Permanent impermanence

Permanent impermanence

A certificate from the government of British Columbia states that Muskeg Press was born on December 16, 2009. So, in just over a month from the time this blog is published, the company will be celebrating its 10th birthday. It's been a decade of ups and downs, to say the least.

In 2011, we published our first book, No More Secrets: Recipes from Cow Bay Cafe, containing recipes from one of the most popular restaurants that has ever graced the shores of Kaien Island. A few years later, we published ABCs of Prince Rupert and, the same year, Gumboot Girls. After a few more years, and a few more publications, we closed up shop in 2013.

It turns out, though, the closure was really more of a hiatus. We have re-opened with a brand new logo, a fancy new website, and a new book set to be launched on November 17, 2019.

Things have changed since 2013. The books No More Secrets and Gumboot Girls were sold to other publishers, and the latter actually became a BC bestseller. Prince Rupert, the town where Muskeg Press was founded and where it operates today, has seen its economy grow exponentially with the continuing success of port industries, like containerized shipping, coal, and grain. There are more big trucks on the roads, more people renovating their houses, more money in the coffers of the City.

Bookstores in general have gone through a resurgence, with more and more opening across Canada and the US every day. Despite doomsayers prophesying the end of the printed book since the 1990s, e-books have flatlined in sales over the last decade and haven't really moved since. Not that there's anything inherently wrong with e-books, it's just that they've been outlasted by the mighty printed book. Why is this? I would imagine there are many answers to that question, but I like to think that one of the main reasons is that readers prefer the tactile nature of the physical book, which provides them not only with the joy of touching something that has been manufactured, but also with a physical thing that is easy to flip back and forth and easily follow the writer's sequence of thoughts.

But I digress. In general, it seemed that now was the right time to revivify Muskeg Press, and we're ecstatic to do it with the launch of a new edition of a very popular book, The Outsider's Guide to Prince Rupert. First published in 2011, Outsider's Guide was written by Matt Simmons, a fine writer who now publishes Northword, one of the last independently-owned magazines in Northern BC. By a weird coincidence, the book went out of print in 2013, the same year Muskeg started its hiatus; and so their fates are intertwined again, with the launch of the 2nd edition later this month. (Click here to learn more about the book, click here.)

As philosophers from Heraclitis to the Buddha have noted, we live in a world of permanent impermanence; by its very nature, reality is an ever-changing thing, even though we may not always sense those changes immediately. At one time, both Muskeg Press and Outsider's Guide were both gone, but it wasn't permanent.

We're looking forward to re-starting many literary journeys with our readers in the years to come. We're happy to be back, and we'd love to hear what you think of our new look: just email

With gratitude,

~Chris Armstrong