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Freehand Books Arrives

By Elysia Bryan

Freehand Books is a new independent press in Canada’s mid-west. A few Calgary shareholders of Broadview Press had the idea of a Calgary-based literary imprint for years; and, after a summer-long search in 2007, Melanie Little was chosen as editor. “I’ve sort of made myself available to my authors 365 days a year, and they’ve done the same for me. Which means that they’re all very involved in promoting their own books now, and you can’t beat that.” Freehand is coming out with a splash and launching four books at once; but from now on it’ll be two books a season, on average. So this month they are releasing the first four, and then in 2009 there will be four more total. Including: Stuart Ross’ second collection of short fiction, as well as poetry books by Jesse Ferguson and Joan Crate, and a collection of stories by Anik See. While Little is quick to profess her love of Coach House, she is pretty diplomatic in what she hates about Canadian publishing. She thinks that authors should be paid more than typesetters; libraries and bookstores should stock more innovative books for a longer period. Some of her parting words would be hurt in a summary. “I hate having to ask people I like and respect and would really rather not torment to do blurbs. GOD, I hate blurbs. I hate that I now find myself writing copy containing the word ‘luminescent.’ I hate how easy it is to become what we hate.” For now, Melanie Little is the one behind almost all of the Freehand world, but with six titles in the works, she may be looking for another set of paws to help out somewhere down the road.


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