“I tried to capture the spirit of the thing.” —The famous line from grizzled hockey writer Dickie Dunn in the 1977 movie “Slap Shot”
Check out my regularly updated, detailed C-V here: https://bit.ly/MitchellToewsDetailedCV
■ ■ ■ ■ ■
“Good writers, at heart, ought to be as dangerous as a riled cat with thumbs and the keys to both the liquor and gun cabinet.” —Leila Allison
■ ■ ■ ■ ■
In 1996, following 16 years in manufacturing after having co-founded — with my uncle Earl Taves and my dad “Chuck” Toews — Hanover Doors in Steinbach, Manitoba, my wife Janice and I sold the business. After that, I worked principally as a communications manager for a variety of wood product manufacturers.
Backed by my (almost) B.A. in Sociology from U of Wpg and sixteen years of business ownership I was able to complete a Master’s Certificate in Marketing Communication Management at the Schulich SoB (York, Toronto) and took on duties like creative leader, copywriting and layout/design, film producer and history bookmeditor in chief, among other things. My main responsibilities were for collateral & website writer/designer/editor, marketing, and marketing communications professional with a number of manufacturing corporations and organizations in Canada and the US. I began taking my retirement in installments in 2015 and in the fall of 2016 devoted myself strictly to my own work: embarking on a career in literary fiction and CNF.
I am recognized as a “New/Early Career Artist” by the Canada Council for the Arts (CCA) and as an “Emerging Artist” by the Manitoba Arts Council (MAC). I am an active member of the Manitoba Writers’ Guild, the Winnipeg River Arts Council (Lac du Bonnet), a member of the Manitoba writing circle, “Write Clicks,” and a member of the Writers’ Union of Canada.
- Approximately 100 short stories, interviews, and flash fiction pieces have been published in literary journals, anthologies, and contests. My audience includes publications in Canada, the US, the UK, Ireland, and Australia.
- A short story collection, “Pinching Zwieback” is underway (At Bay Press) and is set for a spring 2023 release. The collection comprises loosely related stories focused on Mennonite experiences in the fictional prairie town of “Hartplatz” and elsewhere in the world. “The truth, the whole truth, and anything but the truth.”
“A childhood is not a period of life and does not pass on. It haunts discourse.” —Jean-François Lyotard
- Also, a literary fiction novel set in Manitoba awaits its opportunity, resting in the boreal. Well-known Canadian writer, author, novelist, playwright, and raconteur Armin Wiebe has agreed, in conjunction with The Writers’ Guild of Canada’s Mentorship Microgrants program to work with me on my this project. (Feb/Mar 2022.)
“Remember, storytellers. Just to attempt the impossible is victory enough.” —Robert Kroetsch
- Photographer/collaborator Phil Hossack and I will be producing an ekphrastic Manitoba artbook in the post-Covid future. This venture was originally supported in part by a MAC | CAM “Create” grant. Although some progress was made, and even with a six-month extension, Covid effectively erased our ability to travel and meet with people and so this project will be shelved until we are able to re-group and complete the other work which Phil and I poured ourselves into during our Covid isolation.
I am a three-time Pushcart Prize nominee, a finalist in The Writers’ Guild of Canada’s 2021 Short Prose Competition for Emerging Writers, and the 2022 Humber Literary Review/Creative Nonfiction Collective Canada-wide contest, and a shortlisted finalist in the 2022 J.F. Powers Prize for Short Fiction.
* * *
Janice and I acknowledge that Jessica Lake where we live and work is situated in traditional territories, Treaty 1 and 3 lands; the original lands of Anishinaabeg, Cree, Oji-Cree, Dakota, and Dene peoples, and the homeland of the Métis Nation.
PUBLISHED, in roughly chronological order, since June 2016:
CommuterLit.com has run nine of Mitchell’s short fictions. In June 2016 the e-zine published “The Red River Valley Trilogy:” “Encountered on the Shore,” “A Vile Insinuation,” and “Without Reason.” The linked stories concern, respectively: the aftermath of a violent encounter on a city street; a young American leaving the ball fields of North Dakota for the killing fields of Vietnam; and a devout Mennonite man grappling with cancer and faith.
