Karl Siegler grew up in Vancouver and joined Talonbooks in 1974, at the age of 26. He became its president and publisher, maintaining full control until accepting an ownership offer from Kevin Williams, formerly of Raincoast Books, in 2008. Siegler remained with the company until the end of 2011.

Siegler was co-founder of the Literary Press Group of Canada in 1975 and a founding board member of the Canadian Centre for Studies in Publishing at SFU. He served as President of the Association of Book Publishers of B.C. from 1975 to 1977, and he has been a tireless lobbyist on behalf of literary publishers and small Canadian publishing houses outside of Ontario and Quebec. He has degrees in English and comparative literature from SFU, and taught modern literature at SFU from 1969 to 1971. He translated Maria Rainier Rilke's Sonnets to Orpheus (Talonbooks, 1977) and edited Sliammon Life, Sliammon Lands (Talonbooks, 1983), by Dorothy Kennedy and Randy Bouchard. In 2001, Siegler, the man who has been most outspoken on behalf of Canadian cultural publishing, was honoured and roasted by his peers during a Bellingham conference organized by Gary Geddes in February. "It might be a good start for recommending Karl for an Order of Canada,"; said Geddes.

Talonbooks under Karl Siegler marked its 40th anniversary with a celebration at the Toronto International Writers Festival in 2003. Talonbooks began publishing in 1967, having grown out of small literary magazine called Talon, spearheaded by David Robinson in 1963. The magazine ceased publication in 1968. Robinson, as designer and editor, was joined by Gordon Fidler, as a printer (until 1976), and by Peter Hay, as drama editor (until 1980). Karl Siegler became president and poetry editor; then David Robinson left the press to work in the fashion industry with his partner Zhonda Nellis. Karl Siegler and his wife Christy moved the press' headquarters to Powell River, while retaining an office in Vancouver.

For his role in support of small press publishing, Karl Siegler was awarded the Janice E. Handford Small Press Award, presented by the Organization of Book Publishers of Ontario, in 2004. For his publishing program activities and his work as a cultural nationalist, he received the Jim Douglas Award in 2007. [See below] In 2008, Karl and Christy Siegler received lifetime memberships to the Canadian Association for Theatre Research in recognition of their contributions to Canadian drama over a 30-year period.

[LITHIS / BCBW 2011] "Poetry" "Translation" "Publishing"