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This Hidden Thing By Dora Dueck Wins 2011 McNally Robinson Book of the Year Award

CMU Press is pleased to announce that Dora Dueck’s novel This Hidden Thing has been named the McNally Robinson Book of the Year, as announced at the Manitoba Book Awards held April 17, 2011 at the Franco-Manitoban Cultural Centre in St. Boniface.

This Hidden Thing is the first novel to be published by CMU Press, which is an academic publishing initiative of Canadian Mennonite University.

“If you are surprised, so am I,” said Dueck in her acceptance speech. “I’m happy to be in the company of these wonderful writers.” Dueck, who lives in Winnipeg, also paid tribute to local booksellers McNally Robinson for their dynamic support of Winnipeg’s literary community.

This Hidden Thing is a “humane and fully satisfying depiction of times, places [and] communities,” according to jurors Joan Barfoot, Trevor Cole , and Richard Lebrun. Elsewhere, the jury for the Margaret Laurence Award for Fiction, for which This Hidden Thing was shortlisted, describes Dueck’s novel as “a testament to the pleasure of pure storytelling.”

Dueck’s novel follows almost the entirety of the life of Maria Klassen, a young Mennonite woman who immigrates to Manitoba in the 1920s. Maria works for a prosperous family while navigating the intricate experience of life in a new country. The story examines the powerful themes of silence and hiddenness within the Mennonite community, as well as offering realistic portrayals of passion, poverty, war, and family – the everyday experiences of an ordinary yet remarkable woman.

The Manitoba Book Awards are organized annually by the Manitoba Writers’ Guild (MWG) and the Association of Manitoba Book Publishers (AMBP). This Hidden Thing was nominated for the Book of the Year Award alongside Curiosity by Joan Thomas, A Cycle of the Moon by Uma Parameswaran, Out of Grief Singing: A Memoir of Motherhood and Loss by Charlene Diehl, and Walking to Mojácar by Di Brandt. The award is sponsored by McNally Robinson Booksellers. It is awarded each year to the author of the English-language book by a Manitoba author that is judged the best-written by a jury comprised of writers, scholars, publishers, and journalists. The prize carries with it a cash value of $5,000.

To order, visit or contact any of the following:

CMU Bookstore
Tel. 204.487.3300; toll free 1.877.231.4570

Email: cmubookstore@cmu.ca
Visit:  http://www.cmu.ca/cmupress for information, including book club questions

Mennonite Publishing Network

Visit: www.mpn.net

McNally Robinson

Tel. 204.475.0483
1120 Grant Avenue, Winnipeg, MB

For CMU PRESS information, contact:
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204.487.3300
Canadian Mennonite University
500 Shaftesbury Blvd.
Winnipeg, MB   R3P 2N2

For CMU information, contact:
nkampen@cmu.ca

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General News News Releases

CMU Press Author Dora Dueck Nominated for Two Manitoba Book Awards

CMU Press is pleased to announce that Dora Dueck’s novel, This Hidden Thing, has been nominated for two Manitoba Book Awards: the McNally Robinson Book of the Year award and the Margaret Laurence Award for Fiction. Published in 2010 as Dueck’s second novel, This Hidden Thing explores the story of Maria, a Russian Mennonite woman adjusting to life in Winnipeg from the 1920s up to the 1970s.

Sue Sorensen of CMU Press and the CMU Department of English served as the editor for Dueck’s novel, and she had this to say about the news: “I wish I could say I’m surprised by the news of Dora’s nominations. But I knew as soon as I started reading the manuscript for This Hidden Thing that this was a really fine story and that readers would love it. It’s obvious to me that she is a strong contender for these awards.”

Beginning in 1988, the Manitoba Book Awards mark the achievements of Manitoba writers and book publishers in Manitoba. Judging each award is a panel of three professionals in the writing and publishing industry. This year, there are thirteen different award categories offered.

“It’s an honour to be on a shortlist with these other writers,” Dora Dueck comments, “and also wonderful to be associated with both these awards. McNally’s Robinson’s is not just a bookstore but a place that’s so amazingly hospitable to both writers and readers. And, back when writing fiction myself was still just a dream, I was reading and being inspired by Margaret Laurence’s strong female characters, her passion, her use of Manitoba settings. What a pathfinder she was for so many of us!”
…2
The McNally Robinson Book of the Year award is sponsored by McNally Robinson Booksellers and is awarded to a Manitoba author of an adult book written in English that is judged the best written. The prize for this award is $5,000.

The Margaret Laurence Award for Fiction, sponsored by the Manitoba Department of Culture, Heritage, Tourism and Sport, is presented to a Manitoba writer whose book is published in 2010, written in English, and determined the best in adult fiction. The winning author will receive a cash prize of $3,500.

On discussing her inspiration for This Hidden Thing, Dueck says: “I was interested in the idea of secrets—their power both positively and negatively. Somehow this character—Maria—came to me, and her life became an exploration of that theme.

