Canongate Books

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Canongate Books Ltd.
Founded1973; 51 years ago (1973)
Country of originUnited Kingdom
Headquarters locationEdinburgh, Scotland
DistributionThe Book Service (UK)
Grove Atlantic (US)
Key peopleJamie Byng, Publisher and Managing Director
Publication typesBooks
ImprintsSevern House Publishers

Canongate Books (trading as Canongate) is an independent publishing firm based in Edinburgh, Scotland.[1]

It is named after the Canongate area of the city. It is most recognised for publishing the Booker Prizewinner Life of Pi. Canongate was named the British Book Awards Publisher of the Year in 2003 and 2009.[2][3]


Canongate was founded in 1973 by Stephanie Wolfe Murray and her husband Angus Wolfe Murray.[4] Originally a speciality press focusing on Scottish-interest books, generally with small print runs, its most major author was Alasdair Gray. In 1994 it was purchased from the receiver in a management buyout led by Jamie Byng, using funds provided by his stepfather Christopher Bland and his father-in-law Charlie McVeigh, and began to publish more general works, including the Pocket Canons editions of books of the Bible, as well as the Payback Press and Rebel Inc. imprints.[5][6] Byng is CEO of the company.

In June 2010 it was announced that a "living archive" of Canongate Books was to be established at the University of Dundee in collaboration with the University's Archive Services, which will be used for teaching and research.[7][8]

Partners and joint ventures[edit]

Canongate once had a sister company in Australia, Text Publishing; Canongate's majority interest was sold in 2011.[9] It also has joint venture operations with the children's publisher Walker who will publish selected titles for their young adult fiction list.[10] Grove/Atlantic, Inc. publishes under the Canongate U.S. imprint, also under a joint venture arrangement.[11] In March 2010, Canongate and Dirtee Stank announced a joint venture agreement to publish Dizzee Rascal's memoir, although this agreement later fell through.[12]

Canongate is part of the Independent Alliance, a global alliance of 10 UK publishers and their international publishing partners.[13] In 2009, the Alliance was the UK's fifth largest publisher.[14]

Enhanced Editions and Canongate also work in partnership in the production of selected books enhanced for the iPhone and iPod Touch.[15] The titles that have been released are: Dreams From My Father, The Audacity of Hope, The Death of Bunny Munro and The Good Man Jesus and the Scoundrel Christ.

Notable authors and works[edit]

Before 1994[edit]

Alasdair Gray

Charles Palliser


Julian Assange

  • Julian Assange – the Unauthorised Autobiography (2011). Assange's autobiography was published without his consent, and Canongate and Assange gave differing accounts of the events surrounding publication.[16][17]

The Mighty Boosh

Noel Fielding (with Mighty Boosh member Dave Brown)

Nick Cave

  • The Death of Bunny Munro (2009), the second novel by musician Nick Cave,[18] was announced in 2008. It was published in hardback, audiobook, ebook and iPhone application formats in September 2009.

David Eagleman

Michel Faber

Matt Haig

  • The Radleys (2010)

Steven Hall

Miranda July

Ismail Kadare

Yann Martel

  • Life of Pi (2001, Canongate edition 2002), the first Scottish-published book to win the Booker Prize or to sell a million copies in its first year.[20] An illustrated hardback edition was published in 2007.
  • Beatrice and Virgil (2010), an allegory of the Holocaust using a donkey named Beatrice and a howler monkey named Virgil.[21]

James Meek (author)

Barack Obama

Dizzee Rascal

  • The Dizzee Rascal Story (2010)[23]

David Shrigley

  • What The Hell Are You Doing? (2010)[24]

David Simon

Martin C. Strong[25]

  • The Great Rock Discography, 1st ed. (1994)
  • The Great Rock Discography, 2nd ed. (1995)
  • The Great Rock Discography, 3rd ed. (1996)
  • The Great Rock Discography, 4th ed. (1998)
  • The Great Rock Discography, 5th ed. (2000)
  • The Great Rock Discography, 6th ed. (2002)
  • The Great Rock Discography, 7th ed. (2004)
  • The Great Metal Discography, 1st ed. (1998)
  • The Great Metal Discography, 2nd ed. (2002)
  • The Wee Rock Discography (1996)
  • The Great Alternative & Indie Discography (1999)
  • The Great Indie Discography, 2nd ed. (2003)
  • The Essential Rock Discography (2006)
  • Lights, Camera, Soundtracks (2008)

Scarlett Thomas

Simon Tofield

  • Simon's Cat (2009), the award-winning[26] animation was published in book format in October 2009.[27]

Canongate Myth Series[edit]