“Gather By the River” ran Dec 2016. It appeared in two parts on consecutive days. The second piece, “The Margin of the River,” has run a few times now, in various markets. January 2017, “The Rothmans Job,” a wintery, noir-comedy-caper story set in the seventies in downtown Winnipeg ran on CommuterLit.com. “Winter Eve in Walker Creek Park,” a flash fiction, was presented February 2017.
CommuterLit presented a reprint of “South of Oromocto Depths,” one of Mitch’s most true north stories, soon after Canada’s 150th birthday celebration in July 2017.
■ ■ ■ ■ ■
“The greatest art in the world is the art of storytelling.” —Cecil B. DeMille
■ ■ ■ ■ ■
Two more of his stories appear in Fiction on the Web: “Nothing to Lose,” a short, vivid story where the main character relives regrets and long-buried memories and “Heavy Artillery,” in which a local runs the count full on the summer streets of a small town.
“A Fisherman’s Story” tells the story of sorrow as it visits a simple family on the shores of “pre-tourista” Puerta Vallarta in Rhubarb Magazine Issue 39. Mitchell has since crafted two stories—a prequel and a sequel—to the original story. See below for the publication note for the trilogy, “The Bottom of the Sky”.
NOTE: Rhubarb has ceased to be and Manitoba can only hope that a phoenix will rise. Best wishes to the groota people of the late, great Rhubarb!
Literally Stories (UK) published Mitch’s twisted yarn, “Breezy and the Six-Pack Sneaker” September 2016 followed later that month by his nostalgic walk down a dangerous alley in 1932 Winnipeg, “The Fifty Dollar Sewing Machine” and then in November 2016 with the story of teenage friendship, drink and folly, “South of Oromocto Depths.”
February 2019: Literally Stories (UK) Re-Run of “The Fifty Dollar Sewing Machine”
Literally Stories presented Mitch’s satiric imaginings of Big Church in, “The Business of Saving Souls” January 2017. “They neither labour nor spin…”
“Our German Relative,” tells a fictionalized tale of Mennonite lore from the early days of communist Russia. This story is found on Red Fez, a literary/art site online, where “our German Relative” became the Story of the Week and followed that distinction with the second Most Viewed Story of the Month December 2016 and then Most Viewed fiction in Issue 96 of Root Metz.
Mitch’s writing returned to Fiction on the Web January 2017, when “The Preacher and His Wife” was published on the site. This short fiction tells the comical tale of misinformation and gives readers an inside peek into (real) pure Mennonite life, circa 1963.
Sick Lit Magazine published a reprint of “The Rothmans Job” March 2017.
■ ■ ■ ■ ■
“Travel widely, experiment boldly, love deeply.” —Winslow Homer
■ ■ ■ ■ ■
The Machinery – A Literary Collection has chosen “I am Otter” March 2017 for their website and print collection. You can buy the issue containing this Otterite story of disenfranchisement, here: https://themachineryindia.com/2017/03/24/the-machinery-fauna-paperback/
“The Business of Saving Souls,” a prickly satire about the conflation of business, big church and politics was reprinted May 2017, in SickLit Magazine.
Fiction on the Web (a TOP 20 short story blog) published “The Beefeater and the Donnybrook” May 2017. A Halifax tourist runs into entanglements on the streets of London.
Meanwhile, the tragic tale, “The Log Boom,” appeared on Storgy.com May 2017. @morestorgy had this to say:
“The impressive ‘The Log Boom’ by Mitchell Toews, a brilliant author and voice which we are proud to be bringing you!” —Storgy Magazine
Mitchell thinks Storgy is brilliant too.
A reprint of “Encountered on the Shore,” a short story set alongside a rushing stream in Winnipeg, arrived on Fair Folk Journal June 2017. This piece first appeared in CommuterLit.com June 2016.
