Mennonite/s Writing Schedule

Thursday, March 29-Sunday, April 1

Events open to the public are indicated below.


4-6 p.m. Registration Table. University Commons, 2nd floor.

6-7:30 p.m. Public Event: Conference Welcome and reading by Todd Davis, Jeff Gundy, Julia Spicher Kasdorf, and Keith Ratzlaff, followed by book signing. University Commons.

8 p.m. *Public Event: Orchestra and Choral Concert featuring “That Sturdy Vine.” Jean Janzen/Alice Parker. *Lehman Auditorium.

8:15 p.m. Memoir Panel: Telling the Story in Time. Martin Chapel.
• East of Liberal—Raylene Hinz-Penner (Washburn University)
• 1961:Memoir in the style of Boswell—Levi Miller (Scottdale, Pennsylvania)
• Rosy Cheeks: A Sneak Preview—Shirley Showalter (Brooklyn, New York)

9:30 p.m. Late Night: Open Microphone. Highlighting contributors to Tongue Screws and Testimonies, open for anything. Come and read! Common Grounds.


8 a.m. – 5 p.m. Registration (8-10 a.m.) and information table. University Commons, 2nd floor.

8 a.m.-4 p.m. Bookstore Open

8:15 –9:45 a.m. Concurrent Sessions I

Seminary 203: Visual and Popular Culture
• Keturah’s Cards and Lemons: Food Writing in the Mennonite Literary Context—Katie Boyts (Santa Fe, New Mexico)
• Amish Abstractions: Reading the making, meaning, and use of Amish quilts within the Amish cultural context against the circulation of Amish quilts within mainstream American culture —Marilyn Lehman (Austin, Texas)
• “I don’t know how to describe the feeling of going to a movie”: constructing the moviegoer in John Rempel’s Arena (1967-71) and Miriam Toews’s Irma Voth (2011)—Paul Tiessen (Wilfrid Laurier University)
• Thrill of the Chaste: Tracing the Ancestry of the Amish Romance Novel—Valerie Weaver-Zercher (Mechanicsburg, Pennsylvania)

Mainstage: Cascadia Publishing House reading –Michael King (Eastern Mennonite Seminary) with Cascadia authors Shirley Kurtz, Chris Longenecker, Lee Snyder, Cheryl Denise, Ann Hostetler, Becca J.R. Lachman, Esther Stenson.

Martin Chapel: “Vows of Renunciation” Reflections on Writing Contemporary Hymn Lyrics as a Species of Poetry. Come prepared to write and sing.—David Wright (University of Illinois Urbana-Champaign) with Jim Clemens (Harrisonburg, Virginia)

Campus Center 105: Fiction works-in-progress
• Genuine Church Music—Jeremy Nafziger (Weyers Cave, Virginia)
• “People Who Understand”—Kristen Mathies (Kitchener, Ontario)
• Everyday Mercies—Evie Yoder Miller (Milton, Wisconsin)
• Ghoummaida: Hide and Seek—Jennifer Sears (City University of New York)

9 a.m. MennoMedia tour. (See conference program for more details.)

10-10:30 a.m. Public Event: EMU Chapel. Jean Janzen reading. Lehman Auditorium.

10:45 a.m.-12:15 p.m. Theopoetics Panel with Peter Dula (EMU), Jeff Gundy (Bluffton University), and Jean Janzen (Fresno, California), and Scott Holland (Bethany Theological Seminary). Lehman Auditorium.

12:15-1:45 p.m. Lunch. EMU Dining Hall, Royals Den, Common Grounds, or local restaurants.

Lunch discussion: The Erosion of Mennonite Community: Should It Matter to Writers and Other Free-Thinkers? Dining Hall: North Dining room. Limited seating.—Bonnie Lofton (EMU)

1:45-3 p.m. State of the Art Address— Ann Hostetler (Goshen College) and Hildi Froese Tiessen (Conrad Grebel University College). Mainstage Theater.

3-3:45 p.m. Break. Snack and book-signing outside Bookstore. Authors encouraged to attend and sign their books.

3:45-5 p.m. Short Story Plenary – Dora Dueck and Rudy Wiebe. Book signing. Lehman Auditorium.

5 -7 p.m. Dinner Break. EMU Dining Hall, Royals Den, local restaurants.

7-8:15 p.m. Public Event: Vern Thiessen performs “Back to Berlin.” Q & A with Hildi Froese Tiessen (Conrad Grebel University College). Book signing to follow. Lehman Auditorium.

8:30 p.m. Reception for Conference Participants. Campus Center.

9 p.m. Strangers and Exiles— Katherine Arnoldi and Sofia Samatar read works of fiction. Martin Chapel.

10 p.m. Late night: Shenandoah Valley Inkslingers read and discuss writing groups. Common Grounds.

(Common Grounds open until 1 a.m.)


7:30-8:30 a.m. Snack/Continental Breakfast available in University Commons outside Bookstore.

8-10:30 a.m. Information table open. University Commons, 2nd floor.

8:45-10:15 a.m. Concurrent Sessions II

Mainstage Theater: Publishing Panel
Amy Gingerich of Herald Press/MennoMedia, Merle and Phyllis Pellman Good of Good Books, and Ann Hostetler of The Journal of the Center for Mennonite Writing.

