The Association of Canadian Publishers (ACP) is delighted to announce that Patsy Aldana, founder of Groundwood Books, is the recipient of the 2024 President’s Award. ACP is also pleased to report that Kate Edwards, CEO of Access Copyright and former Executive Director of ACP, will be presented with an honorary lifetime membership in the association, in recognition of her decades of service to the publishing industry. 

This year’s awards are being presented in conjunction with ACP’s 2024 Annual General Meeting, which will be held in a hybrid format, in Toronto and online, from June 3–5, 2024. After hosting a virtual AGM last year, ACP is also excited for in-person celebration of the association’s 2021 and 2023 honorees: Quill & Quire (2021 Honorary Lifetime Membership); Karen Boersma, Publisher of Owlkids Books (2023 President’s Award); Grace Westcott, founder of Westcott Law and President of PEN Canada (2023 Honorary Lifetime Membership), as part of the awards program. 

Patsy Aldana is a Canadian publishing veteran, with a long and illustrious career. After moving to Canada from Guatemala in 1971, she founded Groundwood Books in 1978, leading the press to win 20 Governor General’s Literary Awards by the time she retired in 2012. Under Aldana’s leadership, Groundwood was committed to finding, developing, and publishing authors and illustrators from communities who had been mostly absent from publishing programs in the past, including Chinese, Black, Sikh, Japanese, and Hispanic Canadian communities. Aldana has been active throughout her career in Canadian organizations that involve publishing, promoting Canadian books, and policy. She was president of the Association of Canadian Publishers from 1978–1980, and has chaired other organizations such as the Canadian Coalition for School Libraries, the Organization of Book Publishers of Ontario, the International Board on Books for Young People, and the Hans Christian Andersen Award. Aldana and her colleague Rick Wilks of Annick Press founded the National Reading Campaign in 2009 with the hopes of bringing policy focus to issues such as reading for pleasure in schools, reading Canadian authors, and ensuring that Indigenous children had the same opportunity to become life-long readers as other Canadian children. Aldana’s contributions have earned her numerous awards, which culminated in her being named to the Order of Canada in 2010. Aldana is currently Publisher of Aldana Libros, an imprint of Greystone Kids.

An experienced non-profit leader and advocate, Kate Edwards has spent her career in service of Canadian arts and creative industries. She spent more than 15 years with the Association of Canadian Publishers, including as Executive Director from 2015–2023, and is an active participant in initiatives across the publishing industry and broader arts and culture sector. Edwards has served on the boards of Work In Culture, the Book and Periodical Council, eBOUND Canada, and Canada FBM2020, the organization that delivered the publishing industry’s presence as Guest of Honour at the 2020 and 2021 Frankfurt Book Fairs. In January 2024, Edwards was appointed CEO of Access Copyright, representing more than 13,000 Canadian publishers, writers, and visual artists.

“We are excited to honor Patsy Aldana and Kate Edwards for their remarkable contributions to the Canadian publishing industry,” said Brian Lam, ACP President. “Their dedication and leadership have left an indelible mark on our sector. Additionally, we are delighted to finally celebrate the achievements of our 2023 honorees, Karen Boersma and Grace Westcott. This year’s AGM promises to be a memorable event as we recognize these outstanding individuals and reconnect with colleagues from across the country.”

The President’s Award is awarded to ACP members who have made a significant contribution to the Canadian publishing industry and to the ACP. Honorary lifetime membership in ACP is presented to an individual or group who is not a member of ACP, but has made a significant contribution to the association and to the Canadian publishing industry.

For more information, contact:
Jack Illingworth, Executive Director
Association of Canadian Publishers