INTRODUCTION

Welcome to the official website of author and luthier John Weier. On this site, you’ll find a collection of John’s books, details of his work as a luthier, a profile and biography, a list of upcoming readings and events, featured work (in-progress or unpublished), and contact information. To purchase books from this site, click on the ‘buy’ tabs—you’ll see them. To purchase instruments, contact John directly.

The youngest of eight children, John was born on August 6, 1949 into a traditional Mennonite family in southern Manitoba. His father owned a blacksmith shop in downtown Niverville. But the age of blacksmithing seemed about to end; and in late winter of 1950, a few months before the great flood, the entire family moved to Niagara-on-the-Lake where they bought and settled on a fruit farm. John grew up on that farm. But never quite content with the rush and clutter of southern Ontario, he moved back to the prairie after graduating from high school. He received his Bachelor of Theology at the Canadian Mennonite University, and his Bachelor of Arts in anthropology and history of religions at the University of Manitoba. In 1975 he began work as Winnipeg’s resident luthier; maker of banjos, violas and violins.

Having spent much of his youth reading books at times not sanctioned by the authorities—after lights-out, in church, in class, when he should have been in the orchard—John took to writing them with serious intent in 1981. His writing life tends to be quite structured; he writes most weekday mornings, settling in front of the computer with his bowl of porridge by 9 a.m. Does that sound great? John says it is: Every morning I get to play at whatever words or ideas I choose. There’s no one to tell me what to do, or how long to do it. I feel pretty lucky.

In the afternoon he repairs and restores violins, violas, cellos. He’s loved violins almost as long as he’s loved books. Is there any icon anywhere in the world, he says, as graceful as the violin? John’s been involved with musical instruments all his working life, since 1975 when he began building banjos. He usually has forty or fifty violin family instruments for sale. You’ll find a list if you follow the Luthier tab.

In his spare time John chases birds. He’s a birder. In fifteen years as an amateur naturalist he’s birded in Iceland, in Syria, in Africa and Asia, in Central America, and throughout Europe and North America; and has catalogued 560 bird species in North America and 2100 around the world. He’s traveled to lots of different places, and many of them he’s written about. In 2004 he was hired by Grasslands National Park to write a chapter on bird life for the Grasslands National Park Field Guide. He volunteers as a bird guide at Fort Whyte Alive in Winnipeg.

John has worked in the Canadian book publishing industry and as a musician with the Duck Mountain Bluegrass Band. He coached for ten years in the Manitoba Fastball program and was awarded the Manitoba Order of Sport Excellence. He is a past president of the League of Canadian Poets, and past Creator Co-chair of the Access Copyright Board of Directors. John is the father of two grown and miraculous children, Anna and Jonathan; and lives in a house in a garden in Winnipeg.