Known as the most intense course in the program, the book project was truly a wild ride. In this course, small groups are given the names of existing publishing companies and tasked with creating new imprints with specific goals in mind. We’re assured it’s all pretend, but it really doesn’t feel like it.
I was lucky to be partnered with an amazing and supportive group, and we were asked to create a new imprint for Greystone Books, one that addressed a younger audience. We started by looking at our roots and tentatively landed on Nephrite Books as our name. Nephrite Jade is BC’s provincial stone, and it’s mined locally. A beautiful green colour, it ties to the environmental focus of the parent company. Despite us all feeling good about this name, it just didn’t fit with what we were doing. We struggled to pick a logo that suited the name and our ideals, and in week three, inspiration struck. Migration, movement, journeys… we were Migrate Books. Once we uncovered our true name, we set to work on the rest of the project.
I won’t catalogue the entire process here, but the end result was a fiction imprint that looked to three pillars of sustainability and catalogued a variety of international voices. We produced four titles, and they were real to us. We designed and printed covers, developed plots, established the authors’ backgrounds, created budgets and marketing plans… we did everything but write them.
Below you can find a selection of materials that we created. As a reminder, this was a group project, and I can’t take the credit for all of this work.
Please note, these are fictional books created for a school project, and while the names of authors may be real, they are not tied to these projects in any way.
Vision: To be the go-to press connecting readers from across the world and to foster a community that improves environmental sustainability and social justice
Values: three pillars of sustainability, diversity & inclusivity, connection & community, young, emerging voices
Mission: migrate books publishes literary fiction and poetry with a focus on environmental, social, and economic sustainability. We aim to reach younger readers by publishing exciting, emerging voices. Our books are calls to action: we believe that by sharing stories from diverse perspectives, we can create a more sustainable world.
In what Heather O’Neill calls “the novel I needed when I was younger,” three women navigate grief, trauma, self-discovery, and love across thousands of miles.
Emma, Ji-Yoon, Roe, and Kate grew up on quiet Poplar Avenue in Victoria, BC. After fifteen years of inseparable friendship, they are devastated when Kate passes away unexpectedly. The tragedy strikes just as the women prepare to leave home for the first time, forcing them to confront their grief from thousands of miles apart. Roe travels to Halifax and falls fast for a woman in her painting class, leaning on her friends as she navigates her first love and what it means to be out. Ji-Yoon teaches and works two part-time jobs to afford her tiny apartment in Montreal. Emma struggles through a difficult relationship with her boyfriend in Vancouver. They hold on to one another from a distance with postcards, rants in the group chat, and late-night video calls. But after learning a devastating secret about Emma’s life, Ji-Yoon and Roe must scramble to rush to her aid.
For fans of Sally Rooney, Annie Barry’s latest novel is an intimate, uplifting story about the remarkable power of female friendship.
the dream goes on
For fans of Yaa Gyasi’s Homegoing, this novel follows an enslaved mother and her descendants as they find hope during their family’s multi-generational migration from Africa to El Salvador and, eventually, Vancouver.
The dream goes on takes readers on a heart-wrenching journey that echoes across generations: a woman is ripped from her homeland, an idealist is exiled from her country, and a new mother seeks refuge in a faraway, unfamiliar home. Depicting the hardships of displacement and starting a new life—yet written with refreshing moments of joy—this novel is a welcome reminder of our shared resilience.
Young Ada is forced from the Gold Coast of Africa to El Salvador on a slave ship. After witnessing her husband’s murder, Ada develops a profound fear of deep waters—a trauma that will manifest itself in the lives of her descendants for generations to come. Four hundred years later, Lourdes falls in love with a Salvadoran military officer, even as the government he represents takes everything from her. With no home and no belongings, her family is forced to start over in another country. In modern-day Honduras, a string of mass shootings forces Andrea and her family to abandon home in pursuit of a safer life. Andrea must navigate the tough decisions of motherhood as she fears for both herself and her family on their desperate journey north. With unique insight into the complexities of forced and chosen migration and storytelling reminiscent of NBC’s This Is Us, Zaldivar portrays both the lives we run from and those we run toward when we persist in the dream of a better future.
burning voices: stories for a sustainable future
A compelling story collection edited by renowned environmentalist Severn Cullis-Suzuki, burning voices imagines a sustainable future through the lens of eighteen diverse and passionate voices.
A creative and inspiring take on the future of sustainability told from a global perspective, through the lens of eighteen exceptional writers from across the Americas. This collection of poems and short stories is both an ode to the beauty of the natural world and a call to action. Exploring a wide range of topics, from climate change and deforestation to air pollution and human rights, burning voices challenges readers to examine their actions and to make changes for a better future.
Stories from award-winning Cree author Francine Cunningham and Métis writer Toni Jensen remind us of the beauty of the natural world and our duty to protect it, while acclaimed Colombian poet Hugo Jamioy and Guatemalan storyteller Gabael Otzoy remind us of our other duty to protect one another. Exploring the many ways we rely on nature as well as the power of advocacy, this creative and timely literary collection delivers a much-needed message: the health of the planet is in our hands.
Hand-picked by renowned environmentalist and author Severn Cullis-Suzuki, these works incite hope for a better future.
between places we belong
Right before the collapse of modern civilization, three families struggle to get home, desperate to hold onto each other while rapid ice melt floods the planet.
In this unsettling and thought-provoking eco-thriller reminiscent of Kim Stanley Robinson’s The Ministry for the Future, three families grapple with a new meaning of home as climate disaster sends the world into panic and disorder.
Lydia was travelling across Mexico with her parents and little brother as airport operations ceased, and they were trapped over 2,000 km away from home. Masato had left with his elderly father on a fishing trip, which was suddenly cut short when his mother, unable to climb stairs due to an ailing hip, called in a panic with news of a flooding house, leaving her in unlivable conditions. Newlyweds Bella and Kohen were living the #vanlife in England, preparing for the arrival of their daughter when the countries started preparing for total world shut down and the first deportation notice arrived.
Andrea Gunraj’s literary prose will captivate you in this thrilling story of family and survival as humanity tries to navigate drastically rising water levels, dangerous weather, and foreign countries.
Alongside the books (which were real, you could hold them) we created a small magazine, postcards, a gift basket, a website, and social media pages with beautiful posts (images of this content coming soon!).
After creating these titles and the marketing materials, we presented them to a panel of industry professionals at a faux sales conference in December. It was a fast-paced and exciting experience, and a variety of industry professionals reviewed our work, gave us feedback, and assisted us as we went along.