New Book Revisits ‘Martyr’s Mirror’ Stories

Press Release HARRISONBURG – An Eastern Mennonite University professor has assembled a collection of poems, essays and fiction by noted and new authors responding to a classic book of martyrs who died for their faith over the centuries.

The anthology, “Tongue Screws and Testimonies,” will be released at a reception for the book’s editor, Kirsten E. Beachy, 7:30 p.m. Thursday, Nov. 18 in Martin Chapel of the seminary building at EMU.

The voluminous “”Martyrs Mirror,” first published in 1660 in Dutch by Thieleman J. van Braght, memorializes the godly lives and deaths of European Anabaptist martyrs between 1524 and 1660 and thousands of other early Christians.

Featuring seasoned writers Rudy Wiebe, Di Brandt, Jeff Gundy, Jean Janzen, Julia Kasdorf, John Ruth, Rhoda Janzen and others, the new Herald Press book illustrates how stories from “Martyrs Mirror” intersect with the lives of writers and their characters – and how these stories continue to have a powerful hold on faith, life and imagination today.

Local authors include Omar Eby, Chad Gusler, Andrew Jenner, Anna Maria Johnson, Jeremy Nafziger, Jessica Penner and Esther Stenson. These contributors will read excerpts from their chapters at the reception.

Beachy, an assistant professor of visual and communication arts, teaches creative writing and journalism at EMU. An EMU alumna, she earned an MFA degree in creative writing from West Virginia University.

“Most people with connections to Mennonite and Amish traditions grew up with an awareness of ‘Martyr’s Mirror,’” Beachy said. “The creative works in the anthology have as much to say about these descendants of the martyr tradition as they do about their spiritual ancestors. I hope the collection will challenge readers to consider the implications of the ‘Martyrs Mirror’ in their own lives today,” she added.

The 312-page paperback is available starting Nov. 15, 2010, and can be pre-ordered from www.heraldpress.com.

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This post was submitted by Jim Bishop.

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