Freehand Books announces April 1 publication of new novel about Sudan



February 28, 2012

For Immediate Release:

Freehand Books is delighted to announce the April 1 publication of WHILE THE SUN IS ABOVE US, the new novel by Melanie Schnell.

While The Sun Is Above Us takes readers deep into the extraordinary world of Sudan through the intertwined narratives of two women. In the midst of a bloody civil war, Adut is brutally captured and held as a slave for eight years. Sandra, fleeing her life in Canada, travels to South Sudan as an aid worker but soon finds herself unwittingly embroiled in a violent local conflict.

When chance brings Adut and Sandra together in a brief but profound moment, their lives change forever. “I am very excited about this novel,” says Sarah Ivany, Managing Editor of Freehand Books.

“Melanie has crafted a beautiful story and set it against a very real and very harsh political backdrop, drawing attention to the horrors of contemporary slavery-and the female experience of slavery in particular-in a creative way.

This is art rooted in politics. I hope that readers will walk away from this book feeling compelled to act to help end this awful institution.” Freehand Books is happy to offer a limited number of complimentary copies of this title to non-profit organizations whose work relates to Sudan. For more information, to request a review copy, or to arrange author interviews, please contact Freehand Books Managing Editor Sarah Ivany at 403-452-5662 or via email at This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it. .

About the author:

Melanie Schnell has an MFA in Creative Writing from the University of British Columbia. She spent a year living in South Sudan researching While The Sun Is Above Us. Her non-fiction has appeared in numerous publications across Canada, and she wrote an episode about Sudan for the award-winning documentary series Injustice, which aired on SCN and CBC in 2009. She previously won first prize at the Saskatchewan Short Manuscript Awards in 2008, and was a finalist for the City of Regina Writing Award.

Praise for While The Sun Is Above Us:

“Schnell’s prose is transparent and true, and her voice is haunting, full of emotional clout. Hers are characters made of flesh and blood-they are brave, vulnerable, strong and, ultimately, alive with hope.”-Lisa Moore

“An urgent and powerful story about two women speaking to each other across every imaginable divide. This is a story that needs to be told!”-Buffy Cram, author of Radio Belly

515, 815 1st St SW, Calgary AB T2P1N3  403.452.5662


Sarah Ivany

Managing Editor

Freehand Books

515 – 815 1st St SW Calgary, AB T2P 1N3

tel. 403-452-5662 fax. 403-233-0001

This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.


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