Half in the Sun: Anthology of Mennonite Writing

Half in the Sun: Anthology of Mennonite Writing

Half in the Sun

Anthology of Mennonite Writing

Edited by Elsie K. Neufeld


  • Autumn 2006
  • ISBN 978-1-55380-038-5 (1-55380-038-9)
  • 6″ x 9″ Trade Paperback, 250 pages
  • Fiction & Poetry Anthology

In recent years Mennonites have become one of the most visible ethnic literary communities in Canada. With the publication of Half in the Sun, BC writers of Mennonite heritage claim their place in this community.

The authors represented in Half in the Sun are West Coast writers who share a history rooted in a dark region littered with stories of repeated migration, Soviet terror, displacement and resettlement. Some bear witness to their ancestors’ struggles as marked people and as refugees assimilating into Canadian culture. Others have woven together texts that bring to light the human experiences of old and new home, community, family, love, faith, rebellion, and explorations of a very large world — often with gusto, humour and irony.

Several factors contribute to the broad range of this first-of-its-kind anthology: its multi-genre nature; the intentional mix of new, recently emerging, established and prize-winning writers; and the fact that a number of the authors are Prairie transplants whose work continues to be influenced by ties to that region’s geography, politics and local cultures. Readers will recognize the universality of these experiences. This anthology ends the collective invisibility of British Columbia’s Mennonite writers in a very decisive way.

“To create an anthology is to build an ark out of words: Half in the Sun is both a home for memory and a means of navigating risky waters. The impress of Mennonite history and culture is strong in these poems and stories, and yet there is abundant room, on this ark, for all of us in the abiding community of readers.”
— Janice Kulyk Keefer, author of Honey and Ashes: A Family Story

“The broad range of affiliations, styles and intertexts evoked by this representation of west coast Canadian ‘Mennonite’ writers suggest that the Mennonite movement, once denoting a separatist religious group, is dispersing rapidly in all directions. Half in the Sun is elegiac in this sense, lamenting the slipping away of a stubbornly traditionalist culture, while defiantly trumpeting its swan song. Ah, but here it is, still alive, exuberantly regionalist, self-questioning, ‘between paradise and lamentations,’ ‘light-ridden,’ ‘sting and sweet.'”
— Di Brandy, award-winning poet

“They just keep appearing. Mennonite writers. Inscribing new exterior and interior landscapes. Until now the Mennonite writers of Canada have emerged mostly from the prairies. What a delight to hear these distinctive voices from the far west, marking in oh-so-compelling ways the broadening sensibility of what it means to be Mennonite in Canada today!”
— Hildi Froese Tiessen, editor of Lucy Maude Montgomery’s Letters



Half in the Sun includes works which will capture the attention of people already familiar with Mennonite culture, or those who would like to learn more about a rich cultural tradition.”
Canadian Literature

“This collection of fiction, poetry, and non-fiction is highly recommended as immigration literature, for etho-cultural studies, and the general reader.”
Prairie Fire

“compelling reading, grasping the reader on intellectual and lyrical levels.”
Mennonite Quarterly Review

“a must-have for lovers of Canadian literature.”
Abbotsford Mission Times