About Us

Our Story

TouchWood Editions is an independent book publisher based in Victoria, BC, Canada.

We are a small team of creatives who share a big love of eating, drinking, exploring the region, and diving into stories that expand and deepen our worldview. Our best work happens when creating beautiful books on topics that ignite our passion: food and wine, regional history, art and photography, gardening and pets, house and home, and quality literary fiction titles.

Individually and collectively, we value how these topics speak to our sense of belonging and place. In this spirit, we acknowledge and respect the Lekwungen-speaking Peoples on whose traditional territories we work and live, and the Songhees, Esquimalt and WSANEC peoples whose historical relationships with the land continue to this day.

Our Name

You’ve probably heard the phrase, “knock on wood.” The British version is “touch wood.” This little ritual is akin to crossing your fingers, a simple gesture meant to seek blessings and luck. Some say that to touch a tree is to seek a blessing from the benevolent spirit that inhabits it, and others say that this phrase has its origins in the auction house: when the auctioneer’s gavel finally strikes its wooden block, the item you’ve bid on becomes yours. We like to think our readers receive a little blessing every time they touch the pages of one of our books.

Our Roots

The roots of TouchWood Editions reach back to 1984 when Marlyn Horsdal and Michael Schubart started Horsdal & Schubart (H&S), a small publishing company based on Salt Spring Island. Their goal was to carry on the legacy of Gray’s Publishing, one of British Columbia’s earliest book publishers, by publishing similar types of books. H&S published mainly non-fiction titles: history and biography, often favouring nautical books, and always authored by writers from western and northern Canada.

In 2000, H&S was purchased by current owner, Pat Touchie, and renamed TouchWood Editions. We continued to build our reputation on producing quality books of cultural and historical significance to BC, specifically Vancouver Island and BC’s west coast. Our backlist is anchored by titles that recount the true stories of BC historical figures and events. Some of these legacy titles include Heart of the Raincoast (1998), Voyages of Hope: The Saga of the Bride-Ships (2002), and Stella: An Unrepentant Madam (2005), among others. Today, we proudly continue to build our reputation in this genre. For example, we recently published A Perfect Eden: Encounters by Early Explorers of Vancouver Island by Michael Layland (shortlisted for a BC Book Prize), Against the Current: The Remarkable Life of Agnes Deans Cameron by Cathy Converse, and City in Colour: Rediscovered Stories of Victoria’s Multicultural Past by May Q. Wong.

Brindle & Glass

Originally founded by Ruth Linka and Lee Shedden in 2001, Brindle & Glass became the literary imprint of TouchWood Editions in 2013. Brindle & Glass continues to live up to its original mandate to showcase the varied, unique, and homegrown literary talents of Western Canadians. Through literary fiction, memoir, and narrative nonfiction, B&G offers compelling and relevant stories that represent diverse people and perspectives.

Today

In recent years, we’ve become an award-winning publisher in many categories: In 2016, novel Do You Think This Is Strange? was shortlisted for the Amazon First Novel Award, and The Waste Not, Want Not Cookbook and The Deerholme Vegetable Cookbook both won Gourmand World Cookbook Awards. In 2017, Food Artisans of the Okanagan won a Taste Canada award, and 150 Years of Canadian Beer Labels was shortlisted for a Taste Canada Award in the Culinary Narratives category. In 2018 we won the Bill Duthie Bookseller’s Choice Award for On Island by Pat Carney, and both Icon and All the Sweet Things were shortlisted for Taste Canada awards. 

Our Team

  • Taryn Boyd︱Publisher
  • Tori Elliott︱Marketing & Publicity Coordinator
  • Renée Layberry︱Editor
  • Colin Parks︱Designer