Mary-Ann Kirkby is an award-winning author, whose first book, I Am Hutterite chronicles her childhood experiences of life on a Hutterite colony and the aftermath of leaving community life.
A former journalist, she began her career in Dauphin, Manitoba as a news anchor and reporter and later was appointed senior reporter responsible for aboriginal issues at CTV in Prince Albert. From 1993-1996, she worked in Ottawa as a freelance journalist and served as Media Relations Consultant for the National Chief of the Assembly of First Nations.
She is the recipient of two Can-Pro Awards for political reporting and for hosting a children's program.
In 2010 Mary-Ann was appointed to the Saskatchewan Arts Board. She lives in Prince Albert, Saskatchewan.
I Am Hutterite by Mary-Ann Kirkby
the fascinating true story of one
woman's journey to reclaim her heritage
In 1969, Mary-Ann Kirkby's parents did the unthinkable. They left a Hutterite colony near Portage la Prairie, Manitoba with seven children and little else, to start a new life. Overnight, the family was thrust into a society they did not understand and which knew little of their unique culture. The transition was overwhelming.
When Mary-Ann leaves Fairholme, she embarks on a mission to reinvent herself. She is put in the awkward position of denying her heritage in order to fit in with her peers. Her book details her painful and often humourous attempts to adapt to popular culture as she comes to terms with the heart-breaking circumstances that led her family to leave community life.
Few Canadians are aware that the prairie region is home to the largest concentration of Hutterites in the world. Their appearance and cloistered lifestyle have often made them the objects of prejudice and suspicion but beneath the black hats and polka dots lies a spirited and proud community of storytellers, artisans, inventors, teachers, carpenters, and agrarians who have made significant contributions to the North American cultural tapestry and economy.
I Am Hutterite takes us inside Fairholme Colony where Mary-Ann Kirkby spent the first ten years of her life. Her intimate portrait of Hutterian people opens a window on a closed community and reveals a way of life that seems extraordinary to the outside world.
As a television reporter, Mary-Ann Kirkby spent years telling the stories of others. Now she is ready to share her own. I Am Hutterite layers the rich traditions of colony life with the stark realities of intolerance and mistrust, weaving a gripping tale that tests the power of forgiveness.
For an excerpt of I Am Hutterite click here.