two flash collections to love
Here are two flash fiction collections to love:
“Small Shifts” edited by Shawn L. Bird (Lintusen Press) https://lnkd.in/gRNdw659 and “This Will Only Take a Minute — 100 Canadian Flashes” edited by Bruce Meyers and Michael Mirolla (Guernica Editions) https://lnkd.in/gp6fJVcE
Many exceptional writers with some of their best stories in two books packed tight with wisdom, pathos, and humour. Plus, the boring bits have been removed. (As flash lovers already know, this is what generally happens.)
Books for Sale!
I have a story in a funky little anthology that’s coming out on July 2.
“Small Shifts: Short Stories of Fantastical Transformation” is a collection of ten fantasy stories from Lintusen Press (Shawn L. Bird). My contribution is “I am Otter,” a short story about a distraught Jessica Lake otter and the social unrest encountered by a congregation of “Otterites.”
“Life presents particular mortifications when your alternate form is a dung beetle or a bumblebee. Featuring stories by Chris McMahen, Finnian Burnett, Mitchell Toews, Shawn L. Bird, Jarrod K. Williams, Lee F. Patrick, Patricia Lloyd, Jessica DeLand, Batya Guarisma, Philip Mann, and Andrew G. Cooper”
Pre-orders (e-books) are open for business, print expected July 2.
E-books $4.99 USD. Print $9.99 USD, 6″X9″ 122 pages.
Third Time’s a Charm?
[…] From Wikipedia: The Pushcart Prize is an American literary prize published by Pushcart Press that honors the best “poetry, short fiction, essays or literary whatnot” published in the small presses over the previous year. Magazine and small book press editors are invited to submit works they have featured. Anthologies of the selected works have been published annually since 1976. It is supported and staffed by volunteers.
The founding editors were Anaïs Nin, Buckminster Fuller, Charles Newman, Daniel Halpern, Gordon Lish, Harry Smith, Hugh Fox, Ishmael Reed, Joyce Carol Oates, Len Fulton, Leonard Randolph, Leslie Fiedler, Nona Balakian, Paul Bowles, Paul Engle, Ralph Ellison, Reynolds Price, Rhoda Schwartz, Richard Morris, Ted Wilentz, Tom Montag, Bill Henderson and William Phillips.
* * *
My story, “Sweet Caporal” about a morning of fishing on Big Whiteshell Lake has been nominated for a Pushcart Prize by Editor Robert Boucheron on behalf of the quarterly literary journal, Rivanna Review, of Charlottesville, Va.
This is my third Pushcart nomination, the first from a U.S. periodical. It is the second time a version of “Sweet Caporal” has been nominated.
MITCHELL TOEWS: A big list…
Author pages on Facebook, Goodreads, and LinkedIn
Updated February 17, 2023
HEADINGS: EDUCATION, ASSOCIATIONS/MEMBERSHIPS, PUBLISHED WORKS, CONTESTS-PRIZES-AWARDS, FUNDING, READINGS, WORK IN PROGRESS, FRIENDS & FOLLOWERS, PANELS, ARTIST’S STATEMENT
University of Victoria (1974-75)
University of Winnipeg (1975-77, dangerously close to a B.A. in Sociology)
Masters Certificate in Marketing Communication Management, York University (2001)
“So You Want To Write Indigenous Characters…” Manitoba Writers’ Guild (2019)
Member — Manitoba Writers’ Guild
Professional Artist — as designated by Manitoba Arts Council
New/Early Career Artist — as designated by Canada Council for the Arts
Past Member — Winnipeg Public Library’s Prose Writing Circle, led by Winnipeg Public Library Writer in Residence Carolyn Gray (2019-2020)
Past Member — The Sunday Writers Group, led by Donna Besel (Lac du Bonnet, MB)
Member — WriteRamble, led by Lauren Carter, Winnipeg Public Library Writer in Residence, 2020-2021
Member — Write Clicks, a Winnipeg River/Winnipeg city alliance: a critique circle formed in 2021
Member — Winnipeg River Arts Council
Member — The Writers’ Union of Canada
- 111 short stories and flash fiction published in periodicals, anthologies, and contests. Approximately 700 submissions overall.
