Catherine Mitchell, director of foreign and special markets at Toronto-based Tundra Books, has resigned effective July 2.
Mitchell has been with Tundra for 21 years since its beginnings in Montreal, during its move to Toronto and its acquisition by McClelland & Stewart in 1995. “I’ve done what I can do at Tundra, and it’s time for me to do my next thing,” Mitchell said. She doesn’t know yet exactly what that next thing is but she intends to remain involved in publishing. “Children’s books are still very much a priority for me,” she said. After taking the summer off, she plans to begin work again in the fall. “I do have some project ideas, but nothing concrete at this moment,” she told PW. She plans to attend the IBBY [International Board on Books for Young People] Congress in September, which she sees as “an opportunity to reconnect with a lot of the international publishers and people that I see when I’m off to Bologna and Frankfurt.”
Managing director Alison Morgan paid tribute to Mitchell’s contributions to the company, saying that she has been “instrumental in establishing Tundra as an important children’s publisher across North America and around the world. She has successfully sold rights into many markets and overseen the purchase of foreign books for our own publication.”
Mitchell has also served in volunteer capacities on a number of industry committees, including as the co-chair of the Ontario Coalition for School Libraries. “Some of those things have really struck a chord with me, and I’m hoping that some of those things that I have done will snowball into some interesting stuff,” she said.
Mitchell’s departure is another phase of a changing of the guard at Tundra. Last year, publisher Kathy Lowinger, who had been with the firm since 1995, retired. But Mitchell says her departure is not a comment on the new management of the firm. She says she timed her departure to allow time for a replacement to be found and to make a smooth transition before the busy fall season and the Frankfurt Book Fair.
McClelland & Stewart owns Tundra Books, but the companies operate separately and Mitchell said there is no connection between her decision and a restructuring that was just announced at McClelland & Stewart.