2023

Distinguished Alumni

George Toles, Class of 1966

George Toles graduated from Hamburg High School in 1966, as Class Valedictorian. He did his undergraduate work at the State University of New York, where he majored in English. He received his MA and PhD in English at the University of Virginia. Since 1976, George has lived in Winnipeg, Manitoba, where he has taught literature, film, and theatre at the University of Manitoba. He presently holds the rank of Distinguished Professor. George is married to Melissa Steele, and has three children: Sam, Rachel, and Thomas, all of whom currently live in the United States.

George has collaborated with Canadian filmmaker Guy Maddin as screenwriter or co-screenwriter for a number of feature films. Among the films produced during this lengthy partnership are Archangel, Careful, Twilight of the Ice Nymphs, The Saddest Music in the World, My Winnipeg, Brand upon the Brain!, and Keyhole. George also wrote the story and co-authored the screenplay for Canada’s first stop motion animated feature, “Edison and Leo”.  George has published three books of film criticism, A House Made of Light: Essays on the Art of Film, Paul Thomas Anderson, and Curtains of Light: Theatrical Space in Film. He has also published a collection of mini-narratives entitled Status Updates, with art responses by Cliff Eyland.

Since 2008, George has published daily fictional vignettes on Facebook, and over time they have acquired a sizable readership. Status Updates is a collection of some of these bite-sized stories, and was edited by George’s son, Thomas. George has also published a large number of scholarly essays on literature, film and theatre, and has directed a great many theatre productions, at the University of Manitoba, the Winnipeg Fringe Festival, and with professional Winnipeg theatre companies.