicity at Éditions L’Interligne, with Monique Bertoli and Jacques Flamand, Éditions du Vermillon, at Montréal’s Salon du livre (Book fair) November 1984. Photo: Jules Villemaire.
University of Ottawa, CRCCF, Fonds Les Éditions L’Interligne (C86), Ph167-469.