“I think secrets in all their complexity, the quest for integrity between private and public, failure and grace, are ultimately simply aspects of the human story. So for me, being on these shortlists represents an affirmation of that, and a hope that the book continues to find its readers also beyond the Mennonite community.”

The award recipients will be announced on Sunday, April 17, 2011 at the Manitoba Book Awards gala, which is organized by the Manitoba Writers’ Guild.

CMU PRESS is an academic publisher of scholarly, reference, and general interest books at Canadian Mennonite University. Books from CMU Press address and inform interests and issues vital to the university, its constituency, and society. Areas of specialization include Mennonite studies and works that are church-oriented or theologically engaged.

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Alumni interviews Audio Sunday@CMU Radio

Dora Dueck – CMU Press Published Writer

Dora Dueck
CMU Alumnus
CMU Press-published writer
Interview Date: September 19, 2010

In this tw0-part interview, Dora Dueck speaks David Balzer – host of Sunday@CMU Radio, about  her writing and the books and stories that have shaped her.

Part 1

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Part 2

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For more information, visit the CMU Press Homepage

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CMU Press Author Dora Dueck To Give Reading In Steinbach

For release July 23, 2010

Winnipeg author Dora Dueck will be reading and signing her second novel, This Hidden Thing, in Lichtenau Church at the Mennonite Heritage Village on Monday, August 2, at 1:30 pm.

This Hidden Thing tells the story of Maria Klassen, a young Mennonite woman who has recently emigrated from Russia. She soon finds work as domestic for a wealthy English family in Winnipeg, while her family settles in the nearby town of Winkler. Later in the novel, we meet Maria in adulthood – devout, industrious, and dedicated to her family. Yet she is reserved and intensely private. This is the story of a life that contained passion and suffering that no one knew.

Dora Dueck is the co-editor of Northern Lights: An Anthology of Contemporary Christian Writing in Canada. Her stories have been featured on CBC Radio, and in journals such as Room, Prairie Fire, Rhubarb, and Journal of Mennonite Studies.

For more information about This Hidden Thing, visit www.cmu.ca/cmupress.

CMU PRESS is an academic publisher of scholarly, reference, and general interest books at Canadian Mennonite University. Books from CMU Press address and inform interests and issues vital to the university, its constituency, and society. Areas of specialization include Mennonite studies, and works that are church-oriented or theologically engaged.

Canadian Mennonite University (CMU) is a Christian university in the Anabaptist tradition, offering undergraduate degrees in arts and science, business and organizational administration, communications and media, peace and conflict resolution studies, music and music therapy, theology, and church ministries, as well as graduate degrees in Theological Studies and Christian ministry. Located in Winnipeg, Manitoba, CMU is a member of the Association of Universities and Colleges of Canada (AUCC). Visit www.cmu.ca

For CMU PRESS information, contact:
Jonathan Dyck , CMU PRESS Project Manager
cmupress@cmu.ca
204.487.3300.

For CMU information, contact:
Nadine Kampen, CMU Communications & Marketing Director
nkampen@cmu.ca
Tel. 204.487.3300 Ext. 621

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General News News Releases

CMU Press Author Dora Dueck To Give Reading In Winkler

Novel This Hidden Thing offers one woman’s compelling, ordinary, and surprising life
For release June 24, 2010

Following the release of her second novel, This Hidden Thing, Winnipeg author Dora Dueck will be reading at the South Central Regional Library in Winkler on Tuesday, June 29, at 7:30 pm.

“This book is of special interest to our area because part of the story is set in Winkler and provides insight into the experience of Mennonite families who emigrated from Russia,” says branch librarian Elaine Dyck. “Many may be reminded of a grandfather or grandmother, aunt or uncle in the characters of the book.”

This Hidden Thing tells the story of Maria Klassen, a young Mennonite woman who has recently emigrated from Russia. She soon finds work as domestic for a wealthy English family in Winnipeg, while her family settles in the nearby town of Winkler. Later in the novel, we meet Maria in adulthood – devout, industrious, and dedicated to her family. Yet she is reserved and intensely private. This is the story of a life that contained passion and suffering that no one knew.

Dora Dueck is the editor of Northern Lights: An Anthology of Contemporary Christian Writing in Canada. Her stories have been featured on CBC Radio, and in journals such as Room, Prairie Fire, Rhubarb, and Journal of Mennonite Studies.

For more information about This Hidden Thing visit: www.cmu.ca/news/may6doradueck.html

Order directly from:
CMU Bookstore
600 Shaftesbury Blvd. Winnipeg MB R3P 2N2
Toll-free: 1-877-231-4570 Tel: 204-487-3300
Fax: (204) 487-3858
E-mail: cmubookstore@cmu.ca

Ordering Information:
This Hidden Thing
Dora Dueck
CMU Press 2010 | 350 pages, paper | $19.50
ISBN 978-0-920718-86-5

Praise for This Hidden Thing:

“Dora Dueck tells a compelling woman’s story too often obscured by history. She inhabits her characters in such a way that the reader is drawn into a living, breathing world that lingers even after the covers of the book are closed. This Hidden Thing offers a worthy female, urban counterpart to Rudy Wiebe’s Peace Shall Destroy Many.”

