While some may ascribe to literary pursuits a certain dandy quality – think readings in meadows, herbal teas – Now or Never Publishing and its edgy books decisively shakes this off; even their moniker reads: “We may publish prose, but we can still kick your ass.” A boutique publisher located in Vancouver, BC, Now or Never (NON) graces fiction, nonfiction, poetry and memoir titles with its iconic, “scrabble-tile” logo.
Specifically, their publishing program eagerly discovers, nurtures and promotes new and established Canadian literary talent. This shows with debut authors like Trevor Clark and Jessica Wallace, but perhaps most so with their current publisher, Chris Needham, who was also the author of the first book NON published, An Inverted Sort of Prayer. The press’s original owners, Sidney Shapiro and Walter "Widemouth" Bass, were frustrated that Chris couldn’t find a publishing home for his manuscript, so they created one.
Chris has continued in this vein, choosing to publish unique books that might not easily find a home elsewhere. NON has published 40 such books to date: from the hysterically-protagonist’ed Edgar Gets Going by Trevor Strong, to Rewrite, an intellectual mystery by Temenuga Trifonova, to the complex and brilliant This Location of Unknown Possibilities (which Chris finds extra-notable because “it's written by a UBC professor [Brett Josef Grubisic] that once gave me a C- on a paper”).
Now or Never donates copies of all its books to a halfway house in Chris’ neighbourhood, where he operates the press out of his home/office. The setting is pretty idyllic – overlooking Vancouver’s False Creek – and the only real hazard to report is Chris’ infant son, who’s taken to biting the ankles of passers-by. It’s “a habit I'm trying unsuccessfully to break,” Chris said, “He has very sharp teeth and might be feral, but he's ridiculously cute so he can stay.”