In focus

Le Nordir and David: cradles of succession

Two new publishers settle in the Ottawa area at the turn of the 1990s: Éditions du Nordir and Éditions David. They are critical to the development of the next generation of Franco-Ontarian writers.

Éditions du Nordir is the first to arrive in Ottawa. Founded in 1988 by Robert Yergeau and Jacques Poirier, their mandate is to publish texts that go beyond the identity thematic of the first generation of Franco-Ontarian writers, most of whom publish with Prise de parole in Sudbury. Le Nordir, which specializes mainly in theatre, poetry and essays, contributes to the emergence of a new generation of writers, the majority of whom gravitate around Ottawa. Michel Ouellette and Patrick Leroux, on the theatre side, are but a few examples.

While Le Nordir is founded in Hearst, Northern Ontario – hence its name, which means “to turn north” – it moves to the national capital the following year when its editor, Robert Yergeau, obtains a teaching position at the University of Ottawa. It is with sadness and regrets that the publisher closes its doors in 2012 following Yergeau’s death.

In 1993, Éditions David arrives on the scene, founded by Yvon Malette in Orléans – now an Ottawa neighbourhood – to publish his essay L’autoportrait mythique de Gabrielle Roy. Éditions David quickly establishes itself as an important and original player on the literary scene. In the style of Le Nordir, its mission focuses on, among other things, discovering new authors.

Éditions David distinguishes itself with dynamic collections along the lines of “14/18,” the only collection devoted to literature for teenagers in the Canadian Francophone community outside Quebec, and “Indociles,” which includes non-conformist work. Its main authors include Michel A. Thérien, Éric Charlebois, François Baril Pelletier and Andrée Christensen. Since 2009, the publishing house has been managed by Marc Haentjens, a key player on the Franco-Ontarian cultural scene, who has contributed significantly to its current dynamism.

Along with Éditions du Nordir and David, L’Interligne and Le Vermillon have contributed to making Ottawa a hotspot of Franco-Canadian publishing. Ottawa actually has the highest concentration of Francophone publishers outside of Quebec.