Fonds MsC-253 - Sono Nis Press fonds

Title and statement of responsibility area

Title proper

Sono Nis Press fonds

General material designation

  • Textual records

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Edition area

Edition statement

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Issuing jurisdiction and denomination (philatelic)

Dates of creation area


  • 1976-1993 (Creation)
    Sono Nis Press

Physical description area

Physical description

17 m of textual records and other material

Publisher's series area

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Archival description area

Name of creator


Administrative history

Sono Nis Press was founded in 1968 by J. Michael Yates when he was associated with the department of creative writing at the University of British Columbia. The name, Sono Nis, is taken from a character in the first book published by the press, Man in the Glass Octopus (1968) written by Yates. "Sono" in modern Italian means "I am"; "nis" in Anglo-Saxon means "is not". Under Yates, the Press operated steadily as a literary house specializing in poetry and fiction in several locations within British Columbia including Vancouver, Surrey, Port Clements in the Queen Charlotte Islands, Mission, and Delta. Emphasizing the publication of poetry and avant garde fiction, the Press issued titles by a diverse group of writers. The books were almost exclusively designed and printed in Victoria, British Columbia, by Morriss Printing. In 1976, Morriss bought out Sono Nis and relocated the Press to Victoria. Morriss appointed Robin Skelton--poet, professor and founder of the Malahat Review--as managing editor. Theatre and poetry scholar Ann Saddlemyer was also a long standing editor at the publishing house. Sono Nis broadened its publication list to include regional histories, literary criticism, guide books, books of general interest, and journals and biographies, as well as its literary books. The Sono Nis backlist was promoted and distributed and the publishing programme was extended to up to twelve titles per year. Patricia Sloan became the managing editor of Sono Nis in 1989.

Richard Morriss's daughter, Diane Morriss, took over the company in 1994 after her father's death. In 2002, Diane Morriss and her husband, graphic designer Jim Brennan, moved Sono Nis from Victoria to Winlaw, British Columbia. Sono Nis Press has been awarded the Pat Lowther Memorial Award, Eaton's Book Prize, BC Book Prizes, Governor General Awards, Lieutenant Governor's Medal for History, CAA Award, and the BC History Prize.

Custodial history

Scope and content

The majority of the records of Sono Nis Press from 1968 to 1976 are at the National Library of Canada under the J. Michael Yates fonds. Since Sono Nis was taken over by Morriss Printing in 1976, all archival records have been retained. Current records (approximately 1989 to 1993) include editorial files, production files, association files, awards and promotions information, and financial records. The archival records (1976 to approximately 1988) include financial records, editorial files, production files, and correspondence. All art work, design work, and printing plates for every book have been retained in the fonds along with two copies of each book published by Sono Nis Press.

Notes area

Physical condition

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Finding aids

An inventory of the fonds is available in Special Collections.

Finding aid

Associated materials

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Alpha-numeric designations

BCAUL control number: SFL--2320

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Rules for Archival Description



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Dates of creation, revision and deletion

Created May 20, 2014, LZ

Language of description

  • English

Script of description


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