Penguin Random House Canada

Penguin Random House Canada Recognized as a Greater Toronto Top Employer for 2020

Penguin Random House Canada has been recognized as one of Greater Toronto’s Top Employers for 2020. The accolade, given annually for the past fourteen years through Canada’s Top 100 Employers to companies that set the standard for workplace best practices and forward-thinking policies, is awarded based on a rigorous evaluation of criteria ranging from employee benefits, vacation, and time off to work atmosphere to community involvement.  Now in its 20th year, Canada’s Top 100 Employers project is the nation’s largest competition of its kind.

Penguin Random House Canada, the country’s largest book publisher, is headquartered in downtown Toronto, where it employs over 200 people, with additional locations in Mississauga and Vancouver. Under the leadership of Kristin Cochrane, who became CEO in July 2018, the company is committed to being the best home for publishing talent through a comprehensive range of employee-centric policies and programs. Among the highlights of Penguin Random House Canada’s notable offerings are a defined benefit plan and registered retirement savings plan matching program, a student loan repayment program, an industry-leading mental health and social work annual benefit, and an annual wellness reimbursement to encourage physical fitness. Development programs including a mentor-match system, in-house training opportunities, and a generous educational assistance program for job-related learning are also available to support employees in advancing their careers and enhancing their contributions to the company story. Another notable benefit of working at Penguin Random House Canada—paid volunteer days—reveals a central theme: giving back. Employees have numerous opportunities to use their volunteer days with the company’s community partners across Canada, including the Indigenous Voices Awards, the Festival of Literary Diversity (FOLD), and First Book Canada, in partnership with whom Penguin Random House Canada has donated over 150,000 books to children from low-income families in Canada this year alone (and over 1.4 million books over the past seven years). On receiving news of the award, Cochrane said: “We are extremely honoured to be recognized as a GTA Top Employer for 2020. We’re committed to putting employees at the centre of our decision-making and I’m proud of our ongoing commitment to our communities with both the books we publish and the social impact work we do in important areas such as Indigenous writing and children’s literacy.” Adds Anika Holder, Vice President and Director, Human Resources: “A culture of inclusion is essential to safeguarding community, and community is a big part of who we are. It’s rewarding to have our workplace recognized for the support we have in place for our employees, and to have their contributions to a strong company culture recognized in this manner.” More information about the award can be found here. Penguin Random House Canada on publication day for THE TESTAMENTS and celebrating the Toronto Raptors NBA championship (2019).

Penguin Random House Canada’s Kristin Cochrane on “Most Influential” List and in Book of Groundbreaking Canadian Women

High praise has been bestowed upon our colleague Kristin Cochrane, President & Publisher of Penguin Random House Canada.  She is on Toronto Life’s “50 Most Influentials” list for the third year in a row.  From the 2017 edition testimonial:  “If you read a bestselling Canadian book this year, Kristin Cochrane probably read it first.

As head of the country’s largest publishing house, she holds the power to crown the next literary star. And that’s precisely how she spent 2017, putting out more than 87 bestsellers, with at least 17 titles hitting number one, and nabbing five of 12 spots on the Giller Prize long list.” Also on this Toronto Life list are influential individuals published by Penguin Random House Canada, including Chrystia Freeland, Margaret Atwood, Kent Monkman, Tanya Tagaq, Jen Agg, Robyn Doolittle, Naomi Klein and Danielle Martin. Plus Guillermo Del Toro, distributed by Penguin Random House Canada. In addition, Kristin is profiled in a recently published book, CANADA 150 WOMEN: Conversations with Leaders, Champions, and Luminaries, featuring 150 of the country's most inspiring, groundbreaking and powerful female role models, including award-winning Indo-Canadian film director and screenwriter Deepa Metha; journalist, author, and social activist Michele Landsberg; and Trinidadian-Canadian politician and physician Hedy Fry, currently the longest-serving female Member of Parliament in Canada.  Kristin’s profile addresses a range of thoughts, from her views on feminism, her support for the Blue Jays and celebrating the team of editors and publishers she works with.

Penguin Random House Canada Partners with Toronto International Film Festival to Reach New Audiences

In 2010, Random House of Canada and the Toronto International Film Festival (TIFF) formed a partnership to produce an event series that would bring together book and film lovers, called Books on Film. The idea was conceived to give audiences an opportunity to examine great cinema that began as outstanding literature, with a behind-the-scenes look at some of their favorite book-to-film adaptations. Each spring, the Books on Film series includes six events, all of which feature the presentation of a film along with a special onstage interview with authors, filmmakers, and industry experts, and each event is hosted by CBC Radio personality Eleanor Wachtel.

