Rudy Wiebe has written award-winning fiction for decades. He is recognized as one of Canada's finest literary treasures. Twice he has received Canada's most prestigious prize for fiction writing: The Governor-General's Award (equivalent to the Pulitzer Prize for fiction).
Now comes new recognition for Wiebe's nonfiction writing. His recently released childhood memoir, Of This Earth: A Mennonite Boyhood in the Boreal Forest, has won the Charles Taylor Prize for Literary Nonfiction (considered to be the country's most prestigious literary nonfiction prize).
The book holds Rudy's memoirs of growing up through age 12. His immigrant family cut a farm out of stony bushland in remote Saskatchewan. They hand-dug their well, climbed a ladder to their beds under the rafters, farmed with horses, and traveled by sleigh on the frontier.
Stories and singing and food from their native Ukraine and Poland held them and filled their bodies and souls.
Of This Earth is written with "spare and eloquent prose," say the jurors who chose the book for the Charles Taylor Prize.
Wiebe "conveys the riches of a hardscrabble inheritance; a love of words, reading and music, a sustaining yet unsentimental faith, and a bond with the natural world, all of which have provided a compass for his writing life."
One of the Taylor-Prize jurors reflected, "Rudy's book haunts you; it stays with you."
About the author
Rudy Wiebe was born near Fairholme, Saskatchewan in 1934. From the University of Alberta, he received a B.A. 1956 and a M.A. in Creative Writing in 1960. He studied under a Rotary International Fellowship at the University of Tuebingen in West Germany, and in 1962 he received a Bachelor of Theology degree from the Mennonite Brethren Bible College. In 1962ᆧ63 he was editor of the Mennonite Brethren Herald, a position which he resigned because of the controversy over his first novel,Peace Shall Destroy Many. From 1967 to 1992 he was Professor of Creative Writing and English at the University of Alberta. Wiebe has published twenty-five books, including nine novels and the non-fiction best-sellerStolen Life: The Journey of a Cree Woman, co-authored with Yvonne Johnson. He was awarded the Governor General’s Award for fiction forThe Temptations Of Big Bear in 1973, and again in 1994 forA Discovery Of Strangers. He is also the winner of the Lorne Pierce Gold Metal of the Royal Society of Canada for his contribution to Canadian literature ླ87). Wiebe has served as chairman of both the Writer’s Guild of Alberta and the Writers’ Union of Canada. He now lives in Edmonton, Alberta.