20×20: Twenty Years of Conundrum Press

Feb 7, 2016 by

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20×20: Twenty Years of Conundrum Press
Edited by Andy Brown

 

Anthology

ISBN 978-1-77262-002-3
7.5×10 inches, 240 pages, softcover, flaps
full colour, $20

May 2016

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Conundrum Press was created in 1996 in post-referendum Montreal by Andy Brown, to give voice to the under-represented working in the underground anglo cultural milieu. Writers and cartoonists came to him wanting to make chapbooks. Soon he started making genre-defying books with spines, not staples. After fifteen years he moved to Nova Scotia and focused exclusively on graphic novels. Now, twenty years later, this anthology represents all that history, all that talent, all that goodness.

To celebrate twenty years in operation he asked one author or artist for each year of the press who had a book out that year to contribute something new, something that represented Conundrum. For some it would have been the first book he or she had ever made. So in the end twenty Conundrumites represent twenty years, hence 20×20. There will be digging deep into the archives, there will be memoirs, there will be comics, drawings, and photographs. There will be laughter and tears of joy.

1996: Catherine Kidd
1997: Billy Mavreas
1998: Dana Bath
1999: Howard Chackowicz
2000: Lance Blomgren
2001: Andy Brown
2002: Corey Frost
2003: Marc Tessier
2004: Shary Boyle
2005: Maya Merrick
2006: Jillian Tamaki (cover)
2007: Emily Holton
2008: JR Carpenter
2009: Ian Sullivan Cant
2010: Elisabeth Belliveau
2011: Philippe Girard
2012: Joe Ollmann
2013: Dakota McFadzean
2014: Meags Fitzgerald
2015: Sherwin Tjia
2016: David Collier
Plus endpapers by Temple Bates

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We’re chatting in the kitchen of “Conundrum Towers Estate,” a term Brown coins in his ironic introduction to The Portable Conundrum, referring to the press’s headquarters. Located in the apartment downstairs from his St-Dominique Street residence, his office area is comfortable, yet considerably less luxurious than what’s described in the book. As one might expect, money isn’t the motivating factor when it comes to running a small English-language press in Montreal. Asked what inspired him to get into the business, Brown reminisces about how a side project quickly grew into something more formal. “At the beginning, it was very much a Montreal thing, and I was filling what I perceived as a gap in Anglophone culture in the late 90s, post-referendum. But at the time I wasn’t so much self-consciously doing that, I was just kind of doing what I was doing. At one point I realized that I was part of this community, mostly the spoken word community,” he recalls. “As more and more people became invested in me doing (this), I had to start thinking, Okay, this is not just a hobby. I’m providing a service. I’m part of a community, and maybe I should give it a name.” —from the Montreal Review of Books on the occasion of the 10 year anniversary of Conundrum Press

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