- 40 pieces accepted in Canada, 34 US, 25 UK, and 12 in other countries (India, Australia, etc.)
- Two stories translated into Spanish.
- A collection of short stories, “Pinching Zwieback” will be launched in the fall of 2023. (At Bay Press, Winnipeg). The collection was accepted by the first publisher to which it was submitted.
- A debut novel, and several other WIP literary projects, including a second collection of short stories, are also underway.
2016: 16 short stories | 15 online, 2 paid print, 9 Canada, 6 UK, 1 US
2017: 20 short stories | all online, 4 Ca, 1 India, 7 UK, 8 US.
Note: 2017 short stories Include: Best of Fiction on the Web: 1996-2017 ISBN: 9780992693916 (ISBN10: 9780992693, ISBN13:9780992693) and The Machinery: Fauna ISBN: 9781544723266.
2018: 14 short stories, 1 interview, 1 podcast (audio) | 1 paid print, 3 unpaid print, 6 Ca, 4 UK, 1 Ireland, 5 US
“I am Otter” — short story, CommuterLit (Ca)
“Fall From Grace”, short story, Literally Stories (UK) (“Pinching Zwieback” 2023)
“Of a Forest Silent” — short story, Alsina Publishing LingoBites (UK – English and Spanish)
“City Lights” — short story, Literally Stories (UK)
“The Bottom of the Sky” — short story, Fiction on the Web (UK)
“In the Dim Light Beyond the Fence” — short story, riverbabble (US) (“Pinching Zwieback” 2023)
“Nothing to Lose” — short story, riverbabble (US) (“Pinching Zwieback” 2023)
“Shade Tree Haven” — short story, Doorknobs & Bodypaint (US)
“Sweet Caporal at Dawn” — short story, Blank Spaces (Ca), paid print
“Sweet Caporal at Dawn” — short story, Just Words, Volume 2 Anthology (Ca), print ISBN: 9781775279273 (ISBN10:1775279278)
“Away Game” — short story, Pulp Literature (Ca), paid print
“Groota Pieter” — short story, River Poets Journal, Special Themed Edition, “The Immigrants” Anthology (US), print (“Pinching Zwieback” 2023)
“Five Questions for Mitchell Toews” — interview, Mennotoba (Ca)
“The Narrowing” — short story, Scarlet Leaf Review (Ca) (“Pinching Zwieback” 2023)
“Wide Winter River” — podcast, Not Ready for Prime Time (US)
2019: 14 short stories, 1 interview, 1 CNF essay | 1 paid online, 1 paid print, 2 unpaid print, 3 Ca, 2 UK, 1 Australia, 3 Iran, 8 US
“The Fifty Dollar Sewing Machine” — short story, Literally Stories (UK)
“The Toboggan Run” — short story, The MOON magazine (US) (“Pinching Zwieback” 2023)
“Peacemongers” — short story, The MOON magazine: “Out of This World” Anthology The Best Short Stories from the MOON (US), Volume 1, print ISBN: 9781078315326 (ISBN10: 1078315329, ISBN13: 978-1078315326) (“Pinching Zwieback” 2023)
“Cave on a Cul-de-sac” — short story, The Hayward Fault Line, Doorknobs & Bodypaint (US) Issue 93
“Din and the Wash Bear” — short story, The Hayward Fault Line, Doorknobs & Bodypaint (US) Issue 95
“Died Rich” — short story, Fabula Argentea (US), Issue #27, paid (“Pinching Zwieback” 2023)
“I am Otter” — short story, Short Tales – Flash Fiction Stories (Iran)
“Away Game” — short story, Short Tales – Flash Fiction Stories (Iran)
“4Q Interview with Author Mitchell Toews” — interview and excerpt from WIP novel, “Mulholland and Hardbar”, South Branch Scribbler (Ca)
“Concealment” — short story, Me First Magazine (US)
“Groota Pieter” — short story, Pact Press (Australia), “We Refugees” Anthology, print
“Fast and Steep” — short story, Riddle Fence (Ca), Issue 34, paid print
“Holthacka’s Quandary” — short story, Lunate Fiction (UK)
“Shade Tree Haven” — short story, (mac)ro(mic) (US)
“My Writing Day” — CNF essay, my (small press) writing day (Ca)