(P.S. – All the better to C you with, Fair Folk has changed their publication name to OCCULUM, effective 6.20.17)
■ ■ ■ ■ ■
“Shut up and write.” —Cory Hughes
■ ■ ■ ■ ■
The MOON magazine ran the short story, “The Peacemongers” June 2017. This 4,800-word fiction was in the June 2017, “Swords into plowshares: Transitioning to a world without war,” issue and the author was—and is—pleased to be included!
UK-based language learner literary site*, Alsina Publishing will present the gritty realism flash fiction, “The Light Pool” July 2017. It is interesting to note that the publisher and the author collaborated to edit the piece to contain simple language and short sentences — the best material for new language learners to absorb on the publisher’s “LingoBites” site* where stories are presented in English & Spanish; print & audio. A three-part serial by Mitchell, “The Old Guardsmen”, was presented to LingoBites audiences November 2017.
“The Light Pool” was described by one reader as; “a very genuine flash fiction piece.” This story was one of ten included in a secondary school unit featuring LingoBites stories.
NOTE: *Unfortunately, LingoBites and Alsina Publishing are no longer in existence.
■ ■ ■ ■ ■
“A unique writers voice is what attracts me at first. Popular, stylistic, poetry/prose rarely captures my attention. Sometimes writing is over-learned in classes, or representative of the teacher’s or studied subject’s body of work. I like the rawness of the pure untarnished colloquial voice in the reading. Having something to say is essential to me. That is to say, I’m not impressed with a great volume of rarely used words thrown together to impress the reader with the vast knowledge of the writer on command of English, tricks of writing, ancient history, or the places they’ve travelled.”—An excerpt from an interview by writer, editor, publisher Judith Lawrence in, “Six Questions For…”
■ ■ ■ ■ ■
NOTE: I am sorry to report that Editor Leila Rae, the caring, skillful force behind riverbabble, Doorknobs and Bodypaint, The Hayward Fault Line and more, has passed away. The links have been removed as these pages no longer exist online.
My personal condolences to Ms. Rae’s friends and family and to the countless many she influenced positively in the literary world.—Mitchell Toews, March 25, 2020.
riverbabble, one of three literary journals published by Pandemonium Press of Berkeley, CA, published “The Margin of the River” June 2017. A story of unintended violence. (An earlier version first appeared in CommuterLit in December 2016.)
Recurrent character Matt Zehen learns important life lessons about respect, honesty and the need for caution out in the wide world in, “Fairchild, McGowan and the Detective.” This short story published in WORK Literary Magazine June 2017.
OCCULUM published “Graperoo” – a whimsical perspective with some telling observations about life in the “animate sphere” August 2017. Do you ken me?
Literally Stories, a UK-based literary journal dedicated to the short story, ran “So Are They All” August 2017. This story takes place in the year following the Cuban Missile Crisis of 1962 and asks questions about loyalty, mutually assured destruction (M.A.D.) and Saskatoon pie.
■ ■ ■ ■ ■
[…] “Maybe every novelist wants to write poetry first, finds she can’t, and then tries the short story, which is the most demanding form after poetry.” —William Faulkner
■ ■ ■ ■ ■
Fictive Dream (“…very excited about short stories in the UK & Ireland!”) published “The Seven Songs” November 2017. This story tracks a superficial relationship between two men who are less than honest with one another and themselves. We like to receive the whole truth – we just don’t often provide it to others.
Digging Through the Fat published two LINKS to prose by Toews on Fiction on the Web: “Nothing to Lose” and “Heavy Artillery.” August 2017
CommuterLit published “Encountered on the Shore” October 2017, on their Rerun Friday feature.
Fiction on the Web published the short story “Fall From Grace” in December 2017. It’s a tale of Hartplatz misadventure and lessons learned.
“Written in a kind of ‘raconteurial high vernacular’,” at least, that’s how Mitchell’s editor, James McKnight, has termed it…
The story recounts the unexpected complexity of a summer day within the context of “sepia-toned nostalgia.”
Mitchell reads, “Away Game”, in December 2018, at the Pulp Literature fundraiser in Vancouver’s Gastown: https://youtu.be/qlxSxTxjWe0
The author is once again honoured to represent his personal slice of literary heaven (just north of the 50th parallel on Jessica Lake) in riverbabble. Issue 32 follows the theme “unfolding” and Mitchell’s surreal story of birds flapping and trapper mitts slapping is in it. “In the Dim Light Beyond the Fence” February 2018.
