Happy Small Press Spotlight Wednesday! On our radar this week is an announcement from Renegade Arts Entertainment and their acquisition of the adaptation rights to Abu Bakr al Rabeeah and Winnie Yeung’s award-winning, non-fiction book Homes: A Refugee Story from Freehand Press. For the graphic novel version, author Yeung along with co-writer Nicole Wolf will take on writing duties, with Wolf on art as well. Renegade’s Alexander Finbow serves as editor for the Summer 2023 release.
Read the publisher’s statement and synopsis here:
“Homes: A Refugee Story, chronicles the life of her former student, Abu Bakr al Rabeeah. In 2010, the al Rabeeah family left their home in Iraq in hopes of a safer life. In a twist of fate, they moved to Homs, Syria. Abu Bakr, was just ten years old when violence broke out in the streets around him. Homes is his remarkable true story of growing up in a war zone and ultimately finding safety in Edmonton, Canada.
Homes was shortlisted for both the Governor General’s Literary Award for Nonfiction and the Writers’ Trust Shaughnessy Cohen Award for Political Writing. Homes was also a finalist on CBC’s Canada Reads. Homes was awarded the Wilfrid Eggleston Award for Nonfiction and named the Alberta Book Publisher 2019 Non-Fiction Book of the Year.”
Abu Bakr al Rabeeah said, “I am so excited that more people will be able to read about my experiences living in Iraq, Syria, and Canada. I think the art will bring people even closer to my story and help them better understand what our world was like.”
Winnie Yeung added, “Abu Bakr al Rabeeah’s story has always lived in my mind as a vignette of images: mental snapshots of car bombs and goofy selfies, of mosque shootings and lost soccer balls. My former student spent months telling me about his life in Iraq and Syria and his experiences inspired me to write Homes: A Refugee Story. That first book was a way to honour a young man’s wish to share his life and now I am thrilled to be working with Renegade to bring Abu Bakr’s powerful, hopeful story to graphic novel readers. In collaboration with Calgary-based artist, Nicole Wolfe, we explore this captivating true story of growing up in a war zone with heartfelt, harrowing, and playful illustrations that capture the magic of a remarkable child.”
I remember clearly the faces of many people I met in refugee camps, fleeing Syria, Iraq and other places of conflict,” said Wolf. “When I received this opportunity to tell one family’s story, I jumped at the chance. I hope it will give a thought-provoking glimpse into the experiences many have while seeking peace.”
Finbow stated, “The opportunity to bring Abu Bakr and Winnie’s powerful and moving story to more readers is important to Renegade and we are honoured that the authors have trusted us to carry that out.”
Keep checking for updates on the debut and check out some early pages and concept art here.