About the Center for Mennonite Writing

The Center for Mennonite Writing on the Web offers a virtual gathering place where readers and writers can find:

The Journal of Mennonite Writing (JMW) – a quarterly journal that reflects the best of contemporary Mennonite Writing in the genres of poetry, fiction, creative nonfiction, and criticism. Issues typically focus on a theme. Past themes include Memoir, Fiction, New Poetry, The Literature of Peace, Orality, Serial Fiction, Martyrs, and special issues focused on particular writers or Writing groups.

as well as:

  • the latest news about Mennonite writing, continuously updated
  • variety and diversity among "Mennonite Voices"
  • resources and links for scholars, researchers, and fans
  • an ongoing conversation about Mennonite literature
  • a global reach and contemporary perspective


Supported in part by a generous donation from Robert and Nancy V. Lee in memory of her father, John D. Burkholder, Jr., a 1928 Goshen College graduate with a double major in history and English.

Carl Haarer

John D. Roth

The English Department at Goshen College


The CMW design offers a contemporary vision of traditional Mennonite Art forms. Its elegant simplicity is inspired by the traditional Mennonite folk art of fraktur. Ornamental images based on nature are standard in fraktur, which was often used to decorate book plates, documents, and furniture. Furthermore, natural forms invoke the rural heritage and long association with the soil and agricultural life that are part of the Mennonite heritage. The simplicity of the design is a reflection of the value placed on usefulness and functional forms in a Mennonite aesthetic.

In keeping with its vision to foster a virtual community of contemporary writers as they reinterpret a 500-year-old Anabaptist tradition of lived faith, the site design is inspired by tradition, but takes a bold and contemporary form. The image inside the flower "bud" on the site logo that resembles a circle and a pen stroke was inspired by a traditional image for "work and hope"-that of a figure spading the ground-used in traditional Mennonite iconography.

According to Julia Spicher Kasdorf, the work and hope icon was originally a printer's device that appeared first on the title page of the 1685 edition of Martyrs Mirror , Amsterdam. Kasdorf chronicles the fascinating variations of this image from the seventeenth century to the present time in "Work and Hope: An Anabaptist Adam ," MQR 69.2 (April 1995), 178-204.

The CMW logo and web site was created and designed by Matt J. Yoder, a graduate of Goshen College.

Editorial Staff

Ann Hostetler

Ann Hostetler

CMW Site Editor, Journal Co-Editor

Ann Hostetler is the author of Empty Room with Light (Pandora Press US 2002), a collection of poetry, and editor of A Cappella: Mennonite Voices in Poetry (Univ. of Iowa 2003). She is Professor of English at Goshen College where she teaches American Literature and Creative Writing.

Ervin Beck

Journal Co-Editor

Ervin Beck Ervin Beck is the author of MennoFolk: Mennonite and Amish Folk Traditions (Herald Press 2004), editor of MennoFolk 2: A Sampler of Mennonite and Amish Folklore (Herald Press 2005) and, with John D. Roth, of Migrant Muses: Mennonite/s Writing in the U.S. (1998). From 1967 to 2003 he was a professor of English at Goshen College, where he organized two "Mennonite/s Writing" conferences in 1997 and 2002 (jointly with Hildi Froese Tiessen of Conrad Grebel University College). Beck has published numerous articles on Mennonite literature, as well as on folklore, drama and world literature. He is also the editor of the two most complete bibliographies of Mennonite literature—one for U.S. authors , and one, with Hildi Froese Tiessen, for Canadian authors .

Advisory Board

Beth Martin Birky, Jeff Gundy, Julia Spicher Kasdorf, Bobby Meyer-Lee, Paul Meyer Reimer, Maurice Mierau, Barbara Nickel, John D. Roth, Kyle Schlabach, Duane Stoltzfus, Hildi Froese Tiessen