■ ■ ■ ■ ■
“I respond to character-driven material, regardless of its origin. I fall in love with the characters and generally respond to stories featuring ordinary people who succeed in overcoming extraordinary challenges.” —Producer Gale Anne Hurd
■ ■ ■ ■ ■
“City Lights” is in Fiction on the Web May 2018. An earlier version of the story appeared as “The Light Pool” on LingoBites* in 2017. Mitchell: “I often write sympathetic characters. Not here. I’ve scraped the bottom of the pit. They are a loathsome bunch.”
CommuterLit is presenting a reprint of “I am Otter” May 2018. The story is a runner-up in their call for stories for their flash fiction feature and Editor Nancy Kay Clark decided to run it in the week following. Is that a lake or a swamp?
“I am Otter” first appeared in The Machinery – A Literary Collection.
riverbabble, formerly based in the Bay Area of Northern California, published a reprint of the story, “Nothing to Lose”. This story of everyday heroism, of grinding it out, is one of the author’s most heartfelt as it takes a look at characters not unlike those from his own past. The story ran from July to December 2018 and was the author’s third contribution to Editor Leila Rae’s long-running literary journal.
Mitchell’s story, “Nothing to Lose” first appeared in “Fiction on the Web” and has appeared elsewhere on the web since. The story is also in print in “The Best of Fiction on the Web”, an anthology picked from over one thousand short stories that appeared from 1996-2017.
“Groota Pieter” has been accepted by River Poets Journal. The story is part of the Special Themed Edition, “The Immigrants,” http://bit.ly/GrootaPieterRPJ and is available online and in print. July 2018.
With baseball as a touchstone, “Groota Pieter” looks at immigrant experiences at opposite ends of a man’s lifetime. It all begins with a tall tale.
■ ■ ■ ■ ■
See Editor/Publisher (Lilly Press) Judith Lawrence’s entertaining interview here: https://sixquestionsfor.blogspot.com/2013/07/six-questions-for-judith-lawrence.html
■ ■ ■ ■ ■
It’s always exciting to hear prose and poetry read aloud. Mitch’s flash fiction “Wide Winter River” is read in a podcast by writer/curator/narrator Taylor Woodlands.
“Wide Winter River” is an excerpt taken from the story “The Margin of the River.”
Author Mitchell Toews’ flash fiction, “Sweet Caporal at Dawn” was chosen by editor Alanna Rusnak for inclusion in the Blank Spaces anthology, “Just Words, Volume 2”.
“Truly something more than a collection of artistic expression – a national parish of the arts.” —Hannibal Lecture
In 1950s Acapulco, a fateful accident alters the course of three fishermen’s lives in Mitchell Toews’ graceful epic. Fiction on the Web’s Charlie Fish chose, “The Bottom of the Sky,” as FotW’s Pick of the Month. October 2018.
“Extraordinarily fine writing that transports the reader into a particular world. Carlos’s destiny, Jose’s fate – karma – who knows?”
■ ■ ■ ■ ■
“There is an ecstasy that marks the summit of life, and beyond which life cannot rise. And such is the paradox of living, this ecstasy comes when one is most alive, and it comes as a complete forgetfulness that one is alive.” —Jack London
■ ■ ■ ■ ■
“Shade Tree Haven” appeared in Doorknobs & Bodypaint, a Pandemonium Press site, November 2018. This is a short, wrenching flash fiction; in the business of hurting.
Scarlet Leaf Review, a fiction-poetry-CNF lit review from Toronto has published, “The Narrowing”, a tense story about mental health and the enormous impact it can have on a family, even in relatively small expressions. http://bit.ly/SLRtheNarrowing
One of Mitchell’s two-fisted Oma & Opa tales, “The Fifty-Dollar Sewing Machine”, was re-run February 2019, on Literally Stories The author extends thanks to this great pub and nominatrix Leila Allison, who has kicked up her heels from Philo Bay to Alki Beach and knows how to handle a frisky keyboard.
