Atheist Children’s Books

Fiction put on hold. The quill hovers over the digital notepad… writing has been placed somewhere on the shelf up near my sheet music and other crusty life goals while I attempt to realise yet another project – Atheist Children’s Books.

Yes, the product of months of procrastination, an idea born of frustration, illumination and wonder, atheistchildrensbooks.org, is finally in progress. With it and through it I hope to promote authors of exceptional works of fiction and illustrated fiction, and maybe, just maybe, help to sprinkle a little reason around the world.

Atheist Children's Books - To whom do you bow?

I want to help!

Great! At the moment the site is very much in development, however if you’d like to contribute to getting it up and running, or are an author of secular, humanist, science or atheist books for kids and would like to promote your book on atheistchildrensbooks.org, please get in touch.

Once I have the site in a reasonable state and all the associated media and assets are ready, I’ll be running a kickstarter campaign or the equivalent in order to raise funds for marketing and development. The aim is not to rule the world, but to make it a nicer place to be.

Peace!

Why rejection letters are the new Xanax

14-rules-of-storytellingI was hay making through the chaff in my inbox recently when I stumbled across a curt email from [enter not-so-prominent journal name here] informing me that my piece entitled [enter short story title] had unfortunately been rejected.

I can’t remember my precise reaction – it may have involved scratching my behind, or sucking out the remaining juice from the Tetley bag stranded at the bottom of the teapot – but it went along the lines of, ‘whatever’. Continue reading Why rejection letters are the new Xanax

The ‘Miracle’ of the 2013 Caine Prize

A short story about an evangelical Nigerian church in Texas has claimed this year’s Caine Prize.

Nigerian writer Tope Folarin won the £10,000 award for his story Miracle, which the Chair of the judging panel described as “exquisitely observed and utterly compelling”. Continue reading The ‘Miracle’ of the 2013 Caine Prize

Short stories, not attention spans

When fans queue to see the movie Ender’s Game later this year, many of them will know that the movie is based on Orson Scott’s card 1985 novel of the same name.

It’s safe to assume that a great deal of them will have also read the book and the subsequent titles in the series too. But I would bet that only a handful would know (mostly the hardcore fans) that the idea and many of the characters in Ender’s Game had humble beginnings in a short story, published in Analog magazine in 1977.

Whenever I hear about short stories that have triggered the creation of a larger work, or when I read the works of Philip K. Dick, Ray Bradbury, or the dozens of other short story writers whose ideas ‘made it’, not only am I comforted by the thought that I’m not wasting my time learning the craft, but also by the promise that a short story can lead to bigger things. In my case, I hope my journey into short fiction will lead to a novel.

Continue reading Short stories, not attention spans

The story behind ‘The Lottery’, by Shirley Jackson

Shirley Jackson’s The Lottery is one of the most famous American short stories and perhaps one of the most baffling.

It centres around a small town, whose residents meet for the annual ‘lottery’. The lottery takes place in other towns around the same time and its purpose is unclear, however the consequences of having one’s name drawn, without spoiling the entire plot are, to say the least, dire. Continue reading The story behind ‘The Lottery’, by Shirley Jackson