I blogged on the weekend about Canadian literary writer Merilyn SimondsThe Paradise Project being published in letterpress.

What does that mean? 

It means that her new collection of short-fiction is being published in hand-set monotype, printed on a 1890 Chandler-Price press.

Hugh Barclay of Thee Hellbox Press notes: “Letterpress, unlike offset, leaves a tactile impression in the paper that will sometimes sparkle in the slanting morning sun.” (I love that: it only all our written words would actually sparkle.) 

But this edition really goes further than that. Delicious details:

 A numbered edition of 300 copies. (And my copy, reserved long ago, is #1!)

 Hard cover, case bound, allowing it to be opened flat.

 The cover boards are wrapped in Ajisia Gold, a colourfast Japanese paper. (The name translates into hycinthia.) 

 Some uncut pages. (Don’t books with uncut pages simply thrill you?)

 Merilyn’s  son, artist Erik Mohr, has created over fifteen outstanding lino cuts to go with the stories.

 The endpapers are individual works of art created by Emily Cook, reflecting Merilyn’s gardens. The paper contains flowers from her gardens. All of this reflects the theme of the collection: the stories in the main deal with gardens and the human situations around them. 

 The book is printed on St. Armand’s mold made acid free paper known as “salad” paper.

 All materials used in the book—including adhesives used in binding—are acid free to ensure longevity.

Almost a half-century ago, I stumbled into a used bookstore in San Francisco seeking a book by the poet Kenneth Patchen. The owner guided me to a numbered edition with cover art by the poet. I flew out of that store with that book in my arms! It is now one of my treasures. (And worth quite a lot.)

If you or someone you know would love a book as art object—made painstakingly in the old-fashioned way—and, in addition, if you’d like a work by Merilyn, who is such a fine literary writer (see her books here), I recommend that you contact Hugh to reserve one of these numbered copies of The Paradise Project for yourself. The price: $150 Cdn. is very reasonable for such a collector’s edition. Hugh Barclay can be reached at .