“Our German Relative” — short story, Xmas Stories (Iran)
2020: 11 short stories, 2 CNF essays, 1 interview | 6 print, 1 paid online, 2 paid print, 5 Canada, 3 UK, 4 US
“The Business of Saving Souls” — short story, Literally Stories (UK)
“The Log Boom” — short story, in “A Fork in the Road,” 2019 Special Theme Edition Anthology of River Poets Journal (US), print
“Encampment” — short story, Tiny Seed Journal (US)
“Regrets de Foie Gras”— short story, Literally Stories (UK), May 2020
“The Grittiness of Mango Chiffon” — short story, Agnes and True (Ca), paid online, Summer 2020 (“Pinching Zwieback” 2023)
“My Life as a Corkscrew” — a CNF essay “On Writing” in Blank Spaces (Ca), June 2020, print
“Piece of My Heart” — short story, Pulp Literature, (Ca), paid print
“Away Game” — short story, Quail Bell Magazine, (US), paid print
Interview — Maysam Kandej Talks (Iran), https://maysam.id.ir/talks online, August 2020
“My Life as a Corkscrew” — a CNF essay “On Writing” in the Just Voices anthology (Ca), September 2020, print ISBN: 9781999290375 (ISBN10: 1999290372)
“The Sunshine Girl” — short story, Cowboy Jamboree Magazine (US), Fall 2020 (John Prine Tribute issue), print and online (“Pinching Zwieback” 2023)
“Died Rich” — short story, Fiction on the Web (UK), September 2020
“Baloney, Hot Mustard and Metal Filings” — short story, WordCity Monthly (Ca-Intl), September 2020 (“Pinching Zwieback” 2023)
“Our German Relative” — short story, WordCity Monthly (Ca-Intl), December 2020
2021: 8 short stories, 2 interviews | 1 paid print, 4 Canada, 4 UK, 2 US
“Interview with Contributor Mitchell Toews” — Blank Spaces (Ca), January 8, 2020
“So Are They All” — short story and interview, Literally Stories (UK), February 14, 2021(“Pinching Zwieback” 2023)
“Fast and Steep” — short story, CommuterLit “Love Stories,” (Ca), February 14, 2021
“The Grittiness of Mango Chiffon” — short story, Literally Stories (UK), March 9, 2021
“Fast and Steep” — short story, Fiction on the Web (UK), March 29, 2021
“Featured Artist — Mitch Toews” Winnipeg River Arts Council, the interview was written by Donna Besel (Ca), June 2021
“The Log Boom” — short story, WordCity Monthly (Ca-Intl), July 2021
“In the Dim Light Beyond the Fence” — short story, The Twin Bill (US), July 13, 2021
“Sweet Caporal” — short story, Rivanna Review (US), September, paid print
“Fast and Steep” — short story, Fenechty Anthology (UK), print
2022: 12 flash/short stories, 1 poem | 5 paid print, 3 royalty agreements, 4 US, 8 Canada, 1 Intl
“Hundred Miles an Hour” — short story, Rivanna Review, (US), paid print, March 2022
“Piece of My Heart” — short story, Miramichi Flash, (Ca), Spring/Summer 2022
“Downtown Diner” — short story, Cowboy Jamboree, (US), Bruce D’J Pancake Issue
“Winter Eve at Walker Creek Park” and “Shade Tree Haven” — Guernica Editions’ “This Will Only Take a Minute: 100 Canadian Flashes,” (Intl), a collective anthology edited by Bruce Meyer and Michael Mirolla, August 2022 ISBN: 9781771837514 (softcover) Identifiers: Canadiana (print) 20220195986
“I am Otter” — short story, Lintusen Press “Small Shifts: Short Stories of Fantastical Transformation” edited by Shawn L. Bird, (Ca), anthology, royalties print, July 2022 https://books2read.com/Prose-by-Toews ISBN: 9781989642351 (ISBN10: 1989642357 ISBN13 9781989642351)
“Sanctuary Quandary” — short story, WordCity Monthly (Ca-Intl), July 2022
“New War — Old Technology” — flash fiction, The Fieldstone Review (Ca), Fall 2022.
