MHSS Mennonite Historical Societty of Saskatchewan
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Elma Martens Schemenauer

Elma Martens Schemenauer, author

Elma Martens Schemenauer is a first-generation daughter of Russian Mennonite immigrants to Saskatchewan. She spent her early years in a farming community between Elbow and Davidson. This community later inspired the fictional setting for her novel Consider the Sunflowers, published in October 2014 by Borealis Press of Ottawa.

Elma enjoyed her childhood, catching tadpoles in sloughs, jumping into haystacks with her siblings, and singing to the cattle in the pasture. She especially enjoyed her relatives' stories about Russia and their first years in Saskatchewan. Mennonites were a minority in her community, which was mainly Scandinavian and British. However, the Mennonites maintained their traditions and their own church, where Elma sometimes played the organ for the singing.

After finishing high school in Elbow, Elma attended Briercrest Bible Institute (now College) at Caronport, Saskatchewan. She graduated with a diploma in Christian education. Later she attended the Universities of Saskatchewan and Toronto, earning a BA in English and psychology, and qualifying as a teacher.

Elma began her teaching career in Saskatchewan. Then, under the auspices of the Mennonite Brethren Board of Missions and Services, she taught English in Nova Scotia. From teaching she moved into a publishing career in Toronto, where she enjoyed years of editing and writing. At first she worked in-house for an educational publisher.

Then she went freelance, working for a variety of Canadian and American publishers.

In 2006 Elma and her husband, Robert, relocated to Kamloops, British Columbia. There she writes, edits, blogs, and takes long walks on grassy hillsides that remind her of her Saskatchewan roots. She thanks God for His many blessings and trusts Him for the future, whatever it may bring.

Elma is the author of many published books. They include:
Yesterstories, four volumes of historical short stories published by Globe/Modern
-Jacob Jacobs Gets Up Early, middle-grade novel published by Nimbus
-Native Canadians Today And Long Ago, factual book published by Nelson
-Hello Regina, factual book published by GLC-Silver Burdett
-Russia, factual book published by The Child's World
-Jacob Siemens Family Since 1685: Includes Early Mennonites, genealogy book published by Farland.

Elma's stories, articles, and book reviews have appeared in a range of publications including:
-Eephhemeris: Journey To Becoming A Modern 'Mennonite' Woman a collection of essays and journal entries compiled by Alicia M. Miller
-Canadian Mennonite
-Mennonite Brethern Herald
-Faith Today
-Canadian West

Elma has edited many books including:
-Deborah's Journey by Sara Maendel (published by Hutterian Brethren Book Centre)
-Playing Like Timothy by Johannes Waldner (published by Hutterian Brethren Book Centre)
-The Unseen Hand: The Angela Tran Story by Robert Cretney (published by Gospel Folio Press)
-To the Ends of The Earth: A History of the Canadian Bible Society by Gerald E. Benson with Kenneth G. McMillan (published by The Canadian Bible Society)
-Looking at Weather by David Suzuki with Barbara Hehner (published by Stoddart)
-The Girl From Away by Claire Mowat (published by Key Porter)
-One John A. Too Many by Richard B. Wright (published by Nelson)
-Canada Through Time by Angus Scully et al. (published by Prentice Hall)

Elma Schemenauer lives with her husband, at 448 Monarch Place, Kamloops, BC, Canada, V2E 2B2.

See her page for a more detailed list of her prolific writings. Note: MHSS is not selling any of her books, but you can ask for her novel, Consider the Sunflowers in any bookstore or library, or you can order it online from Chapters Indigo, or from her publisher Borealis Press. Visit her own website at elmams.wix.com/elma site.


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Mennonite Historical Society of Saskatchewan (MHSS)
Room 900 - 110 La Ronge Road, Saskatoon, Saskatchewan, S7K 7H8
(306)242-6105
Archive Hours: Monday: 1:30 - 4:00 p.m. Wednesday: 1:30 - 4:00 p.m. & 7:00 - 9:00 p.m.