Rhoda Janzen Headshot
Report a problem with this profile
[email protected]

Rhoda Janzen  

Author, Poet, & Professor

Rhoda Janzen is the New York Times #1 bestselling author of Mennonite in a Little Black Dress. In 2010 Mennonite was a finalist for the James Thurber Award for Humor, and is currently a nominee for the Lily Fellows Foundation’s Arlin G. Meyer Prize for Imaginative Writing 2012.

Written with wry humor and huge personality—and tackling faith, love, family, and aging—Mennonite in a Little Black Dress is an immensely moving memoir of healing, certain to touch anyone who has ever had to look homeward in order to move ahead.

Not long after Janzen turned 40, her world turned upside down. It was bad enough that her husband of fifteen years left her for Bob, a guy he met on Gay.com, but that same week a car accident left her injured. Needing a place to rest and pick up the pieces of her life, she packed her bags, crossed the country, and returned to her quirky Mennonite family’s home, where she was welcomed back with open arms and offbeat advice. (Her good-natured mother suggested she get over her heartbreak by dating her first cousin—he owned a tractor, see.)

At the end of Mennonite in a Little Black Dress, Rhoda Janzen had reconnected with her family and her roots, though her future felt uncertain. But when she starts dating a churchgoer, this skeptic begins a surprising journey to faith and love. Her latest release, Does This Church Make Me Look Fat?, chronicles what happened next and how it led to more self discovery.

Janzen doesn’t slide back into the dignified simplicity of the Mennonite church. Instead she finds herself hanging with the Pentecostals, who really know how to get down with sparkler pom-poms. Amid the hand waving and hallelujahs Janzen finds a faith richly practical for life--just in time for some impressive lady problems, an unexpected romance, and a quirky new family.

Does This Church Make Me Look Fat? is for people who have a problem with organized religion, but can’t quite dismiss the notion of God, and for those who secretly sing hymns in their cars, but prefer a nice mimosa brunch to church. This is the story of what it means to find joy in love, comfort in prayer, and--incredibly, surprisingly--faith in a big-hearted God.

Janzen is also the author of Babel’s Stair, a collection of poems. She has won many teaching awards, including UCLA’s Luckman Award for Distinguished Teaching and the National Pew Charitable Trust Award for Innovation in Teaching.

A cancer survivor, Janzen is a motivational speaker who addresses topics of wellbeing, faith, and personal growth, as well as topics involving literature, the writing life, canonicity, and popular culture.

She lives in Western Michigan with her husband.


No videos yet.

Related Speakers View all

More like Rhoda