Freehand Books was founded in 2007 with a simple mandate: to publish excellent Canadian literature.
And they started off with a bang—Melanie Little, Freehand's first Managing Editor, published Marina Endicott's Giller Prize-nominated Good to a Fault as the press's debut title. In addition to the Giller nod, Quill & Quire named Freehand "Rookie of the Year" and CBA nominated them for Small Press of the Year in 2008.
After that amazing start the press firmly established itself in the Canadian literary publishing landscape, producing books with careful attention to detail, from the editorial process through to the high production quality and innovative design of the books themselves.
Others have been taking notice of their fantastic books too: Tangles: A Story about Alzheimer's, My Mother, and Me by Sarah Leavitt was the first work of graphic literature ever to be shortlisted for the Writers’ Trust Non-Fiction Prize in 2010; Roost by Ali Bryan was selected as the One Book Nova Scotia pick for 2014; and One Hour in Paris: A True Story of Rape and Recovery by Karyn L. Freedman just recently won the BC National Award for Canadian Non-Fiction.
As the contemporary, literary imprint of the academic publisher, Broadview Press, Freehand continues to publish an aesthetically diverse, award-winning collection of fiction, poetry, and creative non-fiction by both established authors and exciting new voices eight years after its inception.
Part of the active and supportive Calgary literary community, Freehand calls the Grain Exchange Building home. Current Managing Editor, Kelsey Attard, shares her office with Broadview Press, has a view of the Calgary Tower and gets to use, if rumors can be believed, Calgary’s oldest elevator every day.
If you’re in Calgary and haven’t had an opportunity to go to a Freehand launch, you definitely should—they love celebrating their readers just as much as their books. Or you could wait and attend their annual Freehand Fall Bash. We haven’t been ourselves but we hear it’s a good time!