What the Soul Doesn’t Want shortlisted for the City of Victoria Butler Book Prize

Congratulations to Lorna Crozier, whose poetry collection What the Soul Doesn’t Want is a finalist for the 2018 City of Victoria Butler Book Prize!

The finalists are:

The award will be presented at the Victoria Book Prizes on October 17. Tickets to the gala are available at


Keith Maillard in Quill and Quire

In their Fall 2018 preview, Quill and Quire calls Keith Maillard “one of this country’s consummate stylists . . . Twin Studies is a magnum opus that examines issues of gender fluidity, sexuality, class, and family dynamics.” The September issue of Quill and Quire also offers a profile of Maillard: he’s “an unabashed advocate of lengthy, complex novels. ‘If I like a book, I like it to be big, because I like to go into the world it creates and live there awhile.'”

In the profile, Maillard also discusses how he sees his role as a creative writing instructor, his own self-identification, and the future of writing in Canada. Twin Studies will be available in September.


All Lit Up interview with Ali Bryan

Ali Bryan’s The Figgs is the book club pick for August over on All Lit Up (head on over to get 15%!). This week, Ali chatted with All Lit Up about writing without an outline, juggling families of five (both real families and fictional families), and a personal realization about managing expectations. You can read the full interview here.


Canadian Literature reviews Lorna Crozier’s What the Soul Doesn’t Want

For Canadian Literature, Lorraine York reviews Lorna Crozier’s poetry collection What the Soul Doesn’t Want, alongside Wendy Donawa’s Thin Air of the Knowable and Molly Peacock’s The Analyst. You can read the full review here.



iBooks reviews Twin Studies by Keith Maillard

The team at iBooks has a glowing early review of Keith Maillard’s upcoming novel, Twin Studies:

“Maillard’s generous affection for his characters is matched by his vividly real depictions of Vancouver. His fascinating exploration of wealth, class, and gender fluidity reads like a 21st-century Canadian version of Dickens’ London novels.”

You can pre-order Twin Studies from iBooks here.


Kerry on Can Lit reviews Searching for Petronius Totem

Kerry on Can Lit examines Peter Unwin’s latest novel, Searching for Petronius Totem:

Let me get straight to the point. This is a brilliant book: a savagely satirical romp, a slaughterhouse for sacred cows (tender sensibilities beware) an eulogy for the Romantic hero, a fever dream of early 21st century anxiety, a midlife identity crisis, and a voyage of self-discovery. Simultaneously poignant and absurd . . .

Kerry on Can Lit promises “serious but accessible exploration of current Canadian literature,” and you can read the full review here.


Finalists for 2018 Alberta Book Publishing Awards Announced

Congratulations to the finalists for the 2018 Alberta Book Publishing Awards, announced today by the Book Publishers Association of Alberta. You can view the full list of finalists here.

And special congratulations to our own authors up for the awards:

  • Alison Watt’s debut novel Dazzle Patterns is a finalist for the 2018 Alberta Trade Fiction Book of the Year Award
  • Clem Martini and Olivier Martini’s The Unravelling is shortlisted for the 2018 Alberta Trade Non-Fiction Book of the Year Award

The awards will be presented in Calgary on September 14, 2018.


Review of Homes in Resource Links

Resource Links, Canada’s national journal devoted to the review and evaluation of Canadian English and French resources for children and young adults, has reviewed Homes: A Refugee Story by Abu Bakr al Rabeeah and Winnie Yeung, rating it an “E” — “excellent, enduring, everyone should see it!”

“This unadorned true account of a young boy’s journey from childhood and relative safety in his native land through its disintegration and his dangerous journey to eventual safety in Canada is as remarkable as the story of how it came to be told.”

You can see the full review in the June 2018 issue (Vol. 23, No. 5) of Resource Links.


Interview with Ali Bryan (The Figgs) in Prairie books NOW

The Spring/Summer 2018 issue of Prairie books NOW features an interview with Ali Bryan, author of The Figgs. Ali discusses the real-life inspiration for the Figgs’ family crest (three birds without wings), researching adoption, and writing humour:

“The humour is hands down the easiest and most enjoyable part of my writing process. It feels the most natural. If it feels even the slightest like I was trying to be funny, it won’t be funny. So many times I’ve done a reading and I get to a part that I find particularly amusing and no one will even crack a smile, and then I’ll read another passage that I don’t even think is funny, and people are laugh-crying. It’s the best part of what I do.”


Ali Bryan named a 2018 Alberta Emerging Artist

Freehand’s own Ali Bryan (Roost, The Figgs) was named today one of ten recipients of the 2018 Emerging Artist Awards, presented by the Lieutenant Governor of Alberta Arts Awards Foundation. Congratulations, Ali! For more information about Ali and the award, please see her profile on the Arts Awards website.

Foundation Chair Ken Regan says “We are so pleased to be able to invest in advancing the careers of these outstanding young artists who truly will make a difference across Alberta – and Canada.”

  • Ali Bryan, writer, Calgary
  • Emily Marisabel, theatre artist, Claresholm (Edmonton)
  • Brett Dahl, theater artists, Calgary
  • Lizzie Derksen, writer, Edmonton
  • Pamma FitzGerald, visual artist, Calgary
  • Jared Darcy Tailfeathers, multidisciplinary artists, Calgary
  • Jenna K. Rodgers, theatre artist, Calgary
  • Timothy Brennan Steeves, violinist, Strathmore
  • Kelton Stepanowich, filmmaker, Ft. McMurray
  • Roydon Tse, composer, Edmonton (Toronto)

Her Honour, the Honourable Lois E. Mitchell, CM, AOE, LLD, Lieutenant Governor of Alberta presented the medals and awards at a private ceremony at Government House in Edmonton June 1.

The 10 recipients were selected from 147 applications in a two-tiered adjudication process overseen by The Banff Centre. The adjudication panel included: Mark Bellamy, theatre director;  Mel Kirby, manager, Calgary Opera Emerging Artist Development Program; Jane Ash Poitras, visual artist,  Lieutenant Governor of Alberta 2011 Distinguished Artist; Thomas Trofimuk, novelist, poet. 

Contact: Kathy Classen 780-222-7943