On Jan. 28, Freefall Magazine celebrated the launch of its 26.1 issue at Owl’s Nest Books, with readings from Jeremy Bibaud, Beth Everest, Laurie Anne Fuhr and Liam Volke. The publication has been part of Calgary’s literary community for 25 years and releases three issues per year.
“Art lives on the page, but it breathes through the community,” Stromquist said.
He said Freefall Magazine has a launch for every issue not only to engage with the community, but also to help new and emerging writers garner attention for their work.
Magazine Treasurer Crystal Mackenzie echoed a similar sentiment, saying Freefall supports the community, which in turn, support them.
Engaging with the community helps build a positive sentiment for the magazine and people are more likely to support a magazine if they feel a relationship with it, she explained.
She added that having launches at bookstores can also help draw attention to the magazine from people who might not have heard about it otherwise.
“The launches introduce the magazine to people who may not be aware of it, but who enjoy the events at the bookstores,” she said. “The launches also allow artists of varying experience to mingle with one another, which I think creates a friendly and comforting atmosphere.”
In addition, they are important because it’s encouraging for emerging writers in particular to know their work is being experienced by readers, adding that readings help writers establish ties with the literary community.
“The community supports us and we support them,” she said. “The launches offer the space to re-affirm our relationship.”
The launch also featured a talk and reading by Cassy Welburn, who introduced Frontenac House’s Quartet 2015. Welburn read passages from each of four books, including her own poetry book, Changelings.
Stromquist said Freefall is unique in part due to its prose and poetry editors, which feature the likes of Micheline Maylor, Joan Shillington, Chris Dodd, J.D. Mersault and Sabrina Uswak.
“You really couldn’t ask for a better team,” he said.
The magazine accepts submissions from established and emerging Canadian writers.
Staying local is important to the team because “local writers help mould the Canadian identity,” Stromquist said. Since Canadian identity is so diverse, it’s important to include a “multitude” of voices and identities in the magazine, he explained.