Thank you to all of you who continue to purchase, borrow a copy of, read, and share your thoughts on Always Brave, Sometimes Kind with me and with our community. Because of you, Always Brave, Sometimes Kind has enjoyed a spot on the Alberta Bestseller’s List, and hit the Edmonton Bestseller’s list multiple times!
And thank you to those who continue to reach out with an interest in discussing ABSK, including:
- Slave Lake Public Library, who recently hosted me as a “virtually visiting” author. What a fun night we had, with fantastic questions and lots of laughs!
- Strathcona County Library, for their Fall Feast of Words. I was delighted with how many Zoom participants attended, and how warm and engaging the interview with program coordinator Heather Nicholson was. What’s more, I got some incredible feedback from participants:
Excellent- Katie was generous and thoughtful. I appreciate hearing how her writing evolved and her experiences as a writer. It was also interesting to hear about the publishing experience.”
[Katie] answered questions in a manner that was easy to understand and truly felt like the neighbour next door!”
The presenter was excellent – so open and honest.”
I applaud your honesty and vulnerability. I admire your openness. I loved your birthing story. The title of your book seems to resonate with this. A stranger gave you some courage and kindness. Thank you.”
Bravo. Great to hear your thoughts on Indigenous inclusion and how well considered your work is. I am so excited to read what promises to be an honest and insightful look at Albertan cultural diversity. Thanks for your time.”
I look forward to the next chance I get to speak with you all and discuss writing, books, resumes, etc. — whatever it may be!
Set in the cities and rural reaches of Alberta, Katie Bickell’s debut novel is told in a series of stories that span the years from 1990 to 2016, through cycles of boom and bust in the oil fields, government budget cuts and workers rights policies, the rising opioid crisis, and the intersecting lives of people whose communities sometimes stretch farther than they know.
We meet a teenage runaway who goes into labour at West Edmonton Mall, a doctor managing hospital overflow in a time of healthcare cutbacks, a broke dad making extra pay through a phone sex line, a young musician who dreams of fame beyond the reserve, and a dedicated hockey mom grappling with sense of self when she’s no longer needed―or welcome―at the rink.
Always Brave, Sometimes Kind captures a network of friends, caregivers, in-laws, and near misses, with each character’s life coming into greater focus as we learn more about the people around them. Tracing alliances and betrayals from different perspectives over decades, Bickell writes an ode to home and community that is both warm and gritty, well-defined and utterly complicated.