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.


Four Books on Dementia and Aging

The Unravelling by Clem and Olivier Martini is among the four new books on dementia and aging discussed in Dementia Connections magazine, along with Our Time to Say Goodbye by Ron E Freckleton, Feeding My Mother by Jann Arden, and The Unseen World by Liz Moore. You can have a look at the article and books here.


The Unravelling reviewed in Alberta Views

The March issue of Alberta Views includes a review of Clem and Olivier Martini’s The Unravelling. Barbara Schneider says:

“Again they are speaking directly to people like me—those struggling to deal with the dementia of an elderly parent and worrying what will happen to their own children with mental illnesses when they are no longer able to care for them . . . Most of all, their book is a devastating critique of the mental health and dementia care systems. They describe an arcane, convoluted, almost incomprehensible system for assigning elderly people in need of care to appropriate facilities . . . The Unravelling is their invitation to all of us to be through with waiting.”


Searching for Petronius Totem reviewed in Existere

Peter Unwin’s novel Searching for Petronius Totem is reviewed in the upcoming issue of Existere magazine, 37.1, out of York University:

“A satirical post-postmodern novel, Unwin’s latest creation is reminiscent of Thomas Pynchon’s The Crying of Lot 49; however, whereas Pynchon’s novel seems to resist any meaningful interpretation of its symbols and themes, Unwin has skillfully crafted unfathomable scenarios embedded with meaning relevant to the world we live in today. He reveals ironies in modern systems of government, in how we create and value art, in how we show and experience love, and in how we trust and rely on technology.”


Story Circle reviews Dazzle Patterns

Today, Story Circle, which highlights books written by women, takes a look at Dazzle Patterns by Alison Watt:

“Various settings are described in the novel, following the shattering effects of the explosion, and all are done so well: from the fictionalized Halifax glass factory where Fred and Clare are employed; the Annapolis Valley where Clare and her fiancé Leo are from; the art studio; to the trenches in France where Leo is a soldier.”

Thank you to Mary Ann Moore for writing a review, which you can read in full here.