Readers who hope to reach Brick magazine at the address for Brick Books will be disappointed (read no further if that’s all you want to know), but it was not always thus. The magazine and the publishing house had a common source.
First, there was Applegarth Follies, a London, Ontario publishing house of the 1970s, one of whose publications was a literary magazine, Applegarth’s Folly (Joshua Applegarth was the first settler in the London area; his folly, in the opinion of Folly’s founders, was to leave. If you wanted London at the centre of your life, Applegarth would be an excellent negative example.) By its second issue, Applegarth’s Folly had taken on a review editor, Stan Dragland, and incorporated a fat book review section. It was decided to set the review section free, and Brick, a journal of reviews was born in April, 1977. Applegarth Follies ceased to function just before Brick 2 appeared, but the journal of reviews carried on under the shared editorship of Jean McKay and Stan Dragland.
Or: first, there was Nairn publishing house, established in Ailsa Craig, Ontario in 1971. The originators of this house suspended operations in 1975, and left three books already published in the custodianship of Stan Dragland, with an open offer to make the imprint active if he wished. The first Nairn book published by S.D. was Ten Letters, a 1975 chapbook by Colleen Thibaudeau. Other books followed, and Don McKay joined as editor and co-publisher in 1977. Truus Dragland and Jean McKay also took on important roles in this two-family operation. When the original publishers indicated a desire to go active again (not that this happened), it was too late for the caretakers to turn back, so a gradual detachment of identity took place. Nairn became Brick/Nairn in 1979, and eventually Brick Books in 1981. The name of the house was drawn from the handy name of the magazine. Don and Jean McKay lived at the time on the Coldstream Road in Lobo Township just out of London. Their house was the location of this cottage industry, so Coldstream, Ontario appeared on the title pages of Brick books for quite some time.
Brick Books continues, with expanded personnel, and so does Brick magazine, but the two entities diverged after Brick 24 (Spring, 1985), when the magazine was taken on by Linda Spalding and Michael Ondaatje in Toronto. Under them Brick was at first still the journal of reviews, but it evolved into a fascinating literary magazine of a more general sort.
If you read this far, thanks for your company. And here’s where you can find Brick magazine: www.brickmag.com.