The Hayward Fault Line winner for Doorknobs & Bodypaint 93 (February 2019, a triannual-themed flash contest) was Mitchell’s story, “Cave on a Cul-de-sac”.
“Died Rich”: The heartfelt tale of a neophyte basketball player was included in the May 2019 Issue #27 edition of the American literary magazine Fabula Argentea.
Editor Rick Taubold: “WHY WE CHOSE TO PUBLISH ‘Died Rich:’
The title alone is compelling, even if it totally misleads the reader about the story’s content. After the first couple of paragraphs, the reader is hooked on the character and anxiously wondering where the story is headed. One mark of a great story is that opening hook and promise, and with his opening author Mitchell Toews promises a good story and does not disappoint with his different take on how to handle a bully, even if we never find out… (spoiler removed)”
May 2019, Editor Sam Kandej had this to say about, “I am Otter,” reprinted in Short Tales – Flash Fiction Stories: “I found this story both comical and tragic… a beautiful, universal tale.”
Also in May 2019, Short Tales posted an updated reprint of “Away Game.”
■ ■ ■ ■ ■
“The short story must express itself clearly and instantly; a one-punch KO. The novel needs to prolong engagement, not just run the marathon, but invite the reader to run it too: give them reasons, mysteries.” —James Mcknight
■ ■ ■ ■ ■
An INTERVIEW with writer-blogger-novelist Allan Hudson on his blog, South Branch Scribbler ran May 2019. Topics include discussion of Mitchell’s story “Groota Pieter”; a favourite place to write; childhood memories; and an excerpt from the work-in-progress debut novel, “Mulholland and Hardbar,” a noir tale of Mennonite mayhem.
■ ■ ■ ■ ■
[…] “How dull it is to pause, to make an end,
To rust unburnished, not to shine in use!”[…] —”Ulysses” from Alfred, Lord Tennyson
■ ■ ■ ■ ■
“Concealment” was Editor J.M. Gulmire’slatest choice for Me First Magazine. June 2019
Mitchell’s story, “Peacemongers” was included in this excellent anthology of work from 2013-2019 issues of The MOON Magazine.
The simple love story, “The Toboggan Run” swooshed along in The MOON magazine‘s August Issue.
NOTE: I’m sad to say that The MOON magazine has closed its virtual online doors. The publication will continue to be available online for an undetermined period of time and the anthology—mentioned here a few stanzas ago, above—remains available for purchase on Amazon. My best to editor Leslee Goodman. She’s a good’un. —Mitchell Toews
The flash fiction, “Din and the Wash Bear” is a noir tale of seduction vs. loyalty, featuring a raccoon and two ravens. It appeared in Issue 95 of Doorknobs and Bodypaint, from Pandemonium Press, out Berkeley way.
Here’s another great site Mitch is excited to contribute to. His flash fiction, “Shade Tree Haven,” November 2019, first seen in Berkeley’s Doorknobs and Bodypaint (Pandemonium Press), ran in (mac)ro(mic), aNicolas Olson pub that features, “pieces that tell a (mac)ro story in a (mic)ro word count.”
More from Editor Olson: “Tell me a story that makes me forget I’m reading a story and I won’t care what genre it is or style it’s written in!”
About “Holthacka’s Quandary”: “We loved this soulful piece by @mitchell_toews – a deeply reflective, personal piece of storytelling that carries its socio-political savvy very lightly.”—Lunate Fiction
■ ■ ■ ■ ■
“Storytellers broaden our minds: engage, provoke, inspire, and ultimately, connect us.” —Robert Redford
■ ■ ■ ■ ■
December 2019 Mitchell’s sassy ode to his typical writing day appears on Canadian literary icon Rob McLennan’s my (small press) writing day.
January 2020 One of Toews’ recent short stories has been graciously accepted by a special Canadian lit mag from a rock near a windrous and wondrous squiggly-edged place. Yes, it’s true, he has a short story called “Fast and Steep” in Newfoundland’s Riddle Fence: A Journal of Arts & Culture.
