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Helen Row Toews, author, columist, willing to give anything a go

Do sentences like these inspire further reading? 'A storm was brewing, but it was no mere tempest. Edged in purple, the boiling black cloud swirled ominously.' Helen Row Toews is more than an author, columnist, and humourist.

NORTH BATTLEFORD — Throughout November, members of the North Battleford Library’s book club have been reading a collection of short stories detailing life on the prairie. Helen Row Toews is the author, and thanks to the Saskatchewan Writers Guild was able to speak in the Battlefords Oct. 25.

Toews said that fear of failure had held her back from public speaking, but she is willing to give anything a go. She started working with the Battlefords News-Optimist before she transitioned into writing columns for SaskToday.

“Every week, I send in a new story. Sometimes it’s not all that easy to come up with something entertaining and humorous, but when you work with kids, drive a school bus and live on a farm, something always happens.”

She has authored over half a dozen books, with another to be released shortly. She is a humourist, works in education and grew up near Marshal on her family’s farm, where they raised cattle and gofers. 

At her reading, Toews read three short stories from different collections, chronicling her remarkable sense of humour and view of life in Sask.

Have you ever tried to bathe a cat? 

“Studies show that the loving relationships people develop with pets can improve their own health, lower stress and bring joy and pleasure to their life. Still, there can be an occasional downside.” 

Toews went on to recount a delicate situation involving one of her three beloved cats who was suffering from an infection known as fecal matt, in which,

“ ... a lump of excrement becomes enmeshed in the fur on the cat’s hind end. The internet holds a plethora of information on this unhappy subject,” adding that “the first clue to it’s presence might be an unpleasant odour.”

Show and Share 

Toews believes anyone familiar with show and share will relate to this story, as she shared a glimpse into the well-known but seldom witnessed show and share. 

“Let us be the proverbial fly on the wall,” she said.

Children bring in a wide variety of prized items in Towe’s story, and no one is ever sure what might materialize, whether it be a lump of fungus, a teddy bear or a baby lamb.

“It’s white, and it has teeth,” Toews read, as a child in her story holds something clenched in a plastic grocery bag. It’s a, 

“Jawbone of a dead coyote … several decaying teeth clatter to the floor,” she read.

What is purple and hard and can be held between a closed fist?  “A turtle? A spaceship? An old grape?”

Valentine’s Day

Toews last story recounted her first Valentine’s Day date with a cool kid from Edmonton was she was 17 years old, reading about their first meeting and his subsequent asking her out.

“As I stood in a pool of golden sunshine, clasping a bottle of calcium in my lily white hands, he was overcome by … oh cut the malarky, Helen. In truth, I was slumped in the backroom, grinding a jar of organic peanut butter. 

“He went down the highway of high society, big business and success. I, down an impoverished gravel road, of bus driving, outdoor gatherings and mediocrity. He couldn’t possibly be as happy as I am.”

If you want to read the rest of Helen Row Toew’s short stories, you can purchase them on her website at or

Helen is also the author of a debut young adult fantasy series that can be bought and read on her website. Do sentences like these inspire further reading?

“A storm was brewing, but it was no mere tempest. Edged in purple, the boiling black cloud swirled ominously.” 

The end is nigh. Ancient scripts. Mountain portals. Sacred gemstones. Prophesied savers of worlds. The Runestaff Chronicles can be bought on her website and on

Keep an eye on to read her weekly stories as she continues seeing the world through her lens of laughter, joy and positivity.


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