Don LePan (born 1954 in Washington, DC) is widely known as a book publisher; he is the founder and CEO of the academic publishing house Broadview Press. He is also a painter and the author or editor of several books, most notably the dystopian novel Animals.
LePan grew up in Ontario, living variously in Ottawa, Kingston, and Toronto. He received a BA in English Literature from Carleton University in Ottawa and an MA in Renaissance Studies from the University of Sussex, where he studied under A.D. Nuttall; his research on Shakespeare’s plots became the basis for a monograph (The Birth of Expectation). He worked for some years in the 1970s and 1980s for the Canadian branch of Oxford University Press (where he was manager of the College Department from 1979-1982), and from 1982-1985 as a secondary school teacher in rural Zimbabwe with the development agency WUSC. In 1985 he returned to Canada to found Broadview Press, a book publisher in the humanities and social sciences. By 2010 Broadview had grown to a company with annual revenues of over $3 million and a staff of 25. Though modest in size, the publishing house is held in high regard, particularly as a publisher of anthologies and literary editions; in 2004 LePan was awarded an honorary doctorate by Trent University in Peterborough, Ontario for his contribution to academic publishing.
LePan’s father, Douglas LePan, was well known as a poet and academic; his brother, Nicholas Le Pan, is well known as a Canadian civil servant (he is a former head of the Office of the Superintendent of Financial Institutions).
Animals: A Novel
LePan’s Animals: A Novel is set in an indeterminate future in which virtually all the species that humans have used as food have become extinct; it tells the story of a “mongrel” child who is twice abandoned and then comes face to face with the equivalent in this future world of the factory farming of today. The novel was published in 2009 in Canada and in 2010 in the USA, to sparse but generally favorable newspaper reviews —and to widely diverging reactions elsewhere. Notably enthusiastic were reviews in the University of Toronto Quarterly ("If you read nothing else from this year's batch of novels, ... read Animals". Few Canadian novels have been as powerful"); and on Amazon by Jonathan Balcombe, author of Second Nature (“as gripping as it is important, LePan’s brilliant first novel tackles the largest moral issue of our time”), and Paul Keen, Chair of the English Department at Carleton University (“a major addition to Canadian literature”). Others, however, have criticized the work as being “didactic” or “preachy.” On his blog LePan has defended the notion that the aesthetic and moral need not be regarded as mutually exclusive—in his words, “it should not be assumed that a work that tries to do good cannot also be good.”
The Broadview Anthology of British Literature (co-edited). Peterborough: Broadview Press, 1/e 2006 (six volumes).
- Introduction to Broadview and Freehand
- Trent University Daily News
- October 24, 2009. Globe and Mail “Getting to the Meat of the Matter”
- June 21, 2010. The Boston Globe “A novel indictment on factory farming”
- University of Toronto Quarterly (Volume 80, Number 2), Spring 2011.
- Amazon Reviews
- Animals Blog