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Anna Porter


Credit: Jim Allen

Born Anna Szigethy in World War II Budapest, Anna Porter and her mother left Hungary in 1956 to escape the increasing Soviet presence. They joined relatives in New Zealand where she continued her education and first encountered the work of Canadian writers such as Margaret Laurence and Leonard Cohen. After completing her M.A. degree at the University of Canterbury, she worked in a New Zealand bookstore. A trip to Europe led to a proofreading job with Cassell's in England. That was followed by a sales position with Collier Macmillan and an eventual transfer to Toronto in an editorial position.

She joined McClelland & Stewart in 1969 as editorial coordinator. A series of rapid promotions to managing, executive editor, editorial director followed, culminating with the position of president and publisher of Seal Books, a paperback publishing house co-owned by McClelland and Bantam Books. Working closely with Jack McClelland, whom she regards as the guru of Canadian publishing, gave Porter the chance to observe the style of a publisher known for working with authors as opposed to books. In 1982, she left Seal to join Michael de Pencier to establish Key Porter Books where she continues as the publisher and chief executive officer. The company is noted for its concentration on non-fiction. In 1986, she purchased a controlling interest in Doubleday Canada and in 1987 bought out Jack McClelland's 75-per-cent interest in Seal Books.

Memberships on various boards and in professional organizations also occupy Ms. Porter's energy. In addition to publishing, she has found time to write, having authored three mystery novels, all set in the publishing world that she knows so well. In recognition of her varied achievements, Ms. Porter was appointed an Officer of the Order of Canada in 1992.

Selected Publications By and About Anna Porter

Adachi, Ken. -- "Women in publishing: the gofers are gaining control." -- The Toronto star. --(March 21, 1987). -- P. M3

Farewell to the 70s. -- Edited by Anna Porter and Marjorie Harris. -- Don Mills, Ont. : Thomas Nelson & Sons (Canada), 1979. -- 255 p.

Hubbard, Jaimie. "Don't judge Anna Porter by her cover." -- The financial post. -- (July 15, 1991). -- P. 5

King, Paul. "Anna Porter: bomb-hurling, gun-toting beatnik became the Capitalist Butterfly of publishing." -- The Toronto star. -- (August 31, 1982). -- P. B1

Lownsbrough, John. -- "High-powered women in Canadian book publishing." -- Chatelaine. -- Vol. 58, no. 8 (August 1985). -- P. 50-51, 64-68

Porter, Anna. -- The bookfair murders. -- Toronto : Little, Brown and Company (Canada), 1997. -- 383 p.

Porter, Anna. -- Hidden agenda. -- Toronto : Irwin, 1985. -- 280 p.

Porter, Anna. -- Mortal sins. -- Toronto : Irwin, 1987. -- 274 p.

Porter, Anna et al. -- Jack McClelland, the publisher of Canadian literature. -- Guadalajara, Mexico : University of Guadalajara, 1996. -- 66, 32 p. -- Title of additional title-page: Jack McClelland: el editor de la literatura canadiense. -- Text in English and Spanish with Spanish text on inverted pages.

Tan-William, Conchita : Kong, Shiu Loon. -- Canadian achievers and their mentors. -- (Toronto) : PRIME Mentors of Canada, 1994- . -- P. 47-48

Tesher, Ellie. -- "Princess Anna is just waiting in the wings." -- The Toronto star. -- (June 16, 1985) -- P. D1, D2

Working Group on Canadian Content and Culture. -- Reporting of the Canadian content and culture working group : ensuring a strong Canadian presence on the information highway. -- Chair, Anna Porter. -- Ottawa : The Group, 1995.

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