Conundrum Press launches young adult graphic novel imprint, EMANATA

The imprint is called EMANATA and will be curated by Sarah Sawler. It will be focusing on work created by comic artists living in Canada and striving for social equity.
In the above photo, young comic artists share their work. Nova Scotia comics press Conundrum Books has started a new YA graphic novel imprint. (AFP via Getty Images)

Nova Scotia-based publisher Conundrum Press announced the launch of its new young adult graphic novel imprint. The imprint is called EMANATA and will be curated by Sarah Sawler. 

Sawler is taking on the role in addition to her current role as Conundrum Press's marketing manager. They are also an author and freelance writer.

"I want to continue to publish similar types of work to the rest of Conundrum press. So really strong character based stories," Sawler told CBC Books.

The imprint is named after 'emanata,' one of the symbolic icons used by comic artists to express emotions, since emotions are such a big part of being a young adult. 

Having two children, Sawler said they noticed the lack of Canadian creators in their bookshelves, especially for children's graphic novels.

"I dug into it further after that and realized how few Canadian creators are getting published in Canada, even though we have a wealth of artists and we have a wealth of storyteller. There's a lot of really great talent here and I want to carve out a space for them."

EMANATA will be focusing on work created by comic artists living in Canada and striving for social equity. It seeks to introduce fresh, strong and under-represented voices to the international young adult and graphic novel markets. 

The YA graphic imprint is calling for submissions from agents representing comic artists living in Canada. Deaf, disabled, BIPOC and LGBTQ creators are encouraged to submit with or without an agent. 

"There's a lot of talk about diversity in the publishing industry," said Sawler, who wants to build equity into EMANATA all the way through the curating and publishing process.

"It's less about representation and more about giving everybody an equal shot at getting through the work without barriers."

Founded in 1996, Conundrum Press focuses on graphic novels, zine collections and art books. The books they have published include To Know You're Alive by Dakota McFadzean, The Pleasure of the Text by Sami Alwani, Langosh and Peppi: Fugitive Days by Veronica Post and Dakwäkãda Warriors by Cole Pauls.

The publishing house also launched an annual $1,000 bursary for Black and Indigenous emerging creators living in Canada in 2020.

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