Mary-Ann Kirkby is an award-winning journalist and the bestselling author of I Am Hutterite: The Fascinating True Story of a Young Woman’s Journey to Reclaim Her Heritage. Her memoir chronicled her childhood experiences growing up on a Hutterite colony in western Canada and the difficult aftermath of leaving her community to forge a new life in the modern world.
I Am Hutterite won acclaim and awards on both sides of the border and is a valued curriculum option in Canadian schools and universities as a means to build bridges and teach tolerance and understanding of other cultures. Her new book, Secrets of a Hutterite Kitchen: Unveiling the rituals, traditions and food of the Hutterite Culture is already a #1 national bestseller delving into present day Hutterite life with one juicy tidbit after another!
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.
Kirkby is a member of the Canadian Association of Professional Speakers, delighting audiences with her honest and humorous accounts of her people and and their extraordinary way of life. She lives in Prince Albert, Saskatchewan.