“No Strings” — short story, Bell Press “Framework of the Human Body” edited by Catherine Mwitta, (Ca), anthology, paid advance/royalties print, 2022. ISBN: TBA
“The Spring Kid” — short story, Macrina Magazine, (US, Intl), Summer 2022
“A Cultivated Halloween” — short story, CommuterLit (Ca), October 2022
“Sweet Caporal” — poem, WordCity Literary Journal (Intl) November 2022
“The Sewing Machine” — short story, Rivanna Review (US), paid print, December 2022
2023: 6 flash/short stories | 1 royalty agreement, 1 UK, 2 Aus, 1 Canada. 2 US
“The Margin of the River” and “I Am Otter” — short stories (2), D.A. Cairns “I Used to be an Animal Lover: An extraordinary and eclectic collection of short stories.” (Au), anthology, royalties print, 2023. ISBN AU: TBA
“Piece of My Heart” — short story, Literally Stories (UK), January 26, 2023
“All Our Swains Commend Her” — short story, PULP Literature (Ca). Spring, 2023
“Pass It to Freddie” — short story, The Other Journal (US), Spring, 2023
“Angel Delorme and the Craigflower Bus” — short story, Hawkshaw Press, “Hardboiled and Loaded with Sin Volume 1” edited by Dianne Pearce (US), anthology, print. Fall 2023. ISBN: TBA
TOTAL: 111 short stories/flash fiction/interviews/essays/poems/podcasts in total out of approximately 650 submissions.
“So Are They All” — short story, Second Place in the Adult Fiction category of the Write on the Lake (Ca) contest, 2016, paid print ISSN: 1710-1239
“Fall from Grace” — short story, Honourable Mention in The Writers’ Workshop of Asheville (US) Memoirs Contest, 2016
“The Phage Match” — short story, Finalist in Broken Pencil’s (Ca) annual “Deathmatch contest, 2016, print
“Cave on a Cul-de-sac” — short story, Winner in The Hayward Fault Line—Doorknobs & Bodypaint Issue 93 Triannual Themed Flash contest, 2018
“I am Otter” — short story, CommuterLit (Ca), Runner-up in for Flash Fiction Feature, 2018
“Sweet Caporal at Dawn” — short story, nominated by Blank Spaces for a PUSHCART PRIZE, 2019, print
“Piece of My Heart” — a 750-word or less flash fiction was named “Editors’ Choice” in the 2020 Bumblebee Flash Fiction Contest from Pulp Literature Press, paid print
“The Margin of the River” — short story, nominated by Blank Spaces for a PUSHCART PRIZE, 2020, print
“Fetch” — short story, one of 11 finalists in a national field of over 800 entries: The Writers’ Union of Canada’s Short Prose Competition for Emerging Writers (“Pinching Zwieback” 2023)
“Sweet Caporal” has been nominated by Rivanna Review, Charlottesville, Va. for a PUSHCART PRIZE, 2021, print
“The Rabid,” finalist in the 2022 PULP Literature Bumblebee Flash Fiction Contest. (750-word max.)
The 2022 J. F. Powers Prize for Short Fiction. This Open competition drew over 400 submissions from around the world from writers in all stages of career development. “The Spring Kid,” was one of 28 longlist finalists and later advanced to the shortlist.
“The Mighty Hartski”: 2022 longlist for the Humber Literary Review/Creative Nonfiction Collective Society (CNFC) Canada-wide CNF contest (“Pinching Zwieback” 2023)
“Winter in the Sandilands” was named to the longlist for the 2022 PULP Literature Hummingbird Flash Fiction Contest. Mitch’s story, “Luck!” was on the shortlist in this same contest.
