Staff & Board Members

The Literary Press Group has a small and dedicated staff, including:

Laura Rock Gaughan, Executive Director

Barb Phillips, Business Manager

Barb Phillips became the Business Manger for  the Literary Press Group in 2011. Her job involves all things financial, but she keeps her fingers in all the LPG pots. She decided to do a career change shortly after moving to Toronto, and attended the inaugural year at Humber's Creative Book Publishing program. After that, Barb worked at McClelland & Stewart for four years. 

When not at work, Barb enjoys reading all the beautiful books that come into her office daily, and looks forward to summers on the dock with a pile of LPG books at hand. She also belongs to a longstanding book club – 15 years and counting!

Mandy Bayrami, Marketing Manager

Mandy Bayrami is the marketing manager at the LPG. She previously worked at the Association of Canadian Publishers and Playwrights Canada Press, both of which solidified her enthusiasm for the literary community and the exciting books born from it.

In her spare time, Mandy can be found binge-watching Netflix shows and cooking mediocre dishes. She is smart to let others make dessert though because she is serious about pie. She probably drinks too much coffee, and buys more books than she has space for. One of these days she will need a bigger apartment.

Tan Light, Sales Manager

Tan Light joined the LPG as Sales Manager in early 2013 after 5 years with Random House of Canada. In this role, Tan manages all aspects of the LPG's Sales Force Project, which includes working closely with the Canadian Manda Group, who represent 38 of the LPG's member publishers, in order to develop seasonal catalogues and sales conference events. Additionally, Tan contributes content to the LPG's digital project,

When not at work, Tan sits on the board of advisors for Found Press and co-chairs the CanPBA Executive Committee, the peer-education & industry event gurus behind BookCampTO, The Mentor Mash and Poetry Karaoke.

Leyla Top, Engagement Manager

Leyla is the Engagement Manager at the LPG. She previously worked in communications within the environmental non profit sector for over four years. Leyla currently manages member engagement for the LPG, including programming industry-related professional development sessions and speakers. She also manages the LPG's ad project and assists with planning and creation of content for All Lit Up.

Leyla is passionate about art and in her spare time can be found pouring over art books, drawing, painting and attending as many art gallery exhibits as she can.


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Providing support and valuable publisher insight is our Board of Directors, including:

John Agnew, Coteau Books

John Agnew is the publisher of Coteau Books in Regina, Saskatchewan.

Rebecca Rose, Breakwater Books

Rebecca is the publisher of Breakwater Books in St. John's, Newfoundland.

Karen Haughian, Signature Editions

Karen is something of a pan-Canadian, having been born in Toronto and lived in Vancouver, Winnipeg, Calgary, London, Saskatoon, and Montreal. She did her Master’s degree in English at Concordia University, where she taught English composition for five years. Karen was a founding member of the publishing collective Nuage Editions, which began in 1986 and was the very first desktop publisher in Quebec. Five years later, she took over the press as its sole proprietor. In 1995 she married fellow publisher and friendly rival Gordon Shillingford, and in 1997 they relocated from Montreal to Winnipeg with their one and only co-production, their son Griffin. In 2000 the press was renamed Signature Editions; it publishes fiction, non-fiction, poetry, drama and translations. Karen has served on the boards of the regional publishing associations AEALQ and AMBP, and is currently on both the LPG and the LitDistCo boards. Although running the press leaves precious little free time, she practices karate and continues her valiant attempts to keep her 106-year-old house standing (she is a fan of good power tools).

Vici Johnstone, Caitlin Press

Vici Johnstone purchased Caitlin Press of Halfmoon Bay in 2008, and since that time has reinvigorated its publishing program, releasing dozens of titles, many of them BC bestsellers, and garnering recognition across the country. Vici was recently awarded the Jim Douglas Publisher of the Year Award, in recognition of being a voice for under-represented regions of the province, and for reaching out to authors and booksellers throughout BC. Caitlin Press remains committed to publishing diverse and dynamic voices from BC, bridging the gap between urban and rural, and bringing the stories to a growing readership both locally and beyond.

Hazel Millar, BookThug

Hazel Millar is the Managing Editor and Publicist for BookThug. She also sits on the board for LitDistCo and the Ontario Media Development Corporation's Industry Book Advisory Committee. Additionally, she also works for the League of Canadian Poets as the Publicist for National Poetry Month and is the current communications co-ordinator for the Book and Periodical Council. Hazel is also a member of the International Visitors Program Committee, in conjunction with the International Festival of Authors. She is also the co-curator of HIJ House Reading Series.

When not working, Hazel is hanging with her husband Jay (yes, even after working together all day at BookThug they still hang out), and their two sons, Reid and Cole. Together they are all usually fawning over their cat, Tess of da BookThugs, who always makes everything better. She also bakes a lot of pies, and if you ever come to an HIJ Reading Series event you will get to sample them. The rest of the time she is usually buried nose deep in a book.  

Chris Needham, Now Or Never Publishing

The author of three novels, Chris Needham took over the publisher’s role at Now Or Never Publishing back in 2007, and since that time has devoted himself to the continued growth and prosperity of literary publishing in British Columbia.

When not working, Chris can be found either wrestling with deep, philosophical questions or taking advanced karate classes. That’s not entirely true. He either wrestles with his infant son (and often wins) or else takes long naps. He is clearly very tired. Still, when not sleeping or saddled with his progeny, he occasionally skips out on work and hides in a coffee shop with one of his competitor’s books, quietly seething.

Luciana Ricciutelli, Inanna Publications 

Luciana Ricciutelli is the editor-in-chief at Inanna Publications in Toronto, Ontario.