Ali Bryan on the CBC Homestretch

Ali Bryan dropped by the CBC studios to chat with Doug Dirks about her latest book, The Figgs. They talked about the relatable scenario of adult kids living at home, the tough situation millennials and those currently entering the workforce find themselves in, and why writing at 5:00 am is especially good for humour. You can listen to their discussion here (6 minutes, 41 seconds).


The Figgs in Where Calgary

Thanks to Where Calgary for highlighting The Figgs by Ali Bryan in the May/June issue of Where Calgary! “In this funny and endearing story written by Calgary-based author Ali Bryan, the Figg family navigates rebellious teens, unexpected pregnancy, aging, adoption and more with humour, wit and (occasional) grace. The memorable characters and non-stop shenanigans keep the pages turning.”


The Calgary Herald chats with Ali Bryan about The Figgs

Eric Volmers from the Calgary Herald talks with Ali Bryan about her latest novel, The Figgs. They talk about millennials (“she is definitely not the sort of writer to resort to a novel full of cheap millennial jokes), adult dependncy disorder, when your kids become more independent than you’re ready for as a parent, and about how “humour is important nowadays more than ever.” You can read the article here.


Dazzle Patterns on CBC Books’ “12 Great Canadian Debut Novels You Should Check Out”

CBC Books has named Alison Watt’s Dazzle Patterns to their list of “12 Great Canadian Debut Novels You Should Check Out,” alongside other standouts like Casey Plett’s Little Fish, Catherine Hernandez’s Scarborough, and Harriet Alida Lye’s The Honey Farm. You can check out the list here.


Interviews with Abu Bakr al Rabeeah and Winnie Yeung, about Homes: A Refugee Story

Author Deborah Willis interviewed Abu Bakr al Rabeeah and Winnie Yeung about their book, Homes: A Refugee Story. Downloads are available for classroom use or book club use.


What’s Up Yukon reviews Homes: A Refugee Story

Vanessa Ratjen reviewed Homes: A Refugee Story for What’s Up Yukon:

“In just over 200 pages, Homes fast tracks you through four years of al Rabeeah’s youth; and it’s not a story of war, but of a boy who lives in it. Events of brutality overlap with normal kid things: soccer games, building kites, a case of appendicitis, humour and a lot of familial love and loyalty.”

You can read the full review here.


Dazzle Patterns a finalist for the 2018 Amazon Canada First Novel Award

Congratulations to Alison Watt, whose novel Dazzle Patterns is a finalist for the 2018 Amazon Canada First Novel Award!

The full list of finalists:

  • Sharon Bala for The Boat People
  • David Demchuk for The Bone Mother
  • Omar El Akkad for American War
  • Michael Kaan for The Water Beetles
  • Rachel Manley for The Black Peacock
  • Alison Watt for Dazzle Patterns

Since 1976, the First Novel Award has recognized the outstanding achievements of Canadian first-time novelists. The $40,000 award will be presented in Toronto on May 22.

This is the third year in a row that a Freehand book has been a finalist for the prize! Elizabeth Philips was shortlisted in 2016 for The Afterlife of Birds, and Catherine Cooper was shortlisted in 2017 for White Elephant.

For more information about the prize, please visit


CMAJ Blogs reviews The Unravelling

CMAJ Blogs has posted a book review of Clem and Olivier Martini’s The Unravelling: “As a future physician, these accounts can be painful to read. But they also provide concrete examples of how individual physicians and healthcare practitioners can do better.”

You can read the full review here.


The Unravelling a Finalist for the City of Calgary W.O. Mitchell Book Prize

Congratulations to Clem and Olivier Martini, whose book The Unravelling is a finalist for the City of Calgary W.O. Mitchell Book Prize!

Rounding out the shortlist are Taylor Lambert for Darwin’s Moving (NeWest Press) and Deborah Willis for The Dark and Other Love Stories (Hamish Hamilton). Congratulations, Clem and Olivier, Taylor, and Deborah!

The recipient of The City of Calgary W.O. Mitchell Book Prize will be recognized at the Calgary Awards presentation on June 13, 2018. The Calgary Awards will be live streamed on

A Shortlist Reading and Q and A with the authors will take place at Shelf Life Books on Thursday, April 26, 2018 at 7:00 p.m.



Homes: A Refugee Story highly recommended in CM: Canadian Review of Materials

CM: Canadian Review of Materials has reviewed our upcoming Homes: A Refugee Story by Abu Bakr al Rabeeah and Winnie Yeung, highly recommending it for readers age 13+. “At a time when many refugee children and families are settling in all parts of Canada, Abu Bakr’s story will build empathy and understanding.” You can read the full review here.