Maclean's to become national print sponsor for Penguin Canada's Extraordinary Canadians Series

    TORONTO, March 18 /CNW/ - Penguin Group (Canada) announced today that
Maclean's magazine will become the national print sponsor for Extraordinary
Canadians, a series of eighteen biographies to be published over the next
three years, which the company is billing as the most ambitious set of
biographies ever to be published in Canada. The books will be accompanied by a
six part television documentary series on Rogers OMNI Television and the
Biography Channel in fall of 2008.
    "These are pairings of some of Canada's most influential historical
figures, with Canada's most brilliant contemporary writers," said Publisher
David Davidar. "Extraordinary Canadians will rediscover twenty Canadians -
rebels, reformers, thinkers, writers, painters, political leaders - who built
modern Canada - through the eyes of eighteen of today's most interesting
writers. In 200 pages, these are short, fascinating biographies with appeal to
a wide range of readers."
    Maclean's will run an exclusive first serial excerpt of each book in the
series, beginning in this week's edition, and promote launch events in
Toronto, Halifax, Ottawa, Calgary, Vancouver. Event partners include the Royal
Ontario Museum and Canada's international literary festivals.
    "This is a new take on Canadian history" said Ken Whyte, Editor in Chief
of Maclean's. "Maclean's has been in the business of reporting on Canadian
culture and national affairs for over 100 years and this endeavour brings a
fresh perspective. It's a good fit for us."
    Davidar has appointed Canada's leading public intellectual John Ralston
Saul as General Editor for the Series. Saul and Penguin Editorial Director
Diane Turbide have commissioned seventeen award-winning Canadian writers to
add their distinctive voices to the Series.
    Joseph Boyden, Adrienne Clarkson, Andrew Cohen, Douglas Coupland, Lewis
DeSoto, Charlotte Gray, Mark Kingwell, Vincent Lam, Margaret MacMillan, Daniel
Poliquin, André Pratte, Nino Ricci, David Adams Richards, John Ralston Saul,
Jane Urquhart, M.G. Vassanji, Rudy Wiebe will all write for the series. One
writer is still to be announced.
    The subjects are diverse, and include Canadian icons such as Glenn Gould,
Emily Carr, Lucy Maud Montgomery, Maurice Richard, Norman Bethune, Marshall
McLuhan, Tommy Douglas, and Pierre Elliott Trudeau. French language rights
will be sold by Penguin.
    The series of eighteen books will feature original cover portraits by
leading Canadian artists and illustrators, including Shelley Adler, Anita
Kuntz, Jody Hewgill and Sandra Dionisi.
    Extraordinary Canadians will be accompanied by a television documentary
series produced by Kenneth Hirsh of Montreal's PMA Productions and broadcast
in three non-official languages -- Cantonese, Hindi and Italian - in addition
to English on Rogers OMNI and the Biography Channel beginning in fall 2008.
    "We are excited about the audience OMNI will bring to this series," said
Editorial Director Diane Turbide. "Canada is a vastly diverse, multilingual
country, and some readers and viewers will see Canada's history for the first
time. Others will see it in a whole new way."
    Founded in 1974 as a distribution company for Penguin books from all over
the world, Penguin Group (Canada) began publishing Canadian and international
titles in 1977, and quickly became known as one of Canada's pre-eminent
publishers of literary fiction, and non-fiction. Penguin Canada is the
official publisher of the 100th Anniversary Editions of Anne of Green Gables.

    John Ralston Saul is Canada's leading public intellectual. Declared a
"prophet" by Time magazine, Saul is included in the prestigious Utne Reader's
list of the world's 100 leading thinkers and visionaries. His thirteen works
have been translated into more than a dozen languages. His new book A Fair
Country: Three New Myths About Canada is a call to rethink the country's
future. It will be published by Penguin in fall 2008.

    PMA Productions Inc. was founded in 2003 with the objective of working
with Canada's most talented creators, established and emerging, in the
development and production of first quality film and television programs.
While the company's primary focus is high-impact documentaries and documentary
series, the company also develops and produces selected animated projects,
shorts and feature films. Located in Montreal, PMA Productions draws upon
Quebec's immensely talented film and television communities and works closely
with its writers and directors to produce entertaining and provocative
programming for audiences in Canada and abroad.

    Rogers OMNI Television is a free over-the-air regional broadcasting
system operated by Rogers Communications in the Rogers Media division. The
OMNI stations have the collective mandate to reflect Canada's diversity
through the airing of inclusive and accessible multilingual and multicultural
programming. Rogers OMNI.1 and OMNI.2 are currently available across Canada to
subscribers of Starchoice and ExpressVu satellite systems.

    Maclean's, Canada's most popular current affairs magazine, helps over
2.7 million readers make sense of it all each week. Maclean's leads the
discussion and sparks debate with strong investigative reporting and exclusive
stories from leading journalists in the fields of international affairs,
social issues, national politics, business and culture.

For further information:

For further information: Yvonne Hunter, Penguin Group (Canada), (416)
928-2409,; Debby de Groot, Meisner, de Groot
& Associates, (416) 363-1448,; Kenneth Hirsch, PMA
Productions, (514) 939-2509,; Sandy Zwyer, OMNI
Television/The Biography Channel, (416) 260-3590,;
Jacqueline Segal, Maclean's, (416) 764-4125,

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