The work in this issue represents a sampling of work from creative writers present at the Mennonite/s Writing VII conference in Fresno, California, held March 12-15, 2015 at Fresno Pacific University.

The theme of the conference--Migration, Transformation, and Place--highlighted the ways in which Mennonites have interacted with the people and places they have encountered in their movement across continents in search of a place to practice their faith in community. In particular, the conference featured the Mennonite immigration to California. Plenary speakers at the conference included Fresno writers Peter Everwine and David Mas Masumoto, in addition to the lauded Mennonite writers Jean Janzen (also from Fresno) and Rudy Wiebe, who each read from newly published books. Rob Zacharaias, editor of the forthcoming volume, After Identity: Mennonite/s Writing in North America, gave the keynote address.

We are pleased to include Julia Spicher Kasdorf's introductions for Jean Janzen and Rudy Wiebe, not only because they are consummate tributes to key Mennonite writers, but because they also show the importance of models, mentors, and a literary heritage for writers from Mennonite contexts. . Poems by Abigail Carl-Klassen and Joseph Gascho show the range of subject matter and formal inventiveness among the many poets who participated in the conference. An excerpt from Jessica Penner's recent novel, Shaken in the Water, features her innovative blending of magical realism and traditional Mennonite subject matter. The two memoirs by Kathleen Kurtz and Laura Hostetler portray two very different kinds of Mennonite women--a housewife and mother making a life amidst the restrictions of a traditional patriarchal community, and a contemporary professional woman, also a wife and mother, making a life for a year in a cross-cultural context. Diana Zimmerman's brief reflection, "Flock," demonstrates the power of a literary community to help anchor a writer's sense of purpose

Not represented in this issue are the varied critical papers that explored historical, cultural, theological, and literary dimensions of Mennonite literature. Look for a sampling of this work from the conference in forthcoming issues of The Mennonite Quarterly Review, The Journal of Mennonite Studies, and Mennonite Life. A landmark event at the conference was a panel devoted to the work of Mennonite LGBTQ writers. We hope to devote a forthcoming issue to this topic.

Meanwhile, we hope you enjoy this sampling of creative work, its diversity, and its promise of new literature to come.

About the Author

Ann Hostetler

Ann Hostetler is the editor of A Cappella: Mennonite Voices in Poetry (Univ. of Iowa Press 2003) and author of two collections of poems, Empty Room with Light (Dreamseeker 2002) and Safehold (Dreamseeker 2017). Her poems and essays have appeared in a variety of journals and anthologies including The American Scholar, Poet Lore, The Valparaiso Poetry Review,Rhubarb Magazine, Testimonies and Tongue Screws: Poems, Stories, and Essays Inspired by the Martyr's Mirror, Making Poems: Forty Poems with Commentary by the Poets (2010), The Mennonite Quarterly Review and PMLA . Professor Emerita of English at Goshen College in Goshen, Indiana, Hostetler is the web site editor of the Center for Mennonite Writing and co-editor of its Journal. She directed the 2022 Mennonite/s Writing conference at Goshen College.