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


Starred review in Quill and Quire for Homes: A Refugee Story

Quill and Quire reviews Homes: A Refugee Story by Abu Bakr al Rabeeah & Winnie Yeung alongside Tina Kurdi’s The Boy on the Beach, giving both starred reviews. Reviewer Sheniz Janmohamed writes that “Both Homes and The Boy on the Beach humanize a conflict that too often been condensed to numbers, statistics, and nameless victims. The western gaze reduces Syria to an abstraction of civil war, hunger, violence, and conflicting political and religious factions. But these books force the reader to face the complexities of place. In addition to war and suffering, Syria is also a home, a locus of family and memory. . . . These eloquent, nuanced, and heartbreaking books — filled with life in the face of death — deserve to be read with all the compassion and courage it must have taken to write them.”

You can read the review online here.


Prairie Fire reviews Lorna Crozier’s What the Soul Doesn’t Want

“Reading Lorna Crozier’s poetry is always a surprise and a delight, and the poet does not disappoint with her latest collection, What the Soul Doesn’t Want. 

“She writes about growing old and the vulnerabilities which accompany aging. She writes about grief, about flies, cockroaches, birds and saints.”

You can read the full review online.


Homes: A Refugee Story in the Star Edmonton

“Al Rabeeah, 17, wants readers to take away one thing: that the two countries he called home before coming to Canada are not all about war.

“It’s really lovely to live in Syria and Iraq,” he said. “People, they are just the same or similar to (people here).”

You can read the full article here.