January 2020 “The Business of Saving Souls” was chosen for a coveted RERUN in Literally Stories. Two questions from Editor Leila Allison accompanied the rerun, along with the author’s answers to same.
Q: Your stories seem, to me, situation driven. Yet the characters aren’t under-developed paper dolls who just serve the conceit. Please describe how you arrived at the particular storyline as well as the selection of the “cast.”.
Q: Do you deliberately contrast the social mores of Canadians with those of other nationalities in your work to get a better understanding of people in the overall sense, or is that something that just happens? (My mother is Canadian. She politely refuses “Americanization.” You can almost see the big holographic “C” on her forehead.)
February 2020 TINY SEED LITERARY JOURNAL placed “Encampment” in their eye-catching and soulful online platform.
■ ■ ■ ■ ■
“Creative nonfiction is not making something up but making the most of what you have.” —Gail Wilson Kenna
■ ■ ■ ■ ■
January 2020 “The Log Boom,” was selected for“A Fork in the Road,” 2019 Special Theme Edition of River Poets Journal. Based on the U.S. East Coast, River Poets Journal is edited by Judith Lawrence.
April 2020 A NEW version of Mitchell’s summer day waking dream, “Away Game” appeared in Quail Bell Magazine. Christine Sloan Stoddard is the founder of Brooklyn-based QBM.
“Away Game” first appeared in Pulp Literature Issue No. 20 Autumn 2018. In an event unrelated to the Quail Bell placement, a slightly condensed version of the original, Pulp Lit story was read live-online by the author during Pulp Lit’s Friday Author Reading Series, April 24.
May 6, 2020 “You did capture us all with the weirdness of it! But it was a fun read.” This commentary from the editorial bullpen at Literally Stories, who ran the 600-word schwienerie, “Regrets de Foie Gras.”
Mitchell has an “On Writing” essay in Blank Spaces magazine. This is cool and rare. A first in pedagogical history, in fact. “My Life as a Corkscrew” in Blank Spaces, June 2020.
“Piece of My Heart” is in Pulp Literature magazine Issue 27, Summer 2020 as winner of the Editors’ Choice in the 2020 Bumblebee Flash Fiction Contest. The author’s arthroscopically miraculous rotator cuff is sore from self-shoulder-patting, so he has paused long enough to say DANKE SEEA! to the high-flying folk that populate this fine Vancouver joint.
Canadian literary journal Agnes and True published “The Grittiness of Mango Chiffon” in August 2020.
About: Agnes and True is a Canadian online literary journal. As such, we are dedicated to providing a place for the work of Canadian writers, both established and emerging. While we accept submissions from outside Canada, we do place an emphasis on works of fiction that exhibit a Canadian sensibility. As our name suggests, Agnes and True celebrates the achievement of women. In addition, we are particularly interested in discovering and publishing the work of emerging older writers (both female and male).
Iranian writer, blogger, and interviewer Maysam Kandej’s conversation with Mitchell appears online at Maysam.id.ir/talks. August 2020
■ ■ ■ ■ ■
“The sentences in a book must quiver like the leaves in a forest, all dissimilar in their similarity.” —Gustave Flaubert
■ ■ ■ ■ ■
SNIP: […] I draw enormous satisfaction from live reading/open mics and find my true, inner self-confidence is most durably built through this uncomfortable but rewarding exercise. (When they are quiet — listening intently… when they laugh out loud… when they all take a big breath and shift in their seats, murmuring as the story ends.) […]
One of Mitchell’s earlier short stories, “The Margin of the River” has been reprinted in Blank Spaces September 2020.
“The Margin of the River” by Mitchell Toews moves like the tide through visceral daily experiences—some mundane, some quintessentially Canadian, some heart wrenching, each powerfully evocative.”
Reading: Mechanics’ Institute, San Francisco, August 2020 Mitch presented his short creative non-fiction, “Freight Trains and Jet Planes.”
His presentation at the 34:50 mark, here:
September 2020 A family saga short story, stretching from Manitoba to B.C.’s Fraser Valley over five decades will run online in the new, highly energetic international lit mag, WordCity Monthly. Featuring a stellar cast of contributing editors, WCM is helmed by the audacious Ms. Darcie Friesen Hossack.
