PMA Books founder Carol Martin named to the Order of Canada

Congratulations to Carol Martin who was recently named to the Order of Canada. The citation reads: “For her contributions to the development of the Canadian independent publishing industry, notably as a founding member of the Association of Canadian Publishers.”

A champion of Canadian books, Carol and her then husband Peter Martin started The Readers Club of Canada in 1959, the only book club to offer its members an entirely Canadian book selection. In 1965, they founded the publishing firm Peter Martin Associates (later PMA Books) and Carol continued to run the company after the couple’s split until it was sold in 1982. The firm published children’s books as well as adult books – among them the Northern Lights series of historical picture books and Janet Lunn’s first children’s book Double Spell.

The company also served as a remarkable greenhouse for growing Canadian children’s book talent. Among the people who worked there are: Patsy Aldana, founder of Groundwood Books; author Tim Wynne-Jones, who worked as a designer for PMA and hired Michael Solomon (now the designer at Groundwood Books); Peter Carver, who went on to CCBC and eventually became children’s editor at Red Deer Press; author and editor Shelley Tanaka (Groundwood Books); and editor and author Valerie Wyatt (Owl magazine and Kids Can Press).

Carol was also one of the founding directors of the CCBC, along with Irma McDonough Milnes and Annabel Slaight.

After the sale of PMA Books, Carol went on to work at the writing and publications section of the Canada Council. Since her retirement, she has written a number of books for adults and children.

Other literary, but not children’s book-related, nominations to the Order of Canada are: author Guy Gavriel Kay, bookseller Jim Munro (Munro’s Books in Victoria), Talonbooks founder Karl Siegler and BC Bookworld founder Alan Twigg.