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    Mennonite Writers' Tour of Literary Manitoba

    September 2, 2009

    A one-day bus tour of literary Manitoba, with writers reading in the very
    landscapes their work inscribes, is one of the special features of the fifth
    international conference on Mennonite/s Writing, to take place at the
    University of Winnipeg on October 1-4, 2009. Rudy Wiebe, Di Brandt, David
    Bergen, and Patrick Friesen, along with Armin Wiebe, David Elias, Sarah
    Klassen, David Waltner-Toews, Maurice Mierau, John Weier, Al Reimer and
    others - all have lived and worked in this prairie landscape. Almost all
    have roots in the Mennonite communities of Winnipeg and/or southern
    Manitoba. All will read from their work.

    This …

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    Jeff Gundy reports from the Boundary Waters

    July 22, 2009

    Our little group of writers spent July 12-17 on the Boundary Waters, "Listening for the Language of Nature." We had a very fine week, of a sort that's hard to capture fully in a brief description. It rained--a lot--and was more or less constantly damp and chilly after the first day, which was (conventionally) beautiful. Still, we did a lot of canoeing (ca. 41 miles), and had some exciting/nervous moments paddling through whitecaps and lots of wind and rain. We encountered a whole set of lakes, rivers, marshes, portages, and wildlife, and discovered that among us we were up to …

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    Letters from the Gulag

    July 17, 2009

    Letters from the Gulag

    To complement Vi Dutcher’s study of the circle letter in the July issue of the CMW journal, we also recommend the very different set of Mennonite letters contained in Ruth Derksen Siemens’ Remember Us: Letters from Stalin’s Gulag (1930-37). Volume 1: The Regehr Family (Pandora 2007). The book contains the largest corpus of letters to have survived in North America from the soviet gulag. And a second volume is promised.

    The book contains 464 letters smuggled out of work and prison campus in Russia, written mainly by members of …

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    Ken Reed’s New Novel

    July 16, 2009

    Ken Reed has published his second novel about Pennsylvania Mennonites, He Flew Too High (Enumclaw, WA: WinePress, 2009). It concerns a church split in the 1950s that led to tragic physical and spiritual consequences requiring forgiveness and healing.

    Reed says that his intention was to give an “unromanticized” view of Mennonites, in contrast to the recent public interest in romance fiction about the Amish. One reviewer says it is “part love story, part apocalyptic narrative, part suspense tale.”

    Reed, who grew up Mennonite near Lebanon, Pennsylvania, is now a Presbyterian living in Silicon Valley …

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    Purpose Magazine: Call for Submissions

    July 14, 2009

    Purpose is a monthly magazine published by Mennonite Publishing Network
    (MPN) for all adult members and attendees of Mennonite Church Canada and
    Mennonite Church USA congregations.
    Purpose features short first person anecdotal stories and verse that
    encourages Christians in their daily discipleship walk. Mennonite authors are
    strongly encouraged to offer their stories. Most writings are selected from
    free lance submissions. Writings are purchased on a one-time rights basis.
    Send electronic submissions to
    Writer guidelines and monthly themes are available on the MPN
    > > website:

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    Mennonites on the New York Stage

    June 23, 2009

    Three Mennonite-related stage productions caught the attention of theatre critics in New York City in the Spring of 2009: Vern Thiessen’s one-act play “A More Perfect Union” by the Epic Theater Ensemble; the musical Everyday Rapture by Sherie Rene Scott and Dick Scanlan by the Second Stage Theater; and Jessica Dickey’s The Amish Project at Rattlestick Playwrights Theater.

    Thiessen’s two-character play, which ran through June 7, is “a story of race, religion, sex, plagiarism, politics, pregnancy and nuns” that New York Times theater critic Anita Gates found “stolid, static.”

    Sheri Renee Scott starred in her own play about stardom, which …

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    Katie Funk Wiebe memoir published

    June 2, 2009

    You Never Gave Me a Name: One Mennonite Woman's Story by Katie Funk Wiebe

    Published June 15, 2009 by Dreamseeker books. 284 pp. $15.95

    Publisher's Description:

    "I loved this book," says Dora Dueck, writer and editor, who is author of several books and co-editor of Northern Lights: An Anthology of Contemporary Christian Writing in Canada (Wiley, 2008). "This is Katie's life, her name, her harvest of work and discovery. But something wonderful happened as I read what she shares so honestly and well: I saw my own story--and felt it good, and safer again, to be a writer, pilgrim, woman …

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    Elise Hofer Derstine wins 2nd Place in Larry Neal Writer's Competition

    May 26, 2009

    Elise Hofer Derstine, a 2004 graduate of Goshen College, won second place in the Larry Neal Writers' Competition sponsored by the Washington, DC Commission on the Art and Humanities. Derstine won the award for three unpublished poems submitted in the adult poetry division. Last year Derstine won third place in the same division of the competition. For further information about the Larry Neal Awards, see

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    A Hundred Camels: A Mission Doctor's Sojourn and Murder Trial in Somalia

    May 19, 2009

    The cover of A Hundred Camels

    Just Published by Cascadia:

    A Hundred Camels: A Doctor's Sojourn and Murder Trial in Somalia

    by Gerald L. Miller, M.D. and Shari Miller Wagner

    Available: June2009
    Pages: 228

    Prices: $13.95US/$14.95Can.
    ISBN 13:978-1-931038-54-6

    As this suspenseful, true-life drama of a doctor's trial for a patient's murder unfolds, readersare given access to an ancient, clan-based culture few Americans have experienced in a country recently declared by the United Nations as a humanitarian crisis “worse than Darfur.”

    "This vivid, compelling story becomes a vehicle of beauty—the kind that wounds as we recognize our own fears and prejudices but also the beauty of a …

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    Rudy Wiebe Wins Lieutenant Governor of Alberta Distinguished Artist Award

    May 12, 2009

    Edmonton-Celebrated Canadian author and U of A professor emeritus Rudy Wiebe has added another award to his long list of accolades, winning a Lieutenant Governor of Alberta Distinguished Artist Award.

    "My parents, with their five children, arrived in Didsbury, Alberta, as penniless refugees from the Soviet Union in March 1930, and they could not dream that a child of theirs would ever become a writer, published and read in many parts of the world," said Wiebe.

    "But this magnificent country, Canada, our home, gave me that opportunity, helped me to explore my crazy ideas, my place, my ancestors-wherever I found …