2019 Winner
Wise 50 Over 50 Award™

Marianne Curtis – Oak Island Publications


Since 1997, Marianne Curtis raised four children as a single parent while juggling a successful freelance journalism career for a monthly newspaper, and several part-time jobs. While this busy routine improved her skills and paid the bills, it did not feed the fire within her soul. She wanted to do something to improve peoples lives while giving them a voice.

An entrepreneur at heart, Marianne began dabbling in the book publishing business just in time to self-publish her first book a memoir called “Finding Gloria” in 2012. This process helped her develop a publishing package that worked so well that she self-published five more books under the name of Emerald Publications.

Other authors started noticing her work and expertise so she officially established Oak Island Publications in 2018 (just before her 50th birthday). Since starting to freelance her services as a designer, and publisher, she has helped over 25 authors in both Canada and the United States release their books in print and on Amazon. From concept, to cover, to final release on Amazon (and print copies in the authors’ hands), Marianne walks her clients through each step of the publishing business.

This has also opened the door for another opportunity. Over the years, she discovered many “hidden” authors lurking in Manitoba, so she created “Authors of Manitoba” which brought together over 75 authors with a combined 150 plus books to help each other with either support or marketing.

For her, it was never about just writing or publishing books – it’s about getting books out that matter to people – that have the power to “change you”. Having disclosed her own survival story to the masses, her openness encouraged others to open up on their journey’s which led to many speaking engagements and books specifically focused on readers sharing their stories of survival ie: on bullying. Her fearless pursuit of the exposing the truth earned her a WMCA Woman of Distinction Award nod in Communications and Public Awareness in 2013; and 2 Southeast Favorite Journalist Awards.

With book publishing being a niche business, Marianne further expanded Oak Island Publications services to include print and social media marketing, website design, and print design. By providing personalized one-on-one service, she is able to custom create packages to specifically help authors and small businesses.

Despite the trend of print publications falling by the wayside, in January 2019, Marianne took the biggest risk of all by founding 3 community-based print publications. Each publication – Spotlight on Ile des Chenes, Lorette Living and Green Valley Messenger – target specific communities with complimentary advertising for organizations, while providing a venue for small local businesses to target their specific communities at a competitive rate.

As the publications enter their tenth month in print, repeated contract renewals and nearly zero returns (copies that are not picked up), Oak Island Publications is confident that even in a digital age, there is still a place in Canada’s rural communities for a small town newsletter. It is the perfect little business for an enterprising entrepreneur aching for the freedom to work from home, who loves their community, and wants to take ownership in local communications. 

Ms. Curtis firmly believes that no matter how old we are, when we choose to do what we love, then the rest will follow; and we are NEVER too old to start new! 

In the last year, Marianne has learned the value of her network as a media professional. When she is not working on projects for clients, she volunteers for various festivals either as a designer, social media promoter, photographer or “on the ground” as an actual festival volunteer.

Marianne also gives back to the community with the “Marianne Curtis Award” which is two-$600 scholarships sponsored by the Stacey Pchajek Foundation. The award started 5 years ago, in support of students who graduate despite life’s struggles from the SRSS in Steinbach.