Story of the Goat
"This active printing press is a bibliophile's dream."
— Lonely Planet
Running the Goat Books & Broadsides is a micro press that publishes children's literature of exceptional quality. The press also publishes a line of letterpress-printed books, chapbooks, broadsides, and poemphlets. Its publications celebrate the life and culture of Newfoundland and Labrador, and Atlantic Canada.
The press has a working print shop located in Tors Cove, Newfoundland; the print shop is home to four vintage printing presses, and has a storefront area that sells work produced on site, as well as work by other local letterpress printers, printmakers, and publishers. The shop also carries a carefully curated selection of fine illustrated children's books.
Many of Running the Goat's publications are letterpress printed at the print shop, using moveable lead type, and sewn by hand; however, our list of commercially printed books is rapidly expanding, as we work to create beautiful, engaging, and thoughtful works for young readers.
The press began because of the encouragement of book artist and painter Tara Bryan, who invited me to visit her at walking bird press, and to use her Vandercook SP15 printing press. One visit became two and then three, and soon I was tackling “the Goat’s” first chapbook.
Each publication is a collaboration of sorts—authors are consulted about papers and design, and artists are approached for illustrations. Conversation, coffee, and the occasional batch of cookies ensure that everyone involved in a publication has the opportunity to offer thoughts and suggestions. Although the press’s “staff” is limited in number, its spirit is collective. Occasionally my daughter and other friends are lured into temporary service cranking the press, collating and folding pages, or sewing books. I am grateful to all who have helped, in whatever way.
The press’s name comes from a traditional set dance, often associated with Harbour Deep on Newfoundland’s Great Northern Peninsula; Harbour Deep has been resettled, but the dance remains a distinct testament to the spirit and culture of Newfoundland. In its publications, Running the Goat tries to capture something of the beauty and spontaneity, the joy and the intensity of that dance, and to celebrate the uniqueness of the writers who continue to live on, and write in response to, this island. Focusing on the work of Newfoundlanders is a way of thanking this remarkable community for the great reach of its embrace and acknowledging the richness and variety of its culture. I can recommend no other place so highly as a home for heart and mind, body and soul.
I have worked in libraries and bookstores, have studied, taught and reviewed literature, and continue to edit it, as well as print it. At almost every stage of my life, my work has grown out of a love of, and delight in, books and language. It is my great hope that Running the Goat’s publications are further expressions of that love and delight. ~ Marnie Parsons
Over the years, we've sought advice, encouragement, and inspiration from some dear friends and supporters. We've had the great good fortune to claim these excellent souls as our unofficial advisors:
audio documentarian and radio producer Chris Brookes;
letterpress-printer and artist Tara Bryan;
financial wiz Boyd Chislett;
acclaimed poet and essayist Don McKay; and
editor extraordinaire Sandy Newton.
We are immeasurably grateful to them all.