“All Our Swains Commend Her” 2nd Runner-Up in the 2022 PULP Literature Raven Short Story Contest.
“What I thought the most while reading this one for the first time was: ‘This must have taken so long to write!’ Every sentence is packed with detail and not a word is spared. A highly skilled piece of writing with a lot to say about the way we live and how we treat one another. Can’t believe such a short piece of writing left me with such memorable characters and so much to think about!” -Judge Leo X Robertson
Manitoba Arts Council, June 30, 2020. Financial support for the creation of a unique Manitoba artbook, ekphrastic in nature and featuring artistic photography and short fictional stories. The theme is “People, Places, and Light”. Photography by collaborator, Phil Hossack. Project extended due to Covid 19 to July 1, 2022. Complete.
February 2022. Mitchell has been partnered with veteran, award-winning author Armin Wiebe, a mentor in The Writers’ Union of Canada Mentorship Microgrant program. Armin and Mitch will be reviewing Mitchell’s debut novel: “Mulholland and Hardbar” (“Fargo with Mennonite accents.”)
- Voices Launch, McNally Robinson, Winnipeg, MB, 2016
- PULP Literature Issue Launch, Vancouver, BC, 2017
- Manitoba Writers’ Guild, Artspace, Winnipeg, MB, 2019
- Prosetry, Jessica Lake, MB, 2019
- Driedger Readings, Winnipeg, MB, 2019
- Victoria Writers’ Society, AGM—Open mic, 2020
- PULP Literature Reading Series, live internet April 24, 2020
- PULP Literature Issue 27 launch, live internet July 19, 2020
- Mechanics’ Institute, San Francisco, Cal, COVID-19 open mic, Zoom August 19, 2020
- Just Voices Volume 4 virtual launch, recorded for September 26, 2020
- PULP Literature Issue28 launch, live internet November 7, 2020
- Rivanna Review editor Robert Boucheron reads an excerpt from the short story “Hundred Miles an Hour” on Charlottesville (VA) Cable Access TV, May 2022 https://bit.ly/100MPHat12min18
- “Sweet Caporal” and “Winter Eve at Walker Creek Park” for an international Zoom audience organized by poet Fizza A. Rabbani (Fizza Abbas) https://www.facebook.com/fizzah.abas.9, May 2022
- Prosetry, Jessica Lake, MB, 2022
- Excerpts from “No Strings” at the Zoom launch for the “Framework of the Human Body” anthology from Bell Press Books. February 11, 2023
- Excerpts from “All Our Swains Commend Her” at the live launch of PULP Literature’s Winter 2023 at the Fabrique St. George Winery in Vancouver, February 20, 2023. (My story is forthcoming in PL Issue 38, Spring 2023.)
- Regular appearances on Manitoba Writers’ Guild monthly Zoom critique circle
- Several readings are recorded here: https://bit.ly/proseBYtoewsYouTube
WORK IN PROGRESS
A short story collection, “Pinching Zwieback” is underway (At Bay Press) and a FALL 2023 release is expected.
Pinching Zwieback: Made-up Stories from the Darp focuses on recurrent, related
characters with a common reality: small-town Mennonite life. It’s socially engaged autofiction
based heavily on the author’s own background and experiences. The loosely linked stories read,
“almost like a novel,” with characters whose lives are given form by the past but undergo change
as the world reshapes beliefs and circumstances.
Author Mitchell Toews’, who grew up in his parents’ Mennonite bakery in Steinbach
Manitoba employs a sinewy style with ample psychological depth. Toews’ stories reveal the truth
behind the fiction. This collection is a blend of memory, fable, and trauma that examines
profound moments in which the conflict might be subtle or camouflaged but the consequences
are real. A Keatsian, “mansion of many apartments,” the stories combine to offer a broad
narrative on how the people once known as the quiet in the land have evolved, and are evolving.
(NOTE: In the story listings above, those pieces selected for inclusion in “Pinching Zwieback” are, in their first appearance on the list, shown in blue.)
“Mulholland and Hardbar” — a WIP novel (“Fargo, with a Mennonite accent”).
