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About Todd Besant

How often do we tell our own life story? How often do we adjust, embellish, make sly cuts?

Julian Barnes

Professional profile

Third Person Pertinent

Todd Besant lives and works on the bed of an ancient glacial lake in the heart of Turtle Island in Winnipeg, Manitoba, that is located on Treaty One land and is the traditional territories of Anishinaabeg, Cree, Oji-Cree, Dakota, and Dene peoples, and is the Homeland of the Métis Nation.

He has over 30 years of experience as a book publisher, writer, author, editor, not-for-profit board member, arts and culture administrator and manager, journalist, bookseller, and communications professional.

Currently he is the executive editor of ARP Books, a left/progressive publisher in Winnipeg.

From 2001 to 2009 he was the managing editor of Turnstone Press. In that time the company published many acclaimed books, including the Giller Prize finalist, Kilter: 55 fictions and Turnstone was a finalist for the Canadian Bookseller Association’s Small Press Publisher of the Year Award.

In addition, he was the executive director of the Association of Manitoba Book Publishers, and was the book and publishing columnist for Uptown Magazine and the editor of Prairie Books NOW. Authors he’s interviewed include Dionne Brand, Douglas Coupland, Carol Shields, and Richard Van Camp.

An experienced community advocate

Todd is dedicated to book culture and is an advocate for publishers and writers, serving as the Chairperson (and Treasurer) of the Literary Press Group, founding Treasurer of LitDistCo, the Vice-president of the Association of Canadian Publishers, and the President of the Manitoba Writers’ Guild. He was also a member of both the board and the advisory council of the Winnipeg International Writers Festival.

Right now, he is a the Board Secretary of the Association of Canadian Publishers.

Todd has also served on peer juries for the Canada Council for the Arts, the Manitoba Arts Council, and the Winnipeg Arts Council and on many book award juries. As well, he has been a speaker and panellist at writing and publishing annual general meetings and professional development sessions.

Todd is a Red River College graduate in Creative Communications (Honours, Journalism) and has an Arts & Culture Management Certificate from The University of Winnipeg.

You can find his fiction in a few literary magazines, including Geist, Prairie Fire, and Contemporary Verse 2. They can be read on this blog.

He has received grants from the Manitoba Arts Council and the Winnipeg Arts Council to support his development as a writer, a publishing professional, and arts manager.

For more professional information, Todd’s CV/Résumé is here.

“I want my work to be well thought of. But myself? I never think of that one way or another. Look, I don’t take the temperature every day. I don’t solicit affection.”

Mordecai Richler

Personal Profile

First Person Impertinent

I’m a blue-collar guy working in a white-collar world and I think mastering a craft or trade and blurring the line between work and leisure fosters contentment.

I’m kind, open-minded, and pretty calm in pressured situations. Occasionally I spend too many hours of a day teetering on vexation. But I usually don’t let myself collapse into the muck of discomposure.

I believe stories are what people do, perhaps even what we are. And books–as objects and for the stories they hold–are vital to humanity. I’ve spent a good chunk of my life working and volunteering in book culture.

Sometimes it seems like a hard–and occasionally frustrating–way to make a living. But it’s rewarding and fun way to make a life.

I write fiction. It can be read on this site. Right now I think of myself as a miscellaneous stunt writer. If I could change artistic practices I’d be a modern/free dancer.

To help keep me on course my semi-guiding mottoes are “Put on your red shoes and dance the blues.” and “Être fort pour être utile.” And I read the stoics. (Like, way before it became “a thing.” What took y’all so long?)

If you want to buy me a gift, I have fetishes about waxed canvas shoulder bags, fine notebooks and pencils, and rescuing abandoned office supplies. (This is my favourite stapler.) As well, I’m keen on generous pours of strong dark coffee (black), American bourbon, Scottish Whisky, Irish Whiskey, Canadian Rye, hoppy microbrew ales, New Zealand Pinot Grigio, and Argentinian Malbec.

My sense of humour is dark, profane, occasionally grotesque, and sometimes deep, deep blue.

Contact me if have time on your hands and you’re willing to buy the first round or if you want to offer me a lucrative and useful sinecure.

All material, unless otherwise noted, Copyright © Todd Besant. All rights reserved.

Image by Ag Ku from Pixabay

This blog is written and produced on Turtle Island in Winnipeg, MB, on Treaty 1 Land that is the territories of Anishinaabeg, Cree, Oji-Cree, Dakota, and Dene peoples, and is the Traditional Homeland of the Métis Nation. All material, unless otherwise noted, Copyright © Todd Besant. All rights reserved.
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