Canadian writer and English professor. He taught at Goshen College and the University of Alberta and published such acclaimed novels as The Temptations of Big Bear and A Discovery of Strangers.
After graduating from the University of Alberta, he studied literature at the West German University of Tübingen.
He received the Governor General's Award for Fiction in both 1973 and 1994.
He was born into a Mennonite family in Speedwell, Saskatchewan, Canada and grew up speaking German. His 1958 marriage to Tena Isaak produced two children.
He and fellow Canadian author Stephen Leacock both became recipients of the Royal Society of Canada's prestigious Lorne Pierce Medal.