Lorna Crozier on the Next Chapter

Lorna Crozier talks about eggplants, mortality, and cockroaches with Shelagh Rogers on CBC Radio’s The Next Chapter:

“I’m getting older. I’m very aware that life is getting shorter. Many of my friends are dropping dead. My husband is nine years older than me, so I’m grateful for every day and every year we have together. There is less ahead of us than there used to be. I’m thinking how to make each day as luminous as possible through the way I write about it and through what I observe and see.”

You can listen to their interview here, and find out more about Lorna’s latest collection, What the Soul Doesn’t Want.


What the Soul Doesn’t Want is a finalist for the GGs

Congratulations to Lorna Crozier, who is a finalist for the 2017 Governor General’s Literary Award for Poetry for her collection What the Soul Doesn’t Want!

This is the fourth time that Lorna Crozier has been shortlisted for the GG Award for Poetry. She won the award 25 years ago, in 1992, for her landmark collection Inventing the Hawk.

This is the first time that Freehand Books has been shortlisted for the Governor General’s Literary Awards.


Book trailer for The Unravelling by Clem and Olivier Martini


The Unravelling in the Calgary Herald

Shelley Boettcher from the Calgary Herald chatted with Clem Martini last week about his new book The Unravelling, a collaboration with his brother Olivier Martini. A brief excerpt:

“While the book is a very personal look at what the brothers faced, it’s also something that many people can relate to: aging parents, mental illness, dementia and dealing with assisted living and the long-term-care system.

“For the Martinis, Irene Catherine Martini had been the rock of the family for decades. The proud mother of four boys, she moved to Canada from Berlin in 1952, settling in what was then the small town of Bowness. She was soon elected as a trustee to the Bowness Public School Board, and then, after Bowness was annexed by the City of Calgary, continued as a trustee until 1980. She was a strong supporter of English as a Second Language programs and French immersion, as well as kindergarten, at a time when few schools offered early-childhood education. “She was a very strong person, a person with a mission,” who spoke several languages and who fiercely supported her children, Clem says.

“Dementia was particularly tough because for so long, she knew her role as the glue that kept everyone together. “She wanted to stay involved, but ultimately, we had to say ‘You can’t anymore. You’re not providing help. You’re needing help,’” Clem says.”

You can read the full article here.


Alberta Views reviews Searching for Petronius Totem

Bryn Evans, a journalist and art critic, reviews Peter Unwin’s Searching for Petronius Totem in Alberta Views:

“a grand and bewildering off-road trip into Canadian weirdness . . . Richly exhausting and loaded with linguistic trickery, Unwin’s latest is a love story for oddballs and an ode to the artistic spirit in all its exasperating beauty.”


Thank you to Barbara Scott

Freehand Books thanks our longtime editor Barbara Scott for the invaluable contributions that she’s made to the Press over the past ten years, and we wish her a wonderful, happy retirement.

Barb has been a member of Freehand’s editorial board since the beginning, and to date has edited fourteen Freehand titles. Barb won the Lois Hole Award for Editorial Excellence for her work with Freehand, and books that Barb edited have twice been a finalist for the Amazon.ca First Novel Award; longlisted for the International IMPAC Dublin Literary Award and the Frank O’Connor International Short Story Award; and won the Kobzar Literary Award, the Saskatoon Book Award, the Alberta Trade Fiction Award, the Canadian Jewish Literary Award, and the Alexander Kennedy Isbister Award for Non-Fiction. Not to mention, books that Barb edited for Freehand showed up on the shortlists for the Saskatchewan Fiction Book Award, the City of Edmonton Book Prize, the Ottawa Book Award, the McNally Robinson Book of the Year, and the William L. Crawford Fantasy Award.

Barb will be finishing up editing two projects for Freehand: Homes by Winnie Yeung and Abu Bakr al Rabeeah (2017) and Agnes, Murderess by Sarah Leavitt (2018). We at Freehand will miss Barb dearly – her unparallelled editorial eye, her determination to help books be all that they could be, and her fierce, persuasive arguments at our editorial board meetings. We wish her a happy retirement, full of travelling and finally getting to work on her own novel instead of editing others!


The Unravelling in UToday

Clem Martini is interviewed in the University of Calgary’s UToday about his new book, The Unravelling, which is launching with Wordfest next week:

‘The Unravelling also takes a hard look at the frustrations family caregivers experience in dealing with the health-care system.

“To a large degree our medical institutions don’t understand family caregiving,” says Clem. “You’re in there, but you’re not really there. They talk to you, but they don’t really talk to you. You have responsibilities, but you don’t really have responsibilities. And so, at every juncture, there’s a fracture. It makes everything more complicated than it needs to be for the families. It makes the whole process painful.”’

You can read the article here.



Freehand Welcomes Naomi K. Lewis

Freehand Books is excited to welcome Naomi K. Lewis as our Acting Submissions Coordinator, effective September 1, 2017. Naomi is filling in for Deborah Willis, who will be taking a leave of absence from Freehand to work as the Writer in Residence at MacEwan University in Edmonton.

Naomi K. Lewis was an associate editor at Alberta Views magazine before leaving to be Writer in Residence at the University of New Brunswick in 2016. Based in Calgary, she works as a ghostwriter, journalist, editor, and creative writing instructor when she’s not writing her own work. Her books are Cricket in a Fist, I Know Who You Remind Me Of, and Shy: An Anthology (co-edited with Rona Altrows).

Deborah Willis’s second collection of fiction, The Dark and Other Love Stories, was published by Hamish Hamilton in February 2017, and she will be working on a novel during her time at MacEwan. In her role as Submissions Coordinator for Freehand Books, Willis has recently acquired Keith Maillard’s Twin Studies, Lorna Crozier’s What the Soul Doesn’t Want, and Alison Watt’s Dazzle Patterns. Willis will return to Freehand Books in the spring of 2018.

Freehand Books, a literary press based in Calgary, is currently accepting submissions of novels, short story collections, creative non-fiction, and graphic literature. Our recently updated submission guidelines are on our website at freehand-books.com/submissions.


The Unravelling by Clem and Olivier Martini in the Globe and Mail

The Globe and Mail talked to Clem Martini in advance of the publication of his new book, The Unravelling, a collaboration with his brother Olivier Martini, and shares an advance excerpt from the book.

“As with their earlier book, Bitter Medicine: A Graphic Memoir of Mental Illness, which won accolades including the City of Calgary W.O. Mitchell Book Prize, The Unravelling is a candid, painful and, at times, comical account of what it’s like to navigate a perplexing health-care system that fails to meet the needs of the patient.”

You can read the interview and excerpt here.


Review of The Afterlife of Birds in What’s Up Yukon

There’s a new review of Elizabeth Philips’ debut novel, The Afterlife of Birds, in What’s Up Yukon. Vanessa Ratjen writes:

“What I really drew from, and appreciated in, The Afterlife of Birds was the indirect metaphor of anatomy and relationships. The more decorative characters, like the plumage on birds, are attractive in their distractions, but they live as external beings. And their relationships require a strong, stable internal force to keep all the moving parts together. And, in this novel, that unseen skeleton is the rather unobtrusive, run-of-the-mill fellow: Henry.”

You can read the full review here.