Marnie Parsons is a publisher of stories for children.
Beautifully illustrated stories of fearless girls, industrious dogs, adventurous boys, ghostly visitors, and resourceful hares - engaging tales of Newfoundland’s and Canada’s culture and folklore.
It’s work that stirs a child’s imagination - the most powerful of gifts.
Marnie owns Running the Goat Books & Broadsides a small press in Tors Cove on the Avalon Peninsula. From that beautiful place, Marnie collaborates with authors and illustrators, and all the people involved in the book-making process.
These days Running the Goat publishes in a variety of modes, but Marnie started with a selection of publications created by-the-each, with paper, ink, moveable lead type, and hand stitching. Creating such books is an act of joy.
Marnie says, “Hand-made books are treasures - the literature is one part, but the book-making is a process of connection that starts with a story that captures my imagination so thoroughly it’s worth the time and effort to: set type letter-by-letter, put each page through the printing press, and bind the books stitch-by-stitch. This process infuses it with a vitality that lives on and is recharged with every reading. It’s the way all books used to be made, and it’s a gorgeous way to receive a story.” Many publications of Running the Goat are rare finds, no longer in print.
Running the Goat ebooks, audiobooks, commercial press publications
“However,” she adds, “hand-made books are not the only way to share stories, and in fact, for many, it’s not the best way. Certainly, it’s not the best or most economical way to make books for children. So we’re really excited about publishing commercially printed books, as well as e-books and audiobooks. These technologies are a beautiful evolution of ways to share stories.”
works by renowned authors and illustrators
Though its emphasis will always be on tales from Newfoundland and Labrador, and Atlantic Canada, Running the Goat increasingly publishes children’s stories that celebrate our country’s diverse stories; these aren’t handmade books, but they are made with the same care and love that go into a handmade Goat book. These are sweet, fun books; cultural touchstones and much loved by young readers.
Children can grow up on ‘Running the Goat’s books’. There are books for toddlers - like Lori Doody’s Mr. Beagle series, rollicking stories for children by Andy Jones the five hilarious books in his "Jack Series”, or his feisty Barefoot Helen. Books for young adults include The Degrees of Barley Lick by Susan Flanagan and Urchin by Kate Story. Most are beautifully illustrated.
Marnie says, “From cover design to images inside, illustrations give dimension to children’s books. They bring tales to life, and it’s always amazing to see how words and images come together as authors and illustrators weave their magic. Especially with folktales.”
So she works hard to find just the right illustrator for each book.
bookshop & attraction in Tors Cove
Even the location of Running the Goat on the Avalon’s Southern Shore is steeped in imagination. It’s a place known for mists and fairies. To add to the experience of the books, enthusiasts are invited to visit the Running the Goat’s print shop in Tors Cove, about half an hour south of St. John’s.
The shop is home to three vintage printing presses where Running the Goat’s handmade books works are created. (Yes, visitors can touch the type!)
There’s also a tiny bookshop where visitors can buy children’s books from the Running the Goat collection, as well as books from other letterpress printers, printmakers, and publishers.
Marnie says, “In our digital world it’s a real experience to see the type and watch the presses. It’s a bridge between the physical, mental, and digital worlds. It’s another part of the story children love.”
books for readers of all ages
Along with exceptional books for children, there are extraordinary publications for collectors in Running the Goat’s publications from critically acclaimed authors and illustrators. Previous Goat publications included poetry broadsheets, chapbooks, and special publications featuring work by creators like Gerald Squires, Mary Dalton, Bernice Morgan, Michael Crummey, and Joel Thomas Hynes, to name a few.
“At almost every stage of my life, my work has grown out of a love of, and delight in, books and language. It is my great hope that Running the Goat’s publications are further expressions of that love and delight.” ~ Marnie Parsons
Running the Goat also sells books at the St. John's Farmers' Market on 245 Freshwater Road.