“Myths and Troubadours” — a WIP collection of short stories. A wider range of topics, places, people, and circumstances than “Pinching Zwieback.”
“People, Places, Light” — an ekphrastic Manitoba artbook including original photography and short stories (Funded in part by The Manitoba Arts Council | Le conseil des arts du Manitoba.)
A number of new short stories are always on the go, being submitted to literary journals, contests, and anthologies.
“The Mismaloya”— a proposed novelette screenplay adaptation. Seeking a collaborator.
FRIENDS & FOLLOWERS
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1.15.21 Mitchell Toews participated as an Artist Testifier for the Commission on Basic Income. This Ontario/Canadian (Ontario Arts Council, Canada Council for the Arts) jointly-sponsored commission requested Mitch to “share your experience and thoughts with our commissioners and to inform their future report on the issue of Basic Income for Artists.”
As a storyteller, I’m often driven to tell my own “Mennonite story.” Partly fact, partly fable. Within that fictional framework, my writing comes from three places: Family, history, and love of storytelling. My most popular and critically acclaimed stories come out of this tradition.
Family is the inspiration for most of my writing. These stories are meant as a lasting message to my family.
History is elusive, cloudy, and is sometimes the subverted domain of those who seek to control the broadly written record. I concern myself with providing a coherent feel for the underlying sentiment of the times and the people. This is the living history I want the reader to experience—one that is visceral and personally felt.
Storytelling is served by the creation of a place and its people both remembered and imagined. I tend towards scenes that hang on action sequences which place the characters in a moral dilemma. The vibrancy of the natural world is always well-represented. Physical harm is often a threat or a consequence. Characters make both good and bad decisions and their relationships contextualize each outcome. If there is trauma, there must also be hope.
A fourth core element might be to “observe my culture” as a Mennonite author. Others have done this extremely well, but I have my own perspective and address issues not yet widely developed by others, or not available in the same time frame/location in which I might write. Important themes include:
(ii.) violence within the pacifist doctrine of Mennonites
(iii.) patriarchy and misogyny
At all times, I am guided by the tenets of CULTURAL INTEGRITY IN THE CREATIVE PROCESS.
In general, I strive to provide open and accurate artistic observation—even when it is critical—and also to articulate the joy I have seen and felt, and to “stuff my eyes full of wonder” as author Ray Bradbury put it.
As this rabid cannibal of a year winds down, I wonder about my writerly struggle and the artistic return on investment for me as a writer, 2015-2020.
Aside from all the “hard work is its own reward,” kind of sentiment, to which I subscribe and to whose driving power I owe one of the best periods of my redheaded life (apart from the baby powder tinged, little league coaching, proud dad/granddad parts), I wondered about how much of an imprint I’ve been given/achieved so far.
What is my gravitas quotient, or lack of same?
Am I #futility or do I stand a chance? There’s no punter (in the UK slang sense) who knows how to handicap me, there’s no Vegas line on my puny literary squirming, like the last water bug of the season making a tiny ripple that no one else notices.
An editor commented recently that I had a unique voice worth publishing. I fought back the urge to argue with her, and in that moment of cessation, found a glimmer. A glimmer not of hope — that sworl of Van Gogh luminant turbulence is still light years away — but a lifeline thrown out to me in the cold, deep water by a compassionate friend.
When I look at my C-V, I see a lot of online acceptances, a lot of out-of-province markets, and several repeat markets. This is telling of the state of the world of fiction, my preferences, my ability, my relative reputation in a world of water bugs, and my inclination to spend the years on the far side of three score with friends and heroes, not the miserable and the banal.
Anyway… I noticed that the attention of the curator for a certain specific geschichte writer list is focused solely on PRINT. I accept that. There’s so much online writing that it makes sense to begin your list with those in print. Not that I’m not proud (and more than a little) of many of my online publications, but, you know — I get it.
So here fellow water bugs, punters, friends, heroes, banal high-horsers out for a romp among the plebs… is my 2015-2020 Print Catalogue, based on about 100 distinct flash fictions and short stories sent out in over 400 submissions all over the English language literary world.
