Breakwater Books was founded in 1973 to showcase the vibrant literary culture in Newfoundland and Labrador. Since then, we’ve continued our commitment to Newfoundland and Labrador writers while expanding our focus to feature emerging and well-known authors from across Canada and overseas. Breakwater publishes award-winning writing in all literary genres—fiction, non-fiction, poetry, drama, art, young adult and children’s books, as well as cookbooks, guidebooks and educational resources.
Breakwater is proud to have helped establish the literary careers of eminent writers such as Bernice Morgan, Kevin Major, Ray Guy, Mary Dalton, Tom Dawe, Trudy J. Morgan-Cole, Helen Porter, and Al Pittman. In recent years we’ve helped launch the careers of up-and-coming writers including Bridget Canning, Megan Gail Coles, Terry Doyle, Sharon Bala, Morgan Murray and Michelle Porter. We’ve published award-winning children’s authors and illustrators, including George Murray, Ellen Bryan Obed, Cara Kansala, Saqamaw Mi’sel Joe, and Adam and Jennifer Young. And we’re committed to showcasing the work of Newfoundland and Labrador’s finest visual artists, presenting works from emerging artists on many of our literary covers to publishing full-length curated art books including those by Jean-Claude Roy, Gerald Squires, Christopher Pratt, and Pam Hall.
Since the early 1980s, our backlist shows a continued commitment to work by Indigenous writers, including writers from Miawpukek First Nation, Qalipu Mi’kmaq First Nation, and Red River Métis writers. We have published in Mi’kmaq and released a book in all four of Labrador’s living languages—English, French, Innu-aimun, and Inuttitut. Our backlist also includes bilingual titles from and about the small but vigorous francophone population on the west coast of Newfoundland, and we’ve translated and published international writers and writers from French Canada that compliment our list and mandate.
We’ve made long-standing contributions to feminist literature through our Woman’s Almanac series, published in partnership with the St. John’s Status of Women Council. We have a particular interest in promoting the work of 2SLGBTQ+ writers, including Breakwater authors Robert Chafe, Shannon Webb-Campbell, Douglas Gosse, Paul David Power, and Berni Stapleton. We’re committed to continue representing equity-seeking communities and being vocal proponents for social justice and are actively seeking additional new work from BIPOC writers, writers with disabilities, and other authors from marginalized communities.
Want to publish with us? See our Submissions page for further information and guidelines on how to make a submission.
We’re deeply committed to community and partnerships, both within our province and across the national industry. We donate hundreds of books to community initiatives, fundraisers, and organizations every year, including the First Book Canada initiative, Shave for the Brave (Young Adult Cancer Canada), Kids Eat Smart, and hundreds of literary, school, and library initiatives; we also make an annual Christmas donation of four hundred books to the inmates of Her Majesty’s Penitentiary in St. John’s. To request a donation, please visit our Contact page.
Breakwater Books respectfully acknowledges the land on which we operate as the ancestral homelands of the Beothuk, and the island of Newfoundland as the ancestral homelands of the Mi’kmaq and Beothuk. We would also like to recognize the Inuit of Nunatsiavut and NunatuKavut and the Innu of Nitassinan, and their ancestors, as the original people of Labrador.
Breakwater Books was founded in 1973 by Clyde Rose, Tom Dawe, Al Pittman, Pat Byrne, and Richard Buehler and played a major role in what many commentators consider the dawn of a cultural renaissance in the province of Newfoundland and Labrador. Breakwater’s express purpose was to publish and promote the work of Newfoundlanders and Labradorians, a population seriously underrepresented in Canadian publishing at the time. Rebecca Rose, our current president and publisher, joined the management team in 2002 and established a succession plan resulting in her purchase of the family press in 2009.
Breakwater has proven time and again that it is resilient and has the capacity to remain a vital contributor to the Canadian publishing industry. In 2008, Newfoundland’s Jesperson Press was amalgamated into Breakwater, and in 2017 Breakwater made the bold move of acquiring the St. John’s–based Creative Book Publishing. This was a massive cultural investment, as we united the two strongest literary stables in the province, increasing our backlist to over six hundred active titles, representing the largest acquisition of this kind in the province’s history.