When I was checking the upcoming book launches and events at McNally Robinson in coming weeks, I was excited to discover an amazing batch of new Menno lit this spring! A few of these writers have even been featured in previous 5 Questions interviews here on Mennotoba.
(Alphabetical order by author’s last name. Descriptions abridged from publisher’s websites.)
- Wonder World (Great Plains) by KR Byggdin (fiction) “Twenty-seven-year-old Isaac Funk is broke, drifting, and questioning his lonely existence on the East Coast. Having left his conservative hometown of Newfield, Manitoba full of piss and vinegar, Isaac’s dreams of studying music and embracing queer culture in Halifax have gradually fizzled out. When his grandfather dies and leaves him a substantial inheritance, Isaac is pulled back to the Prairies for the first time in ten years. Finding his father Abe just as enigmatic and unreachable as always and his extended family more fragmented than ever, Isaac begins to wonder if there will ever be a place for him in Newfield. Is the prodigal son home for good, or is it time to cut and run once more?”
- Return Stroke (CMU Press) by Dora Dueck (nonfiction)-“These graceful, probing personal essays by award-winning fiction writer Dora Dueck engage with a diverse range of ideas (becoming a writer, motherhood, mortality, the ethics of biography, a child’s coming-out) because in non-fiction, she writes, “the quest for meaning bows to the experience as it was.” Yet within Return Stroke, one theme in particular does resonate—change. “How wonderful,” the author writes, that our “bits of existence, no matter how ordinary, are available for further consideration—seeing patterns, facing into inevitable death, enjoying the playful circularity of then and now.””
- Shelterbelts (Conundrum Press) by Jonathan Dyck (graphic novel) -“When a non-denominational megachurch opens on the edges of a rural Mennonite community, a quiet—but longstanding—battle begins to reveal itself. For years, the traditionalists in the community have held fast to the values and beliefs they grew up with, while other community members have begun raising important questions about LGBTQ+ inclusion, Indigenous land rights, and the Mennonite legacy of pacifism.”
- Flyway (Turnstone Press) by Sarah Ens (poetry) -“This meditation on the impact of human and ecological trauma explores the cost of survival for three generations of women living between empires. Writing from within the disappearing tallgrass prairie, Sarah Ens follows connections between the Russian Mennonite diaspora and the disrupted migratory patterns of grassland birds. Drawing on family history, eco-poetics, and the rich tradition of the Canadian long poem, Flyway migrates along pathways of geography and the heart to grapple with complexities of home.”
- Hey, Good Luck Out There (Doubleday) by Georgia Toews (fiction) – “Subversive, captivating and vividly attuned to both the extraordinary and the mundane, Georgia Toews’ debut novel Hey, Good Luck Out There is a furious and hilarious journey through the relentless, soul-baring world of addiction and recovery.”
And don’t forget Andrew Unger and Armin Wiebe’s upcoming event (hosted by Corny Rempel) on April 29 at McNally Robinson.