Ca — “A Fisherman’s Story” Rhubarb Magazine Issue 39 2016
Ca — “So Are They All” Voices Vol 16 No.2 2016 Anthology
India — “I am Otter” The Machinery – A Literary Collection 2017
UK — “Nothing to Lose” The Best of Fiction on the Web 1996-2017 2017 Anthology
Ca — “Sweet Caporal at Dawn” Blank Spaces Magazine 2018 Pushcart Prize Nomination
Ca — “Away Game” Pulp Literature Issue 20 2018
Ca — “Sweet Caporal at Dawn” Just Words, Volume 2 2018 Anthology
US — “Groota Pieter” River Poets Journal Special Themed Edition: “The Immigrants” 2018 Anthology
US — “Peacemongers” The MOON magazine: “Out of This World” The Best Short Stories from the MOON Volume 1 2019 Anthology
Australia/US — “Groota Pieter” Pact Press “We Refugees” 2019 Anthology
Ca — “Fast and Steep” Riddle Fence Issue 34 2019
US — “The Log Boom” River Poets Journal Special Themed Edition: “A Fork in the Road” 2020 Anthology
Ca — “My Life as a Corkscrew” (CNF) Blank Spaces Magazine 2020
Ca — “Piece of My Heart” Pulp Literature Issue 27 2020 Winner of the Editors’ Choice in the 2020 Bumblebee Flash Fiction Contest
US — “Away Game” Quail Bell Magazine 2020
Ca — “My Life as a Corkscrew” (CNF) Just Words Volume 4 2020 Anthology
US — “The Sunshine Girl” Cowboy Jamboree Magazine John Prine Tribute Issue 2020
Ca — “The Margin of the River” Blank Spaces Magazine 2020 Pushcart Prize Nomination
A few of these are printed on a rolling basis and so may not be out in the wild yet.
I also have 65 stories in various online publications in the US, the UK, and Canada.
Today is the UN’s International Day of Peace. So, even if you are a follower of the incandescent flaccid golf popsicle from south of the 49th—and are therefore ideologically opposed to the UN for some incomprehensible reason (draws deep breath) —you may want to meditate on peace for a few minutes.
Couldn’t hurt, right?
Here’s a squawk from the rearmost pew; a story called “The Peacemongers” which first appeared in The MOON magazine in June 2017. This story was also chosen to be included in the publication’s recent, beautiful anthology, “Out of This World” The Best Short Stories from The MOON Volume I (2013-2019).
Peace. Conscientious Objectors. “Just War”. Leaders we are bound by the bible to follow, chosen by and given authority by God, we are told… even leaders with triangular moustaches.
My cousin Doug and I used to jump aboard the tractors lined up for sale on the Case dealership lot in Steinbach, Manitoba. We were, in those long-ago summers, U.S. fighter pilots shooting down Messerschmidt 109s in our P-51s. If a few things in our ancestry had gone differently, maybe we would have been in imaginary Luftwaffe cockpits instead of those of the USAF. A few more twists of fate and we might have had ancestors in the Russian infantry meat-grinder or the Polish resistance. Or maybe, had our forefathers stayed in Frisland, our Opas past would have considered a “MANNEN VON NEDERLAND!” recruiting poster and become real Flying Dutchmen.
Had our great-great-grandpa Toews chosen Mountain Lake, MN instead of Manitoba’s East Reserve, Doug and I may well have found ourselves singing along to Country Joe and the Fish in Da-nang or some other place of less-than-righteous smiting. My fiction, “A Vile Insinuation” revisits this troubled time on the borderline.
Anyway, please find highlighted and hyperlinked above a couple of peace inclined short stories of mine. Give’em a read and afterwards, maybe give some waiter or waitress a twenty-buck tip to address the war on poverty. THAT’s a JUST war!
Also, here’s a link to Slaughterhouse-Five, a true book of peace for this day of peace. So it goes.
