A quarter of the U.S. population — and 40 percent of the population of New York, where my novel is set — self-identify as Catholic. One of the most striking features of the city is that there are churches everywhere, from one of the world’s largest cathedrals to hundreds of storefront churches. And a bit of investigation will reveal that those churches fill up every Sunday. Not to mention the fact that there are more Jews in New York than in any other city in the world. But for some reason the publishing industry in this city tends to view the introduction of religion into contemporary realist novels as a willful act that must have some strong rhetorical justification. From where I stand, the exclusion of religion is the willful act. Novelists never get asked why they don’t include religion in their books, or why the religion they do include — often just a species of madness — bears so little resemblance to religion as it is practiced by the majority of Americans. If they were asked, I suspect, most of these writers would not have a very good answer. It simply doesn’t occur to them. Whatever one’s beliefs, this seems like a basic failure of verisimilitude. Reality includes religion; realism should, too.
Christopher Beha being interviewed by Harpers about his new novel Arts and Entertainments.

Quoted from Francis Spufford at http://unapologetic-book.tumblr.com/

Find me in this forest…

We spent several days recently at The Cwn near Chepstow, home of Breathe Ministries and Phil and Mary-Anne Joiner. A truly beautiful place… I wrote this whilst there…

Find me in this forest God. Where bluebells bend in reverence may I too bow. Where garlic wild and white sends its scent to stir my senses may I too offer the perfume of praise. Caressed in this cathedral of tall trees. Whose long limbs lean like fingers to open an umbrella over me. Whose leaves, a chorus of green voices, sing in acapella harmonies. Whose twisted trunks, for all the wounds the storms of time have wrought, insist on growth, persist in progress, resist the weary winding-down of withering. Sap-driven seekers stretching for light. Here where soil itself urges abundance in me, meet me, mould me, speak life into the deepest roots of me. Where Genesis is just a generation past. Where Eden is an everyday event. Designate a garden God and under this cool canopy walk with me…

c. Gerard Kelly, The Cwm, May 14th 2014

Mars Hill: A Blessing for the People of Europe

May the God you have worshipped,
Without knowing his name,
Whisper a word
For you to know him by.
The concealed be revealed to you,
The invisible unveiled,
Untold stories
Be unfolded before you.

May the statues you have sculpted,
In your search for satisfaction,
Be a springboard to new freedoms,
Not a grave to guard your gods in.
May the hunger that has haunted you,
The thirst for joy that hunts you,
Bring you at last to love’s great banquet.

May the breath you were born with
In the air that we share
Lead your lungs
To the sky-wide source of being.

And may God,
Who sets the boundaries of kingdoms,
And is active in the history of your tribe,
Show you where his fingerprints
Are scratched into your story,
And where his footprints
Show the pathways into life.

May the maker of meanings,
The Father of all,
Definer of nations,
Designer of life,
Turn his face toward you,
Turn his favour upon you,
Turn your sorrows to dancing:
May he open your people
To his peace

To engage further with the renewal of our continent, sponsor the Pegasus to Paris walk…

www.justgiving.com/gerardswalk

The Boy Who Loved Rain

cover

 

This is the proposed cover for The Boy Who Loved Rain… can’t wait to see it on shelves in November…

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