“Half a century after Flannery O’Connor, Walker Percy, Reynolds Price and John Updike presented themselves as novelists with what O’Connor called ‘Christian convictions,’ their would-be successors are thin on the ground.”
–Paul Elie, “Has Fiction Lost its Faith?” New York Times Sunday Book Review 12/19/12
There’s been some weeping and mourning recently about the seeming lack of contemporary U.S. literature from Christian perspectives. We share Paul Elie’s concern about the relative lack of “Christian convictions” in letters today, and Dana Gioia’s anxiety about “the schism between Christianity and the arts.” Some say that Flannery O’Connor was the last great U.S. writer who was also outspoken in her faith.
Still, as Gregory Wolfe illustrates, we might be pleasantly surprised by the wealth of Christian works with strong literary value, even in the United States alone. And this list is tiny in comparison to the abundance of such writers around the world. Many of their texts have been translated into English. Maybe the problem isn’t that contemporary Christian writers don’t exist, but that they need a wider audience.
We are eager to read literature that addresses contemporary life from Christian perspectives, and excited to share books we think don’t get enough publicity. Please tell us about books you have enjoyed. Let us know what you think of the books we’re discussing.
Yes, there is Christian literature after Flannery O’Connor!
We want to hear from you …
- What are you reading? (this link takes you to our Google Form to leave the info, or share it in the comment box below!)
- What would you say to the claim that contemporary Christian perspectives are no longer prominent enough in U.S. literature to be considered a field of study?
- What regions of the world have writers–or groups of writers–that you are excited about?