My short story, “Groota Pieter” based on my experiences in Southeast Manitoba, is included in this thoughtful, important conversation on forced migration. In 1873, my great-great-grandfather, Cornelius Toews, was one of a group of 12 delegates to travel to North America to scout locations for a mass migration as Russia constricted around their Mennonite villages in the Molotschna region of Ukraine. This historical connection, plus my life in a Canadian diaspora community that now sees others arriving as they once did—scared, unfamiliar, poor, and without a choice—makes the story personal for me.
I’m pleased to be a part of the book and if you happen to be in Melbourne, September 16…
We Refugees is now on the shelves in Readings bookshops across Melbourne, and it will be launched by Julian Burnside at Readings Hawthorn next Monday 16th September at 6.30pm.Two contributors, Kirsty Anantharajah and Akuol Garang are able to be here for the launch, which is very exciting.The launch details are available via the link below:
Now available in Australia… For release September 27, 2019 in the U.S.
The Regal House Initiative, together with Pact Press, is proud to bring you an anthology of writing by and about refugees, asylum seekers, and other forced migrants. We Refugees is intended to amplify the voices of displaced people and bring their experiences to the awareness of readers. The lead editor for this anthology is Dr. Emma Larking.
Our aim is to provide insights into the lives of the displaced, insights that are often ignored in contemporary media accounts of the global refugee crisis. Rather than present a vision of crisis, we would like to present a vision of hope and energy, to celebrate the resilience of people who have been forced to leave their homes and seek new ones. We sought contributions that may discomfort or challenge readers, presenting the experience of displacement in a manner at odds with more typical representations.
Proceeds from the publication of We Refugees
Editorial work will be provided free of charge by the Pact Press editorial team, lead by Dr. Emma Larking, and all net proceeds from the sale of the anthology will go to support the work of the Asylum Seeker Resource Centre (ASRC).
Based in Melbourne, Australia, the ASRC describes itself as:
…both a place and a movement. We are an independent not for profit organisation, whose programs support and empower people seeking asylum to maximise their own physical, mental and social wellbeing. As a movement, we mobilise and unite communities to create lasting social and policy change for people seeking asylum in Australia. We are proud to be owned and run by our community of volunteers and supporters.
Please visit the ASRC website for more information about its campaigns, work, vision and values.
Interview with Artist Virginia Ryan, Contributor to our forthcoming Pact Press Anthology, We Refugees.
~ ~ ~
“Groota Pieter” is also a part of the 2018 Lilly Press publication (U.S.), “The Immigrants” by The River Poets Journal.
“OUT OF THIS WORLD”
I’m equal parts thrilled and honoured to be included in Leslee Goodman’s anthology of The MOON Magazine 2013-2019. As a contributor (“Peacemongers” June 2017) I find myself sharing the lunar night with a wide variety of heavenly minds and rising stars.
Jessica Lake, Manitoba—Local author Mitchell Toews has a short story featured in the new anthology, Out of This World: The Best Short Stories from The MOON. His story, “Peacemongers,” tells of young boys wrestling with issues of non-violence, conscientious objection, and how to stand up to a bully in Hartplatz, Manitoba, against the backdrop of the Cuban missile crisis. The story is one of 23 works included in this anthology from The MOON magazine, a monthly journal of personal and universal reflections. (Full Press Release linked below.) “Peacemongers” is one of eight “Making Peace” selections in the book.
Curious and ready for a great summer read? Both Kindle and softcover versions of the anthology are available on Amazon at a great price! Take a brief exit from this world and its circular rancour, breaking news, rising water and record temperatures and find 23 new worlds to explore!
Preview a sampling of OUT OF THIS WORLD here: http://a.co/hL673Qd
Booksellers—US & Canada Retailers, Christian Retailers, International Retailers: https://www.ingramcontent.com/retailers/contact
Public and K-12 Libraries— https://www.ingramcontent.com/libraries
Press Release—Local author Mitch Toews featured in Out of This World anthology
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The theme for the July 2019 issue of The MOON Magazine is Invisible People. It’s a multi-faceted look at homelessness. “If your brother becomes impoverished and his hand falters beside you, you shall strengthen him, whether he is a stranger or a native, so that he can live with you.” – Leviticus 25:35