“Sometimes true stories are the most fictional,” Editor DFH has observed and this is certainly the case for my September short story contribution, “Baloney, Hot Mustard and Metal Filings.” This short fiction climbs a metaphoric peak and as French surrealist René Daumal wrote, “Alpinism is the art of climbing mountains by confronting the greatest dangers with the greatest prudence.” I hope I have employed proper mountaineering skills in my story, set in Aldergrove, BC in the shadow of Mount Baker. —Mitchell Toews, on “Baloney, Hot Mustard and Metal Filings.”
FICTION on the WEB has been online since 1996, which makes it the oldest short story website on the Internet. Hundreds of stories have been enjoyed by hundreds of thousands of readers.
September 2020 Mitchell’s small-town intrigue, “Died Rich,” based in part on the life and times of an old friend and basketball teammate is in the Sept 25 edition of Fiction on the Web. The story first ran online in Fabula Argentea, May 2019.
Reading: September 2020 for the launch of Blank Spaces’ anthology, Just Voices Vol. 4. Mitch reads “My Life as a Corkscrew.”
The atmospheric short story, “The Sunshine Girl” has shown up on the side of the road in Cowboy Jamboree Magazine’s Fall Issue. CJM is a grit lit journal that features rural stories and rough stuff from all over.
The issue has a John Prine tribute theme and this story of pick-up trucks is, “an interesting little slice of life vignette,” according to Editor Adam Van Winkle. More here: 90-sec VIDEO
■ ■ ■ ■ ■
“I think part of the reason that ageism is allowed to flourish — and continues to flourish — is because there is nobody out there saying, ‘Old people are people too’ above all. Older people have a certain benefit in thinking about the world because we have had long lives. You should all be paying attention and not writing us off simply because our balance is poor or we don’t look so gorgeous as we maybe once did.” —Sharon Butala
■ ■ ■ ■ ■
December 2020 Mitch’s Christmas story from the banks of the Milk River in Ukraine, “Our German Relative,” is a part of WordCity Monthly‘s holiday edition. (Pro Tip: see the link for a cookie recipe!)
“Fast and Steep” is a story that was first read aloud at the 2019 “Prosetry” event at Jessica Lake in Manitoba, then appeared in the U.S. online journal MOON magazine (now defunct, sorry to say) as “The Toboggan Run,” and subsequent to that first ran in print in the great Canadian (Nfld) lit mag, Riddle Fence. The story appeared February 2021 as part of CommuterLit’ s “LOVE STORY” homage to the heart.
“Another outstanding story from Mitchell Toews, beautifully phrased and polished of tone. Just enough detail to see the scene without too much to clog and slow the narrative. Such a simple story but a richly woven tapestry in the telling. My vote for the best story of the past twelve months.” —from a CommuterLit reader Feb 15, 2021
One of Mitchell’s early short stories, “So Are They All” was featured as a rerun on the U.K. site, Literally Stories, February 2021.
“In the Dim Light Beyond the Fence,” a life passes through a baseball game. “Touch’em all.” The story is featured in the U.S. baseball-centric literary publication, The Twin Bill. July, 2021.
“Sweet Caporal,” is a short, vivid trip out onto a favourite fishing spot on Big Whiteshell Lake where the author spent many early mornings as a young boy. There he visits with a squabble of gulls and his neighbour Chester, and is visited by a two-pound pickerel and his father. In the inaugural issue of Robert Boucheron’s Rivanna Review, printed in Charlottesville, Virginia.
Please see the post “Detailed C-V” for a complete listing of published work.
CONTESTS, PRIZES, ANTHOLOGIES, etc.
“So Are They All” won second place in the Adult Fiction category of the 2016 “Write on the Lake” writing contest and appears in the Lake Winnipeg Writers’ Group’s semi-annual journal, Voices, Volume 16, No. 2. Mitchell presented excerpts from the story during the Voices launch at McNally Robinson Book Sellers in Winnipeg, on November 20, 2016.
