Reblog: I Used to be an Animal Lover

An INTERVIEW with contributor, Mitchell Toews.

Where did you hear about the I Used to be an Animal Lover anthology? What does the title mean to you? 

I stumbled across D.A. Cairns’ anthology call on the internet and submitted my story “The Margin of the River” almost immediately, followed soon after by “I Am Otter.” I was intrigued by the anthology’s title, especially since it was a reprise of a book of his by the same name. 

Three fun facts—in the writerly domain, related to the animal kingdom, or otherwise—about you? 

1—When our kids were young, we owned (were owned by?) a gentle, runt-of-the-litter beagle the girls named “Knuckles.” One frigid Canadian winter, frustrated by Knuckles’ frequent requests for out-in-out, I rigged a backyard doghouse made of hay bales. The shelter was warmed by a 40-watt bulb coated with stove black. All systems were go until we received a late-night wake-up: It was Knuckles howling in joyous excitement as her hated winter exile went up in leaping, orange flames. A design flaw, or Knuckles the arsonist beagle? 2—I have built and lived in two geodesic domes, one at a water-access-only boreal forest location. 3—a favourite quote, “Forgive the weak for they are always fighting.” —Layne Coleman, from “Tony Nappo Ruined My Life” in “Carter V Cooper Short Fiction Anthology: Book Ten by Joyce Carol Oates”

Where can I buy your work and what’s the one piece that I ABSOLUTELY must read? 

My forthcoming collection of short stories is probably the best I can offer. “Pinching Zwieback” (At Bay Press) will be out October 24, 2023, and news of the launch, readings, and so on will be announced on my social media links. (Ask for it at your library or local bookshop—and remember, it’s a small world.)


Mitchell Toews lives and writes lakeside in Manitoba. His work appears in print and online, in places near and far. He is working on a novel. A collection of short stories focused on a Russian Mennonite community in Western Canada, “Pinching Zwieback” will be launched in the fall of 2023 by Winnipeg’s At Bay Press. You may follow Mitch on the trails or out on the water or ice, or more conveniently at and

“I come to fiction from the storyteller’s places: the campfire, the backseat on a long drive, the bar stool.” —MJT

Reblogged from Australian Author David A. Cairns and his blog: Square Pegs

NOTE: PRE-ORDER LINKS for I Used to be an Animal Lover are here:

Amazon Kindle

everywhere else