BY JULIA GILLMOR
You’ve probably never heard of the Mint Literary Agency in Nelson.
It’s a small, under publicized company on Baker Street that has been helping Kootenay and other Canadian authors seek publication for the last seven years. Its client base of more than 20 writers includes Anne DeGrace, Cyndi Sand-Eveland, Jennifer Craig, Vivien Bowers, Antonia Banyard and Holley Rubinsky.
Morty Mint, Grand Poobah of said agency moved to the Nelson area after a 46-year career in the publishing industry. A chance encounter with Anne DeGrace at the Nelson Public Library quickly introduced him to the talent in the area.
It’s fair to say that when it comes to publishing, Morty Mint knows his stuff. After graduating from university but failing the dental entrance exam at the University of Montreal, Mint took work in Toronto as a deli truck driver for Shopsy’s. He quickly found work as a sales rep for Collier-Macmillan Canada. After that, things skyrocketed. Career highlights include Vice President of Collins Canada, President of Penguin Canada and President and CEO of Penguin USA with plenty of notable stopping points in between.
“I’ve been doing this a long time and what most writers don’t realize is that knocking on a publisher’s door ain’t the way to sell your book. Authors submit without knowing the ins and outs, not securing advances and the royalty rights don’t reflect the industry standard,” says Mint.
As an agent, Mint represents and looks after writers best interests.
Inspired by the vibrant Kootenay writing community, Mint became an advocate for the literary arts and a member of the Cultural Development Committee. His first project was working with the City of Nelson on the Hockey Day in Canada book.
“It’s a beautiful book that bridges culture and sport,” he describes.
He then shone his light on the Kootenay Literary Competition.
“I’m jazzed about the KLC because I’m jazzed about the literary arts. Being involved with people who write and have a passion for it, that excites me,” says Mint. The initial focus of KLC was Nelson and area, but over the last three years the competition has broadened beyond the immediate community.
“This year’s competition and it’s partnership with College of the Rockies and Selkirk College has elevated KLC’s profile. We’ve had 93 submissions from writers all over the Kootenays with a strong showing from the East.”
KLC has been working with Kootenay authors and high schools to bring the literary arts to the youth, which Mint sees as the single greatest growth potential in the area.
“I would like to bring in more youth and get them involved in writing more seriously. KLC can offer them that kind of encouragement and promotion,” he says. Part of that promotion is Revolution, an anthology of the 2012 KLC winners work. Published by Mint Literary Agency, it’s being picked up by local bookstores and one of the major library suppliers that will sell the anthology into the schools in the area. There is also an ebook scheduled for release.
“The anthology gives the winners of KLC recognition from the writing community. It also offers credibility to emerging and youth writers,” he says.
KLC is a division of the Kootenay Writers Society, one of the vehicles expanding awareness and potential of the literary arts in the Kootenays.
“There are a great many more writers in the Koots then are realized and known about,” says Mint. “We’re hoping to change that.”
The KLC awards will be held on January 18 at the Prestige. Winners will be reading from their work. The anthology will be available for purchase.