Women Talking (Toews) - Author Bio

Author Bio
Where—Steinbach, Manitoba, Canada
Education—B.A., University of Manitoba; B,J., University of King's College, Halifa
Awards—Governor General's Award for Fiction (more below)
Currently—lives in Toronto, Ontario

Miriam Toews ("tay-vz") OM is a prize-winning Canadian writer of novels and one non-fiction. She grew up in Steinbach, Manitoba, the second daughter of Mennonite parents, both part of the Kleine Gemeinde.

Through her father, Melvin C. Toews, she is a direct descendant of one of Steinbach's first settlers, Klaas R. Reimer (1837-1906), who arrived in Manitoba in 1874 from Ukraine. Her mother, Elvira Loewen, is a daughter of the late C.T. Loewen, a respected entrepreneur who founded a lumber business that would become Loewen Windows.

As a teenager, Toews rode horses and took part in provincial dressage and barrel-racing competitions. She left Steinbach at eighteen, living in Montreal and London before settling in Winnipeg. She has a B.A. in Film Studies from the University of Manitoba, and a Bachelor of Journalism from the University of King's College, Halifax.

Life and work
Toews wrote her first novel, Summer of My Amazing Luck in 1996 while working as a freelance journalist. The novel, which explores the evolving friendship of two single mothers in a Winnipeg public housing complex, evolved from a documentary Toews was preparing for CBC Radio. The novel was shortlisted for the Stephen Leacock Memorial Medal for Humour, and the McNally Robinson Book of the Year Award. Toews won the latter prize with her second novel, A Boy of Good Breeding, released in 1998.

That same year, 1998, Toews' father, an elementary school teacher, committed suicide. Though he suffered from bipolar disorder much of his life, he was a beloved figure in the community and lobbied to establish Steinbach's first public library. After his death, the library opened the Melvin C. Toews Reading Garden in his honor.

Her father's death inspired Toews to write a memoir, using his narrative voice: Swing Low: A Life. The book, released in 2000, was greeted as an instant classic in the modern literature on mental illness; it won the Alexander Kennedy Isbister Award for Non-Fiction and the McNally Robinson Book of the Year Award.

In 2010, almost 12 years to the day her father died, Toews' older sister and only sibling, Marjorie, also died by suicide.

In addition to her books, Toews has written for CBC's WireTap, Canadian Geographic, Geist, The Guardian, The New York Times Magazine, Intelligent Life, and Saturday Night. She is the author of The X Letters, a series of personal dispatches addressed to the father of her son, which were featured on This American Life in an episode about missing parents.

All told, Toews has received some 20 awards and honors over the years.

1996 - Summer of My Amazing Luck
1998 - A Boy of Good Breeding
2000 - Swing Low: A Life (non-fiction)
2004 - A Complicated Kindness
2008 - The Flying Troutmans
2011 - Irma Voth
2014 - All My Puny Sorrows
2018 - Women Talking
(Author bio adapted from Wikipedia. Retrieved 4/17/2019.)

Site by BOOM Boom Supercreative

LitLovers © 2020