Mosaic Press shares stories from its beginnings

BY AMELIA SHER

Mike Walsh and Howard Aster celebrated 40 years in the publishing business with local authors, family and friends.

Started in 1976 , Oakville’s Mosaic Press has more than 500 books published, in a dozen languages, and in 38 countries. The first book was published was The Current Soviet Leaders and was primarily sold to the RCMP.

One of Walsh’s favourite books they published came from a story about two Sheridan students. The book was titled Zeller Freedom by Ludwig Zeller and was published in 1991. The story in short was about two students who had escaped from Chile and were living across the street from the college. “Sheridan College is a goldmine for literature because of all of the creative minds that are there. From artists, animators to poets, they really have it all,” Walsh said.

Mike Walsh speaks to the audience
Mike Walsh speaks to the audience. (Photos by Amelia Sher/Sheridan Sun)

He also had advice for young poets and authors who are looking to have their content published. “APFC which is Audience, Purpose, Form and Content. You have to know your audience and what technology you will use to perform. Your content is telling your story,” Walsh explained “You really just need to think outside of the box with your writing, and that is what I look for in a manuscript.” Walsh also pointed out that there is a lot of trust involved when it comes to working with publishers and you have to be able to take criticism.

Howard Astor founder of Mosaic Press
Howard Aster founder of Mosaic Press.

Aster added in that “You need to perfect your craft, don’t lost sight of yourself when others criticize your work, write in your voice and respect yourself.”

Terence young former Conservative MP of Oakville
Terence Young, former Conservative MP of Oakville.

Former Oakville MP Terence Young, author of Death by Prescription, says that working with Mosaic Press has been a wonderful experience for him. “These are terrific guys that are just full of energy. Howard is just a really good guy who has published so many authors who might not have been published without the press.” Mosaic Press published a second edition of Death by Prescription and it has been translated into different languages and sold in two countries. Young’s second book will be coming out soon and is also published by Mosaic

One of the most moving stories was how Mosaic Press had published a book about Leonard Cohen. Harry Rasky was a documentary filmmaker from Toronto and had worked very closely with Cohen in 1979 to create a documentary of Cohen’s life and his relationship with Bob Dylan.

the-song-of-leonard-cohen
The Song of Leonard Cohen by Harry Rasky

Cohen had said that this was the best documentary made before 2000 and contacted Rasky about turning the film into a book.  The Song of Leonard Cohen was published during 2001-2010. Aster shared was that prior to the book being published, Cohen had called and said, “Do me a favour, It’s not a good thing to see that I am smoking…I don’t want that in there.” Astor then had to go through all of the images in the book and Photoshop any cigarettes out. The other story that came out was that Sony was extremely interested in the book and wanted to use the cover from the book for a CD that Cohen had coming out.

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