A Farewell to Heidi Harms: Prairie Fire’s long-standing associate editor

Jul 4, 2016

By Andris Taskans & Paul Morris

Heidi joined Prairie Fire in January of 1990, just as we were preparing two ambitious publications: our first bilingual issue and a Mennonite writing issue. She immediately demonstrated her versatility and skills. Despite not having worked with a computer before, Heidi excelled in every way, and those two issues are still counted among our best.

Heidi had a host of responsibilities, including production, office administration and circulation and fulfillment. She served as chief copy editor, online and book reviews editor, and was senior fiction co-editor.

During her 26½ years at Prairie Fire, Heidi helped new and established writers to find readers, and readers to find great writing. Stated differently, for over 26 years, Heidi contributed her exceptional literary taste and judgment to the shaping of Prairie Fire’s distinctive qualities. Quite simply, without Heidi Harms, Prairie Fire would not be what it is. But it is not solely Heidi’s great skill and versatility on the masthead of Prairie Fire that we will miss; it is also her qualities as an exceptionally fine individual. Heidi is humble, warm, intelligent and genuine—a truly generous friend to Prairie Fire and all of us who worked here, a woman whose sharpness of editing pencil is matched only by the sharpness—and dryness—of her wit.

Coda: As someone who has been privileged to work alongside Heidi for the duration of her tenure at Prairie Fire, I can say unequivocally that these have been the best years of my working life. Thank you, oh esteemed erstwhile colleague; may you have a long and prosperous life post-PF. Or, to paraphrase one of Heidi’s favourite expressions, borrowed from Audrey Thomas, “Goodbye Heidi, good luck.”

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