Culture: Mennonite Writing
The writing community in Winnipeg has been profoundly shaped by Mennonite writers such as Di Brandt, David Bergen, Miriam Toews, Sarah Klassen and (the interviewee in this video) Patrick Friesen. Many of the city’s best known novelists and poets are of a Mennonite background and several have been involved in creating and maintaining writing communities within Manitoba. In this video, Friesen speaks to why this may be the case and why the Mennonite traditions of storytelling, organization, and spirituality actually help foster great writers.
Patrick Friesen, a resident of Winnipeg for 30 years and Vancouver for a dozen years, now lives in Brentwood Bay, Vancouver Island. He is the author of several books of poetry, most recently A Dark Boat (2012), a translator, and has written several stage and radio plays. Friesen has also collaborated with choreographers, dancers, musicians and composers. His book, Blasphemer’s Wheel, was awarded Manitoba Book of the Year Prize in 1996; A Broken Bowl, was a finalist for the 1997 Governor-General’s Award; and Patrick was awarded the ReLit Award for Poetry in 2012 for jumping in the asylum.
Culture in the Middle of Nowhere (3:24)
John K. Samson describes the "lost culture" of Iceland and Winnipeg.
Culture, Language, and Community (3:57)
Maurice Mierau speaks about why Mennonite writers are drawn to community and writing groups.
See all Poets on Record videos with Patrick Friesen