Martin Chapel: Poetry Reading I
Cheryl Denise (Philippi, West Virginia), Anita Hooley Yoder (Cleveland Heights, Ohio), Esther Stenson (James Madison University)

Seminary 123: Critical Approaches
• Searching for Intruders revisited—Ervin Beck (Goshen College)
• Miriam Toews’s Summer of My Amazing Luck as Narrative Ethics—Daniel Shank Cruz
• Rudy Wiebe’s Collected Stories as Artifact—John Fisher (Goshen College)
• The Russländer and Cultural Identity: Reading for the Individual in Communal Narratives of Trauma—Robert Zacharias (University of Toronto)

Campus Center 105: Pedagogy and Poetics
• A Visual Approach to Image and Syntactical Patterns in Literature—Anna Maria Johnson (Cootes Store, Virginia)
• Discordant Voices?: Art, Science and Aesthetics in Research—Maria Lahman (University of Northern Colorado)
• Occupy Poetry Workshop: A Call to Creative Nonviolence as Pedagogy —Becca J.R. Lachman (Ohio University)
• The Minimalist Realist Lyric: On William Stafford’s “Allegiances”—Jesse Nathan (San Francisco Bay Area)

10:30-noon. Public Event: “Ethics, Aesthetics and the Lyric”—Gregory Orr. Lehman Auditorium.

Noon-1:30 p.m. Lunch. Cafeteria and local restaurants

Teaching Mennonite Literature Round Table. Dining Hall: North Dining Room. Limited Seating. –Vi Dutcher (EMU) and Ann Hostetler (Goshen College)

1:30-3 p.m. Concurrent Sessions III

Lehman Auditorium: Public Event: Gregory Orr reading

Lee Eshleman Studio Theater (Across the hall from Mainstage): The Work of Robert Hostetter
• Robert Hostetter and the Theopoetics of Postmodern Drama—Lauren Friesen (University of Michigan)
PASSION: Scenes adapted from dialogues with peacemakers in Israel-Palestine, a new play by Robert Hostetter (North Park University). A staged reading by Robert Hostetter, Lauren Friesen, Heidi Winters Vogel (EMU), David Vogel (EMU), and Pam Mandigo (Harrisonburg, Virginia). More details in performance program.

Martin Chapel: Writing Against the Grain
• If I am a Mennonite Writer—David Elias (Winnipeg)
• Cain’s Legacy—Eileen Kinch (Lancaster County, Pennsylvania)
• Grinding Up Loved Ones and the Mennonite Writer—Jessica Penner (Harrisonburg, Virginia)

Campus Center 105: Writers and History
• The Measure of a Life: Diaries of a Mennonite Farm Wife 1920-2000—Mary Alice Hostetter (Charlottesville, Virginia)
• History of the Morrison Mennonite Church—Dolores Nice-Siegenthaler (San Francisco, California)
• When “Truth” Becomes Fiction—Evie Yoder Miller (Milton, Wisconsin).

3:00-3:30 Break. Refreshments outside Bookstore.

3:00-5:30 Bookstore open.

3:15 Excursion: Singers Glen Tour and Harmonia Sacra Sing—Jeremy Nafziger (Weyers Cave, Virginia) Meet at the front entrance of the University Commons to arrange car-pool.

3:30-5 p.m. — Concurrent Sessions IV

University Commons 176 (classroom between the Main Stage Theater and Common Grounds): Slam Poetry Workshop for students—Ivaco Clarke (Richmond, Virginia)

Seminary 123: Inscribing Marginal Identities
• “Who Can Play the ‘Other’?”—Patricia Lehman McFarlane (Goshen College)
• “Astripping off my dress”: Holiness, Celibacy, and Plain Attire in Rebecca Cox Jackson’s Visionary Writings—Jennifer McFarlane-Harris (Messiah College)
• An Inescapable Embrace: Gender and Faith Identity in Julia Spicher Kasdorf’s Sleeping Preacher—Anita Hooley Yoder (Cleveland Heights, Ohio)

Campus Center 105: Life Writing and Healing
• Silence, Memories and Elegies—A Reading from An Inheritance of Words, Unspoken—Connie Braun (Trinity Western University)
• Mustard Seed—Jessica Penner (Harrisonburg, Virginia)
• To Buy a Field: Cashing in Scattered Assets to Find the One Thing Needful —Barbara Shisler (Souderton, Pennsylvania)

Martin Chapel: Poetry Reading II
Ann Hostetler (Goshen College), Becca J.R. Lachman (Ohio University), Jesse Nathan (San Francisco Bay Area, California), David Wright (University of Illinois Urbana-Champaign)

5:30-7 p.m. Banquet – Tributes to Ervin Beck, Omar Eby, Alvin Reimer, Elaine Sommers Rich, Katie Funk Wiebe. University Commons

7:30 p.m. Synthesis/Response panel. Marti Eads (Eastern Mennonite University). Ervin Beck (Goshen College), Jesse Nathan (San Francisco Bay Area), Shirley Showalter (Brooklyn, New York), Anita Hooley Yoder (Cleveland Heights, Ohio), Robert Zacharias (University of Toronto)

9 p.m. Late Night Events
• Student open microphone with special appearance by Ivaco Clarke (Richmond, Virginia). Sponsored by EMU Student Government Association. Refreshments. Common Grounds.
• Paraguay Primeval. American Premiere/CD release with Carol Ann Weaver (Conrad Grebel University College) with Rebecca Campbell (Toronto). Texts by Rudy Wiebe, Dora Dueck, and others. Martin Chapel.


9 a.m. – 10:30 Public Event: Words and Worship Celebration
“The Seven Words of Silence”– Rudy Wiebe; music with Ken J. Nafziger. Lehman Auditorium.