Member: Manitoba Writers’ Guild, The Writers’ Union of Canada
Mitchell Toews lives and writes lakeside in Manitoba. His short fiction and creative nonfiction appears in print and online, in places near and far. You may follow him on the trails or out on the water or ice, or more conveniently here at Mitchellaneous.com, or on Twitter or Facebook.
Mitch is an emerging writer. A lifelong love of books and storytelling put him on this path long ago and his career in advertising and communications provided writing basics and a feel for the reality of writing: deadlines, criticism, and publishing. Formal instruction has come from university and public library Writers in Residence like Carolyn Gray, Lauren Carter, Lindsay Wong, Katherena Vermette, Duncan Mercredi, Frances Koncan, Ariel Gordon, and Anna Leventhal. He is also active with the Manitoba Writers’ Guild and its many programs. Less formal, but highly rewarding and inspiring is his critique circle which features a strong and diverse group of writers.
What’s bright in the headlights these days? A collection of MennoGrit short stories — ‘Pinching Zwieback — Prairie Stories’ that I’m just beginning to query.
In addition and now that Covid rules offer more freedom to travel, I plan to work hard on my long-delayed Manitoba Arts Council sponsored project for an ekphrastic artbook about Manitoba subjects. My photographer-collaborator Phil Hossack and I will be tracking down stories for the book this fall and winter and into 2022.
I’m also full-up with piles of regular stuff: short stories, CNF, blog posts, readings, critique circles, courses, and consultations — the full pot of writer’s soup.
My debut novel, ‘Mulholland and Hardbar’ is now past its FIFTH full edit and stands ready to be queried sometime in the not too distant future. It’s a gritty coming-of-age story driven by its ambiguous characters and it is also a Bildungsroman dramedy that takes place in a small town and on the road and in the Manitoba boreal… or more succinctly: “A story wound tight as a noose.“
How would I describe it as a movie? I’d say, ‘Fargo, with Mennonite accents…‘ (As a book? Shades of ‘On the Road,’ the woodsy flavour of ‘Never Cry Wolf,’ a youthful protagonist in the manner of ‘The Nick Adams Stories,’ the desire, temptation, and surrender of ‘Heart of Darkness.’
UPDATE March 2022: Courtesy of The Writers’ Union of Canada and their sponsorship of the Mentorship Microgrants program, I am one of the fortunate co-recipients of this outstanding program. I have partnered with proud TWUC member (and perennial all-star) Armin Wiebe to review this novel manuscript. Yeah… I know! (Descriptive Plautdietsch expressions flow like the Bazavluk in spring!)
“If I have seen further it is by standing on the shoulders of giants.” — Isaac Newton
—Mitchell Toews, Jessica Lake