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


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.


Winter Child by Virginia Pésémapéo Bordeleau reviewed in the Globe and Mail

Susan Ouriou and Christelle Morelli’s translation of Virginia Pésémapéo Bordeleau’s novel Winter Child was reviewed in the Globe and Mail, by Jade Colbert:

“Both raw and poetic, Pésémapéo Bordeleau’s novel is ultimately about healing and continuance, through dreams, ceremony and the partner who is meant for the time. May more French Indigenous writing find its way into English.”

You can read the full review here.


Saltern Magazine reviews Lorna Crozier’s What the Soul Doesn’t Want

Aleesha Koersen reviews What the Soul Doesn’t Want by Lorna Crozier in Saltern Magazine. The review starts:

“The only way to properly appreciate Lorna Crozier’s poetry is to sit down and read it. Then read it again. One might say that it’s not what the soul wants but instead what it needs. Okay, that was bad, but writing about books is intimidating. Writing about Lorna Crozier’s books? Even more so. You come at it knowing it will blow you away. There’s no way that it won’t. The hard part isn’t reading the collection but trying to form the sentences that do the verses some form of justice.”

You can read the full review here.


Winter Child reviewed on I’ve Read This

Anne Logan reviews Winter Child by Virginia Pésémapéo Bordeleau (translated by Susan Ouriou and Christelle Morelli) on

“One reason that I was eager to read this book was because one of the translators is Albertan Susan Ouriou, (the other translator is Christelle Morelli) who has done extensive work in her field, and is incredibly talented and intelligent. The things she accomplishes leaves me in awe, and she’s a true artist in every sense of the word. . . The writing is stunning, it reads more like an extended poem than a short novel, so it was easy to dive in and out of, or for those feeling more ambitious, an entire read through in one go. It’s also written from the perspective of an Indigenous woman, and with Canada Day just behind us, it seemed like an appropriate way to honour our Aboriginal population.”

You can read the full review here.


Winter Child reviewed in the Montreal Review of Books

Lindsay Nixon reviews Winter Child in the latest issue of the Montreal Review of Books:

“Pésémapéo Bordeleau’s words aren’t obscured by smoke or mirrors; instead, she depicts a complex constellation of relations among three generations of a Cree-Métis family, and all its present love and strain… Pésémapéo Bordeleau has woven together an exercise in sitting with and moving through pain…”

You can read the full review here.


Winter Child on CBC Radio

Thanks to Anne Logan, of, for chatting about Virginia Pésémapéo Bordeleau’s Winter Child on the radio, calling it a “beautifully written book” that was “written from an Indigenous perspective,” talking about the “different cultural influences that reflect a more diverse Canada.”

Also, we’re always happy to be mentioned alongside Canmore’s Renegade Arts Entertainment, whose new book When Big Bears Invade is hilarious, cheeky, and oh-so-Canadian.

You can listen to Anne’s segment on CBC Radio’s Homestretch with Doug Dirks here.


2017 Alberta Book Publishing Award finalists announced

The Book Publishers Association of Alberta announced the finalists for the 2017 Alberta Book Publishing Awards — and Freehand is thrilled to be in good company with our Alberta publishing colleagues on the list. You can find the full shortlist here. The awards will be presented at a gala reception at the Delta South in Edmonton on September 15, 2017 — tickets are now available at

Congratulations to our authors, and our fellow nominees!

Book Design

  • University of Calgary Press
    The Frontier of Patriotism: Alberta and the First World War
    edited by Adrianna Davies and Jeff Keshen
    book design by Garet Markvoort
  • Freehand Books
    Perfect World by Ian Colford
    book design by Natalie Olsen, Kisscut Design
  • Athabasca University Press
    Visiting with the Ancestors: Blackfoot Shirts in Museum Spaces by Laura Peers and Alison K. Brown
    book design by Marvin Harder

Trade Fiction Book of the Year

  • Stonehouse Publishing
    Kalyna by Pam Clarke
    editors Julie Yerex & Netta Johnson
  • NeWest Press
    Paper Teeth by Lauralyn Chow
  • University of Alberta Press
    Rising Abruptly by Gisèle Villeneuve
  • Freehand Books
    White Elephant by Catherine Cooper
    editor Barbara Scott