Regina's Melanie Schnell was a multiple winner at the Saskatchewan Book Awards in 2013 taking home both the Drs. Morris & Jacqui Shumiatcher Regina Book Award and the National Bank Financial Wealth Management First Book Award for her novel, While the Sun is Above Us, published by Freehand Books.

Melanie Schnell grew up on a farm in southeastern Saskatchewan and has lived in Regina, Vancouver, Toronto, Boston, Colombia, Thailand, Kenya, and Sudan. With a Master of Fine Arts degree in Creative Writing from UBC, she has written for television, magazines and journals. Her first novel, While The Sun Is Above Us (Freehand Books, 2012), was derived from her experiences in South Sudan for part of one year in the midst of a civil war. It provides two female perspectives of that war and contemporary slavery in that area of Africa. While The Sun Is Above Us was shortlisted for four Saskatchewan Book Awards including Book of the Year. Schnell, had no way of knowing that the remote South Sudan region would become newsworthy as the planet's youngest nation after Republic of South Sudan became an independent state on July 9, July 2011. A referendum for nationhood passed with 98.83% of the vote.


While The Sun Is Above Us (Freehand Books, 2012) 978-1-55481-061-1

[BCBW 2013] "Africa"