FreeFall launches final issue of 25 series

Sept 21 A&E Freefall Feature NC-6834-2

Ryan Stormquist, managing editor of FreeFall magazine, hosts the previous launch at Shelf Life Books on May 27, 2015.

Readers and writers, both established and emerging, will be able to catch FreeFall magazine’s final issue of the season, celebrating 25 years of distinguished writing.

The third issue of their 25th series will premiere with a launch event on Oct. 1, located at Shelf Life Books.

The event will feature eight readers that will showcase their stories in front of an audience.

However, what makes this issue and launch special is that it is entirely

“We wanted to finish off our 25th anniversary issue with something special,” says Ryan Stromquist, managing editor of FreeFall magazine.

“It was kind of based off a Single Onion series [that featured] collective poetry, spoken word poetry, and avant-garde poetry and how these communities bounced off one another.

“[With the issue], it shows the value of multiple voices and their eclectic-ness.”

FreeFall, of the two literary magazines present in the city, is an independent publication that features writers both well established and emerging throughout Canada. The other magazine, fillingstation, is associated with the University
of Calgary.

While this doesn’t pose too much of an issue, Stromquist says there can be certain “barriers” with whom they publish.

“They have a mandate. They have to publish university students so the quality of art is often suspect.

“Magazines like us, we publish people from around the world, although with FreeFall, we’re locked in with Canadian-based writers and artists but as a whole the quality of art goes up a bit.”

Nonetheless, he says both magazines allow a student or writer publication credits, which help with grant applications as well as show employers that one is serious about writing.

“Not only will we publish authors, but we submit their work to a lot of literary awards here in Canada.

FreeFall can propel your career.”

And while that’s all well and good on a professional level, he says it helps build up a writer’s character and esteem on a personal level, too.

With readings, Stromquist says it helps a writer come out of their “bubble.”

“Most of the time, when you’re writing it’s just you and yourself. You’re either writing in a basement at four o’clock in the morning or late at night after
your shift.

“Reading in front of an audience gives you more experience [with the

“It gives you more confidence.”

One significant moment for Stromquist was publishing their first Ontario-based writer. They flew him in for one of their launch events where he had to take part in a reading.

“It took him out of the bubble he was in and now he’s just exploded. The quality of his writing has gone way up—he’s got a lot of followers online now.”

Not only is this beneficial to the individual, but, in terms of the arts, Stromquist says it helps foster and elevate the community as a whole.

Crystal Mackenzie, circulation manager and prose editor of FreeFall, says literary magazines offer an alternative sort of voice in contrast to what some
consider mainstream.

“Those who are considered experimental, political, or on-the-fringe have an [outlet] that can showcase their art and, in our case, literary work,” she says.

Stromquist adds that literary magazines allow a sort of intersection amongst writers, as each issue features both emerging artists and writers with those that are more established, which in turn aids the community.

For prospective readers and writers looking delve into the literary community, Mackenzie says, in regards to FreeFall, that 25 years of publishing quality writing is something to consider.

“While the magazine might not be making millions of dollars, it’s obvious that it still has its strength and power with the community that it supports,”
she says.

“So, I think it doesn’t hurt to look and see what 25 years of that means—seeing something that isn’t on the main street.”

FreeFall will be celebrating their final 25th anniversary at Shelf Life Books on Oct. 1 at 7 p.m.

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