Skip to main content Skip to search Skip to search

Fiction Short Stories (single Author)

Rudy Wiebe: Collected Stories, 1955–2010

by (author) Rudy Wiebe

introduction by Thomas Wharton

The University of Alberta Press
Initial publish date
Nov 2010
Short Stories (single author)
  • Paperback / softback

    Publish Date
    Nov 2010
    List Price

Add it to your shelf

Where to buy it


For more than fifty years, Canadian literary legend Rudy Wiebe has been defining and refining prairie literature through his oeuvre of world-renowned novels, histories, essays, and short stories. He has introduced generations of readers far and wide to western Canadian Mennonite, aboriginal, and settler culture. Some say he wrote the book on historical prairie fiction. In fact, he's written quite a few. The University of Alberta Press is proud to publish the fifty short stories that Wiebe completed between 1955 and 2010, including four previously unpublished stories. This is a must-have book for aficionados of great world literature, fans of prairie fiction, and Wiebe's faithful readers.

About the authors

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.

Rudy Wiebe's profile page

Thomas Wharton was born in Grande Prairie, Alberta, an agriculture and oil city located near the BC border. His father, a utilities manager, was transferred to Jasper when Wharton was a teen. The years Wharton spent exploring the mountains and glaciers around Jasper have had a lasting impact on his literary output; references to the Rocky Mountains weave in and out of the books he has written, most notably Icefields (NeWest Press, 1995) and The Logogryph. A life-long love of maps, history, art, and poetry equally informs his work. His latest adult novel is Every Blade of Grass. He is also the author of a fantasy trilogy, The Perilous Realm for younger readers. The Shadow of Malabron, The Fathomless Fire, and The Tree Story are available from Doubleda Canada.

Thomas Wharton's profile page


  • Unknown, AAUP Book, Jacket & Journal Show - Book Design: Poetry and Literature
  • Unknown, Publishers Association of the West, Western Regional Book Design and Production Awards - Bronze Award, Short Stories/Poetry/Anthologies
  • Unknown, Independent Publisher Book Awards - Canada West, Best Regional Fiction (Gold)
  • Unknown, Alberta Book Awards - Book Design
  • Unknown, Alberta Book Awards - Howard O'Hagan Award for Short Story
  • Unknown, Alberta Book Awards - Trade Fiction Book Award

Editorial Reviews

"Rudy Wiebe's Collected Stories, 1955-2010 is a meticulously edited retrospective. The CanLit icon's many accolades, prizes and publications, as well as a helpful chronology, are listed at the end of this substantial book. His fifty stories use as many different voices and techniques, it seems, as there are distinct pieces.... Wiebe appears to have spent the next decade concentrating his short fiction to a single outcome, the production of a sprawling tapestry encompassing many historical accounts of the opening of the Canadian Northwest.... [contributing] to a remarkably varied and vibrant history, as if the author were writing catalogue copy for a grand and dynamic exhibition.... Literary scholars and biographers will welcome the convenience of such a complete resource as this book." Richard Cumyn, The Winnipeg Review, May 21, 2011 [Full review at 5-2010]

"Best known as one of the province's pioneering authors, Rudy Wiebe's new release has the celebrated writer revisiting more than 50 years of writing fiction, from the story he wrote as a high school student to pieces he wrote this year.... Wiebe was born in Saskatchewan, where he spent his early childhood in a remote Mennonite village raised by parents who had escaped Stalinist Russia. But Wiebe moved to Alberta with his family when he was 12 years old. So he is best known as a pioneering Alberta author, a chronicler of Prairie life who often explores religion, community, nature and native stories in his writing. He has twice won the Governor General's Award for literature (for The Temptations of Big Bear, A Discovery of Strangers) and, as a creative writing teacher at the University of Alberta, helped groom Alberta literary stars such as Aritha van Herk, Myrna Kostash and Tom Wharton, who pens the introduction for this collection. But while Wiebe has traditionally shied away from discussing his legacy as a bedrock for Alberta literature, revisiting half a century of his short stories makes a self-examination inevitable. "There are certainly threads," says Wiebe. "There's really two kinds of stories. One is the story of the aboriginal people of this land and their first encounter with whites. The other is the white pioneer immigrant stories.".... Wiebe describes the collected stories as having an 'unplanned but suitable symmetry.' Part of this may be because he decided early in his career that he wanted to provide a voice to those he grew up with and give the region a 'literary voice.'.... 'I was an omnivorous reader and I read an enormous amount,' says Wiebe. 'But this was one of the things that struck me, I never found any stories that reflected what I was living. So that intrigued me. As I got older, it struck me, "Why shouldn't there be any stories?" In effect, my entire lifetime has been writing about my own particular world.'" Eric Volmers, Calgary Herald, December 19, 2010 [Full article at:]

"Rudy Wiebe has been producing and publishing his short fiction for over a half-century. He is regularly included among the 'icons' of Canadian literature, with Alice Munro, Margaret Laurence, Hugh MacLennan and Hugh Garner. In his depictions of the Canadian west, he has been compared with Robert Kroetsch and W. O. Mitchell. Wiebe's Mennonite family fled the persecutions of Stalinist Russia. His writing has often dealt directly with that specifically European experience, but that background has also invested him with a unique perspective on the life and experience of aboriginal Canadian peoples. He grew up on the prairies of Saskatchewan and Alberta among others whose histories consisted of persecution, marginalization and forced migrations from an ancestral home. Thus throughout his work run the themes of displacement and wandering, of the mixture of fact and truthful fiction that forms the basis of any oral history, and of voice - not the defining stylistic 'voice' of the writer (though Wiebe's can be seen developing, maturing, crystallizing in these pages) but the sound and timbre and cadence of the storyteller's voice. The University of Alberta Press has here produced an enormously valuable resource. This is a volume of substance, in its content and as a physical object.... Organized thematically, rather than chronologically, this collection illuminates the development of an artist." Neil MacRae, The Rover, April 4, 2011 [Full article at]

