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Great to meet you!

Great Plains was formed in 1992 by Gregg Shilliday and Ingeborg Boyens as Great Plains Publications, to launch a three volume history of Manitoba to coincide with the province’s 125th anniversary. Since those early days, we have been committed to telling the stories of the people and places that make this part of Canada so special.

The Manitoba 125 Series was a huge success, and highlighted how keen Manitobans were to read their own stories, told by local writers. We have always been unabashedly local here at Great Plains, with our books designed by Winnipeg’s Relish New Brand experience (we were one of their first clients!) and printed at Friesens in the beautiful prairie town of Altona.

Soon, Great Plains was a regular publisher of nonfiction, with memoirs, histories and coffee table books on its list. In those early days, Great Plains’ founders, Gregg and Inge, would put boxes of books in the back of their truck and drive around Winnipeg, and various points around the province, fulfilling bookstore orders.

In 1997, we decided to diversify our list and ventured into books for young readers. Juliana and the Medicine Fish by Jake MacDonald was part of this inaugural list. Juliana was a finalist for several national awards, has been made into a film starring Adam Beach, and remains in print today! Our books for middle grade and teen readers are now published under our Yellow Dog imprint.

In 2008, Great Plains launched a fiction imprint under the name Enfield & Wizenty for novels and short story collections. Since then, E&W has published work by talented writers from across Canada, such as Thomas Trofimuk, Méira Cook, Richard Van Camp and KR Byggdin. We are passionate about finding new voices and are proud that many of our authors have gone on to have their works translated into languages around the world.

By 2018, Great Plains’ founders Greg and Inge were ready to retire, and long-time employees Catharina de Bakker and Melanie Marginet were keen to see the publishing house carry on and grow. Through a four year succession plan (amidst a global pandemic) Catharina and Mel managed the day-to-day operations of the house, seeing what was working well, devising new processes and dreaming about new projects. We have worked hard to broaden the diversity of writers published, believing that Manitoba has a plethora of undiscovered voices and stories to share.

In its thirtieth year of publishing, Great Plains rebranded as Great Plains Press (GPP). While our large-format photo books continue to top the bestseller lists, we are equally committed to the first-time authors making their debuts each season. As a small publisher, Great Plains has always punched above its weight with extensive advertising and promotions and our books are on reading, review and awards lists every season. We believe it’s no use publishing a book we aren’t going to get behind.

Great Plains Press is represented in Canada by Publishers Group Canada and distributed by Raincoast. In the US, our sales and distribution is through IPG. Bookstores in the UK can order our titles through Gazelle. We are keen to expand our distribution further, and look forward to announcements in the coming years.

Thank you to all of the writers, editors, designers and booksellers who have contributed to the success of Great Plains Press. Let’s imagine what we can do in the next thirty years, as we continue to share the stories that bind us.