Ann Hostetler, author of Empty Room with Light and editor of A Cappella: Mennonite Voices in Poetry

“Dora Dueck’s powerful and deeply engaging novel follows the fortunes of Maria Klassen, a young immigrant whose heart’s purest desires are in tension with domestic service, sexual passion, and the demands of family and church. Beautifully and intelligently written, the story transcends its Mennonite particulars to shed light on the universal and timeless struggles of the human spirit.”

Sarah Klassen, author of A Feast of Longing and A Curious Beatitude

“I never knew what the next page of This Hidden Thing would bring, never could guess what way the story would go, never imagined what the end would be for Maria, whom I had come to love so deeply.”

Katherine Arnoldi, author of The Amazing True Story of a Teenage Single Mom and All Things Are Labor

For more information about CMU Press visit: www.cmu.ca/cmupress

For CMU PRESS information, contact:
Jonathan Dyck CMU PRESS Project Manager
cmupress@cmu.ca
204.487.3300.

For CMU information, contact:
Nadine Kampen CMU Communications & Marketing Director
nkampen@cmu.ca

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General News News Releases

CMU Press Publishes Novel by Dora Dueck

Offers one woman’s compelling, ordinary, and surprising life
For release May 6, 2010

CMU PRESS is pleased to announce the publication of a new novel by Dora Dueck, This Hidden Thing. The book will be officially launched on May 19, 8 p.m. at McNally Robinson Booksellers.

Beginning in Winnipeg in the1920s, This Hidden Thing tells the moving story of Maria Klassen, a newly landed Mennonite immigrant. Maria becomes a domestic for a prosperous Canadian family in order to support her family as they struggle to build a life for themselves on a farm near the town of Winkler.

“As I was writing Maria’s story, I thought of it as a way of expressing the immigrant experience,” Dueck reflects. “I think too that I’m always looking at how people, especially women, live their lives – as a way of navigating my own.”

Secrets are a major theme in the novel, but not necessarily in the way one might expect. As Dueck notes, the theme of “hiddenness” captures something of the Mennonite immigrant experience. “One of the hardest aspects about being a newcomer in another culture is not being ‘known.’” And for many Mennonite women, this sort of invisibility was already a fact of life. “Women did their theological work privately, and resistance to received wisdom, or knowledge against the grain as it were, would have to be held secretly, perhaps even subversively.” She continues, “In thinking about Maria’s decisions and use of silence, I’m hoping readers might be drawn to reflect on the ways in which secrets might be powerful, even life-giving, and the ways in which they destroy, or build one false wall after the other.”

Among Mennonite writers, Dora Dueck is somewhat unusual for her portrayal of individuals who have remained loyal to their communities of upbringing. Dueck’s previous novel, Under the Still Standing Sun, focussed on the pioneering story of Mennonites in the Chaco. According to Ann Hostetler, who is Professor of Creative Writing and Literature at Goshen College, This Hidden Thing “offers a worthy female, urban counterpart to Rudy Wiebe’s Peace Shall Destroy Many.”

“But above all,” continues Hostetler, “this is a novel of character. Dora Dueck inhabits her characters in such a way that the reader is drawn into a living, breathing world that lingers even after the covers of the book are closed.”
Dueck comments: “In my two novels, the protagonists remain ‘insiders’ as it were. It means they reference and use the religious categories, language of the church, the piety, as they live within that world. I’ve tried to present them and that world with integrity, but it shouldn’t feel less complicated for all that.”

This Hidden Thing (CMU PRESS) is available from the CMU Bookstore at 600 Shaftesbury Blvd., Winnipeg. Contact cmubookstore@cmu.ca; telephone 204.487.3300. The cost is $19.50.

CMU PRESS is an academic publisher of scholarly, reference, and general interest books at Canadian Mennonite University. Books from CMU Press address and inform interests and issues vital to the university, its constituency, and society. Areas of specialization include Mennonite studies, and works that are church-oriented or theologically engaged.

Canadian Mennonite University (CMU) is a Christian university in the Anabaptist tradition, offering undergraduate degrees in arts and science, business and organizational administration, communications and media, peace and conflict resolution studies, music and music therapy, theology, and church ministries, as well as graduate degrees in Theological Studies and Christian ministry. Located in Winnipeg, Manitoba, CMU is a member of the Association of Universities and Colleges of Canada (AUCC).

For CMU PRESS information, contact:
Jonathan Dyck, CMU PRESS Project Manager
cmupress@cmu.ca
204.487.3300

For CMU information, contact:
Nadine Kampen, CMU Communications & Marketing Director
nkampen@cmu.ca
Tel. 204.487.3300 Ext. 621