"The stories, most of which are flavoured in western culture, have a variety of settings and are related through an interesting set of perspectives, including those that are set in pioneer times and reflect settler culture, those told from an Aboriginal point of view and those that reflect the culture of his Mennonite upbringing." Ennis Morris, Alberta Native News, April 2011

"[Wiebe's] storytelling gifts are evident throughout this remarkable collection of one and fifty tales, which offers a substantially complete and satisfying retrospective of his published short fiction.... While these fifty stories are arranged thematically, the textual apparatus also conveniently allows one to place them in bibliographical and chronological context to enrich subsequent readings.... And the bibliographical details of first publications comprise a story in itself. The collection concludes fittingly with one of the author's first short stories, his high school prize-winner appropriately entitled 'Predestination'..." Neil Querengesser, Canadian Literature, March 2012 [Full review at]

"As part of the last generation of immigrant homesteaders in the Prairies, Wiebe draws on his experiences growing up Mennonite in the tiny Saskatchewan hamlet of Speedwell to create his acclaimed novels and short stories. He also reaches back into the nation's history to write about the indigenous people who thrived on the Prairies well before European settlers ever saw the land, and gives them a voice in several of his works.... The sense of place, both physical and philosophical, figures centrally in his work. Wiebe's beautiful language is spare, but equally lyrical and evocative..." Christina Toth, The Abbotsford/Mission Times [Full article at].

"Wiebe has spent a lifetime searching for, imagining, and fitting together the bits and pieces needed to complete a story. He is, besides a writer, also a historian and a meticulous researcher, and all three are clearly at work shaping the narratives... Story, we are reminded, is organic, growing and gaining substance, changing over time, but held together by the author's artistic imagination, skill, and distinctive voice. The appendix offers scholars a convenient chronology and publication history of the stories... With its handsome cover--a striking image of a bird skull on a post--this is not a book to be left on a shelf, but is best displayed on a table where it can be tasted and savored in small or large portions." Sarah Klassen, The Mennonite Quarterly Review, January 2012

"Like the image of a plow opening the Prairie soil and turning up fragments of blue-willow china that repeats in several of his stories, Wiebe's craft opens up the surface of experience to reveal fragments of meaning and beauty. We are fortunate to be able to follow his plow." Tom Sandborn, The Globe and Mail.

"A playful meditation on place, stillness, loss, and the Self. An experimental hunt for "high places" and "erratics." With a forceful voice, Wiebe portrays the wonder of discovering new histories we've been part of all along." "The vast sweep of this story's telling puts it in a category all its own. Through the first peoples of the prairies, Rudy Wiebe ties the story of our part of the world to that of the rest of the world and, through the meteorite Old Man Buffalo, to the greater universe. With his evocation of a distant then more recent past, the glimpse of the riverless, creatureless future that could be ours and the weaving throughout of language and contrasting personal histories, Rudy Wiebe has captured the beyond." Winner of the Howard O'Hagan Award for Short Story, 2011 Alberta Literary Award jury comment

"[Rudy Wiebe: Collected Stories, 1955-2010] is marked by a strong, appropriate cover and a well-resolved, thoughtfully designed interior-both work together well to provide an appealing home for the text. The designer made good use of subtle and effective typographic contrasts throughout. Chapter openers are nicely composed and balanced; folios and running heads are carefully sized and placed; section-dividing pages are elegant. The subtle graphic elements used add visual interest without detracting from the overall harmony of the layout. The typefaces selected are an appropriate match for the subject matter, and the text is well-composed, carefully set, and very readable." Winner of Book Design Award, 2011 Alberta Book Publishing Awards Jury

"In this collection, the reader is offered a tapestry of Rudy Wiebe's writing over the past half century.... This collection reveals the strength of Wiebe's fiction in the way it elicits empathy in the reader and invites discovery of layers of truth through voice and point of view, as well as an almost religious, certainly spiritual, way of looking at nature and her effects. It provides a profile of Wiebe's work from the beginning of his writing career to the present time, and will prove invaluable for students of his work. Its illustrations of Old Man Buffalo and First Nation art are a treasure to hold and to look at." Gillian Harding-Russell, Prairie Fire Review of Books, Vol. 11, No. 4.

"The jury felt that the author's short fiction is deeply bound within the Alberta landscape, its history, and in the mentality of its peoples. An innovator with his focus on telling Alberta stories, by example and encouragement, [Rudy Wiebe] has midwived natural-born Alberta storytelling to new generations of writers. His fiction plays out the larger events of history and the smaller events of personality in a dynamic of colliding cultural forces. He reminds us that the stories a family or a community tells itself are the very stories that create identity. This keystone collection of this author's short stories will stand for years to come." Winner of Trade Fiction Award, 2011 Alberta Book Publishing Awards Jury Comments.

"[Wiebe's] storytelling gifts are evident through this remarkable collection of one and fifty tales, which offers a substantially complete and satisfying retrospective of his published short fiction... While these fifty stories are arranged thematically, the textual apparatus also conveniently allows one to place them in bibliographical and chronological context to enrich subsequent readings." Neil Querengesser, Canadian Literatures 214, Autumn 2012

"Wiebe is one of Canada's powerful myth makers and storytellers of the past half-century." Michael Bryson, Quill & Quire, September 2010

"This authoritative edition contains all fifty of Canadian literary icon Wiebe's short stories. Rudy Wiebe is a must-have book for aficionados of great world literature, fans of prairie fiction, and Wiebe's faithful readers."

Other titles by Rudy Wiebe

Other titles by Thomas Wharton

Related lists