An interview with Dagger Editions publisher Vici Johnstone
Publisher Vici Johnstone launched Dagger Editions, an imprint of Caitlin Press, in the spring of 2017. Dagger Editions is dedicated to publishing literary fiction, non-fiction, and poetry by and about queer women.
Why the name Dagger Editions?
We felt it was important that the community was engaged with this imprint, so we ran a naming contest. We asked queers from across the country to contribute ideas. We received over twenty-five suggestions. When we researched the history of the word dagger we discovered that bulldagger was a term used to describe lesbians in the late 1800s. It was likely a variation of bulldyke, and was a derogatory term intended to hurt and degrade. We felt it was appropriate to reclaim the word and use it to tell our stories.
What’s the imprint’s origin story?
I visited Little Sister’s bookstore shortly after the owner, Jim Deva, passed away. The manager at that time expressed an interest in revitalizing the bookshelves with new Canadian queer literature, but explained that it was hard to find new books to add to the collection. Having grown up in Vancouver, I had spent many of my coming out years perusing the shelves of the Little Sister’s and was inspired to help Canadian queer women publish their work. A few years later, we launched Dagger Editions.
What can we look forward to from Dagger Editions?
In fall 2018, Dagger Editions is launching an anthology called Swelling with Pride: Queer Conception and Adoption Stories. The editor, Sara Graefe, has collected more than twenty-five stories from the early mavericks that formed families under the radar (when fertility clinics were not open to singles and lesbians) and the Gen X and millennial queers who have become parents during the current “gayby boom.” We are also publishing new work by Nanaimo’s poet laureate, Tina Biello, and a long-anticipated second food memoir by Marusya Bociurkiw.