In which contemporary authors re-imagine ancient myths from a variety of cultures


See also[edit]


  1. ^ "CANONGATE BOOKS LIMITED - Overview (Free company information from Companies House)".
  2. ^ [dead link]
  3. ^ Flood, Alison (2 June 2009). "Obama helps Canongate become publisher of the year". The Guardian.
  4. ^ Byatt, Lucinda (May 2006), "Jamie Byng and Canongate", Solander magazine, Historical Novel Society, UK, Vol. 19. Archived 11 April 2012 at the Wayback Machine.
  5. ^ Deveney, Catherine (24 October 2005). "Canongate Books - The mane man". The Scotsman.
  6. ^ Sharp, Iain (9 July 2006), "Bada Byng, bada boom", Archived 21 August 2006 at the Wayback Machine.
  7. ^ "University and Canongate link to form 'Living Archive'". University of Dundee. Retrieved 7 October 2011.
  8. ^ "Canongate Books". Archives records and Artefacts at the University of Dundee. 24 June 2010. Retrieved 25 January 2016.
  9. ^ Steger, Jason (26 June 2004). "Text Publishing starts next chapter". The Age.
  10. ^ Neilan, Catherine (15 December 2009), "Canongate and Walker create joint young adult imprint", The Bookseller. Archived 23 January 2010 at the Wayback Machine.
  11. ^ Rogerson, Paul (3 November 2005). "Modest helping of Pi brings slimmer profits at Canongate". The Herald.
  12. ^ Miller, Phil (5 March 2010). "Rascal teams up with Scottish publisher". The Herald.
  13. ^ Independent Alliance. Archived 13 April 2010 at the Wayback Machine
  14. ^ Neilan, Catherine (24 January 2010), "Indie Alliance becomes 'fifth biggest publisher'", The Bookseller. Archived 2 April 2010 at the Wayback Machine.
  15. ^ "". Archived from the original on 7 April 2010. Retrieved 16 April 2010.
  16. ^ Assange, Julian (22 September 2011). "Julian Assange: Statement on the Unauthorised, Secret Publishing of the Julian Assange "autobiography" by Canongate". Wikileaks. Retrieved 22 September 2011.
  17. ^ Davies, Nick (22 September 2011). "Why we are publishing Julian Assange's (unauthorised) autobiography". The Guardian. Retrieved 22 September 2011.
  18. ^ Neilan, Catherine (12 September 2008), "Canongate buys Nick Cave novel", The Bookseller. Archived 8 June 2009 at the Wayback Machine.
  19. ^ "Stephen Fry's Twitter posts on David Eagleman novel sparks 6000% sales spike", The Telegraph, 11 September 2009.
  20. ^ McDougall, Liam (10 August 2003), "Life Of Pi hits one million sales as Spielberg eyes movie chance", Sunday Herald. Archived 15 February 2005 at the Wayback Machine.
  21. ^ "Pi author plans Holocaust novel", BBC, 31 October 2009.
  22. ^ "Canongate pulls off Obama coup", The Scotsman, 11 March 2007.
  23. ^ Allen, Katie (5 March 2010), "Dizzee Rascal memoir to Canongate". Archived 19 April 2010 at the Wayback Machine The Bookseller.
  24. ^ "Interview: David Shrigley, artist", The Scotsman, 11 April 2010.
  25. ^ "Music Reference Books by Martin C. Strong", FolkLib Index.
  26. ^ British Animation Awards 2008.
  27. ^ Neilan, Catherine (13 January 2009), "Canongate buys Simon's Cat", The Bookseller. Archived 8 June 2009 at the Wayback Machine.
  28. ^ Lea, Richard (24 September 2007). "Award-winning film-maker scoops short story prize". The Guardian.
  29. ^ "Former Vietnamese refugee claims Dylan Thomas Prize", CBC, 11 November 2008.
  30. ^ Flood, Alison (29 May 2009). "Geoff Dyer wins Wodehouse prize for comic fiction". The Guardian.
  31. ^ Flood, Alison (3 November 2009). "Vietnamese refugee wins Australian prime minister's award for fiction". The Guardian.
  32. ^ Gatti, Tom (11 November 2015). "Kevin Barry wins the Goldsmiths Prize 2015 for his novel Beatlebone". New Statesman.
  33. ^ Armitstead, Claire (9 November 2016). "Single sentence novel wins Goldsmiths prize for books that 'break the mould'". The Guardian.
  34. ^ Cain, Sian (5 August 2016). "Wainwright prize goes to Amy Liptrot's 'searingly honest' The Outrun". The Guardian.

External links[edit]