Seven years later, Penguin Random House Canada remains TIFF’s dedicated programming partner for this series, and Books on Film has become TIFF’s most popular program for their subscribers. Films that have been featured in the series include Moneyball, Midnight’s Children, and Atonement, and participants have included authors Kazuo Ishiguro (this year’s Nobel Laureate and pictured in the above photograph), Yann Martel, Zadie Smith, and Colm Tóibín along with director and screenwriter Deepa Mehta and actress, writer, and director Sarah Polley, to name just a few. The Books on Film series provides Penguin Random House Canada with the opportunity to showcase our books to TIFF’s large audience, through the events themselves, at which we have the opportunity for promotion of related titles as well as the film tie-in title being featured, and through advertising and outreach about the series to TIFF’s extensive database. This partnership has also led to opportunities to work with TIFF on other author events, such as a special event featuring author Lilly Singh earlier this year. [caption id="attachment_8255" align="alignleft" width="300"] Yann Martel with host Eleanor Wachtel[/caption] To develop the lineup of events each year, the Penguin Random House Canada marketing team puts forward ideas based on our extensive backlist of movie tie-in titles, and we discuss these ideas with the organizers at TIFF and with the host of the series, Eleanor Wachtel. Wachtel is the longtime host of CBC Radio’s flagship national literary program Writers & Company, in which she interviews writers from all around the world. She plays a key role in curating the list of films to be included in the series, and the pairing of the films with great interviewees for the events. This has been a very successful partnership for Penguin Random House Canada, and we are pleased to see it continue. Planning is now under way for the 2018 Books on Film series. To stay up-to-date on our Canadian publishing news, visit

#ProjectReadathon Million Minutes Campaign Donates 300,000 Books

1million minPenguin Random House in the U.S., Canada, and Mexico joined together this April for the inaugural #ProjectReadathon Million Minutes campaign. From April 17 through April 23, the week leading up to World Book Day, the one-week giving and reading campaign offered readers the opportunity to help children in local communities throughout North America – simply by reading.

#ProjectReadathon invited readers to visit a specially created online reading platform at where they could read free, timed excerpts from over 200 of our books and authors. The campaign was based on the belief we all share at Penguin Random House; that the simple act of reading can have far-reaching social impact. With this in mind, the more minutes a user read, the more book donations were triggered from us to Save the Children. With enthusiastic support from authors, readers, and partners, the one-week initiative surpassed its one-million minutes goal and the campaign resulted in 300,000 books being donated to Save the Children, benefitting children in need in the US, Canada and Mexico. How #ProjectReadathon worked: Each excerpt on the platform noted how many minutes would be added and how many books would be donated throughout the campaign.
  • For example, reading a 20-minute excerpt “unlocked” a 5-book donation from Penguin Random House to Save the Children; reading an hour unlocked a 20-books donation.
  • The books went to Save the Children literacy programs, which help young students transition from learning to read to reading to learn.
  Contributing Partners: Also joining the #ProjectReadathon Million Minutes campaign were Charity Miles and Tab for a Cause, two organizations that enable consumers to give back through everyday activities. Users were invited to add minutes to the Project through reading at, as well as through the Charity Miles and Tab for a Cause platforms for special in-app and on-platform opportunities. A Worldwide Celebration of Books and Giving Back: #ProjectReadathon took place in the US, Canada and Mexico, and culminated on April 23 in honor of UNESCO’s World Book and Copyright DayWorld Book Night (UK) and St. Jordi Day (Spain). Penguin Random House employees across the US, Canada, Mexico, UK, and Spain took part in local celebrations in honor of these events, as they joined together in a global celebration of books and reading to give back to their local communities. The platform will remain active and be implemented for future Penguin Random House campaigns and initiatives across North America that continue to celebrate the power of books and connect our authors and their writing with readers everywhere.

Penguin Random House Canada Raises Funds for Cancer Research

can1 finalIn 2006, Random House of Canada was approached by a special group of women who had been members of a book club in Toronto for a number of years. Many of their families had been touched by cancer, and given the important role reading had in their lives and the support they had received from their book club members during cancer treatment, they saw an opportunity to harness the energy of enthusiastic book clubs and readers to raise funds for cancer research.

We began discussions, and immediately determined this was an initiative we wanted to be part of. We developed the idea for large-scale events featuring our authors and in Fall 2007, the first READ FOR THE CURE events took place in the Toronto area. Since then, additional events have been added in Ottawa, Calgary and Vancouver. At the events, attendees have the opportunity to enjoy canapés and cocktails, and listen to three of our authors talk about their books. The evenings end with a Q&A held by a media personality who acts as emcee. All attendees receive gift bags, including the latest books from the three participating authors, as well as gifts from event sponsors. Audiences at the events range from 300 to 500 people. All proceeds from the events are donated to the Cancer Research Society, specifically their Environment Cancer Fund and the BC Cancer Foundation. To date, CA$ 1.15 million dollars have been donated through these events. can 2 finalOver the years, participating authors include Jann Arden, Margaret Atwood (right), Linwood Barclay, Joy Fielding, Paula Hawkins, Elizabeth Hay, Ann-Marie MacDonald, Linden MacIntyre, Audrey Niffeneger, Cheryl Strayed, Miriam Toews, and many more. In 2016, CAD 150,000 was raised at events in Ottawa, Vancouver, and at two events in Toronto featuring such authors as Gail Anderson-Dargatz, Paula McLain, Meg Wolitzer and Alissa York. Penguin Random House Canada, for the past decade, has embraced the opportunity to be involved in these events. Our authors enjoy the events and welcome the opportunity to speak to these large audiences of engaged book lovers. Plans are already underway for this year’s events which will be held in Vancouver, Ottawa and two events in Toronto in October and November 2017. We have already lined up award-winning and best-selling authors to participate, including: Joseph Boyden, Claire Cameron, Wayne Johnston, Shari Lapena, Ami McKay, Donna Morrissey, Roberta Rich, and 2016 Scotiabank Giller Prize winning author Madeleine Thien. For further information about the READ FOR THE CURE events, please visit