“Fall from Grace” received an honourable mention (not published) in The Writers’ Workshop of Asheville Memoirs Contest, 2016. TWWOA has been active in the North Carolina literary scene since 1985. A young boy’s fears come to life – danger hides in plain sight on a quiet, small-town day.
Mitchell’s offbeat (!) story, “The Phage Match” was one of 16 finalists in Deathmatch 2017 – a writing contest for independent creative fiction in Canada, from the special people at Broken Pencil mega-zine.
The story “Nothing to Lose,” which is part memoir-part imagination about Mitchell’s father, Norman “Chuck” Toews, as a young man in Steinbach, MB (“Hartplatz”) was chosen for a print anthology in England. Writer/Editor/Scrabble Genius Charlie Fish of London has published the online literary zine, Fiction on the Web, since 1996. In that time he has published more than one thousand short stories by writers from around the world. Charlie is publishing a print collection of his favourite stories from FotW‘s 21-year history. The proceeds of this literary collection’s sale will go to a London hospital charity: Guy’s & St Thomas’ Foundation Trust.
■ ■ ■ ■ ■
“memory is a scar I love to touch…” —Patrick Friesen
■ ■ ■ ■ ■
Mitchell’s Canadiana flash fiction, “Sweet Caporal at Dawn,” earned a place in Blank Spaces second literary collection, “Just Words Volume 2.”
“Sweet Caporal at Dawn” has been nominated for The Pushcart Prize XLIII by Blank Spaces Magazine.
Mitchell’s story of immigration, social stigma, and longing, “Groota Pieter,” appears in the Pact Press anthology, “We Refugees”. The story first appeared in print and online in the Lilly Press publication “The Immigrants”, by The River Poets Journal in 2018.
The story, “Peacemongers” is included in this excellent anthology of work from 2013-2019 issues of The MOON Magazine. See this BLOG POST for details: https://mitchellaneous.com/2019/07/09/out-of-this-world/
“Piece of My Heart” was named by Pulp Literature magazine as the Editors’ Choice in the 2020 Bumblebee Flash Fiction Contest.
Mitch’s On Writing essay from Blank Spaces June 2020 will be included in the 2020 anthology, “Just Words Volume 4”. “My Life as a Corkscrew.”
“The Margin of the River” looks at how we treat all those over whom we hold sway. This story appeared in Blank Spaces Sept 2020. Editor Alanna Rusnak has nominated it for a Pushcart Prize, the author’s second nomination to this prestigious anthology of the year’s best from small presses.
Mitchell’s story “Fetch” was chosen as one of 11 finalists in the 2021 Short Prose Competition for Emerging Writers sponsored nationally by The Writers’ Union of Canada. “Fetch” was selected from over 800 entries.
“Fast and Steep” was included in the Summer 2021 Anthology of Short Fiction by Fenechty Press, London, UK.
“Sweet Caporal” has been nominated for The Pushcart Prize XXI by Rivanna Review, a quarterly literary journal published in Charlottesville, Va.
“The Rabid” was a finalist in the 2022 PULP Literature Bumblebee Flash Fiction Contest.
(March 16, 2022) “The Spring Kid” is a finalist in the 2022 J. F. Powers Prize for Short Fiction, making both the longlist and the shortlist. One out of over 400 submissions from around the world.
Two stories have been selected for the Guernica Editions’ This Will Only Take a Minute: 100 Canadian Flashes. “Winter Eve at Walker Creek Park” and “Shade Tree Haven” will appear in a collective anthology edited by Bruce Meyer and Michael Mirolla.
“The Mighty Hartski” was named to the 2022 longlist for the Humber Literary Review/Creative Nonfiction Collective Society (CNFC) Canada-wide CNF contest.
“Winter in the Sandilands” was named to the Longlist for the 2022 PULP Literature Hummingbird Flash Fiction Contest. Mitch’s story, “Luck!” was placed on the Shortlist in this same contest.
■ ■ ■ ■ ■
“Suffering can be horrifyingly beautiful, especially when paired with a shadow of hope.” —Miriam Toews
■ ■ ■ ■ ■