I’ve got a question. It’s a trick one, so I’ll give you a couple of paragraphs or so to think about it.

Does God want you to be like Him?

While you’re mulling that one over, I’d like to tell you about the recent experience of a friend of mine who was trying to sell some of her books. She encountered a woman who told her bluntly (and not a little scornfully), ‘I don’t read fiction.’

This is an attitude that is unfortunately all too prevalent amongst Christians. Fiction is somehow beneath the notice of some readers who view it as untrue and therefore suspect. It may not always be the work of the devil but most of the time it comes pretty close. When confronted with this viewpoint and the veiled contempt of these sort of put-downs, those of us who write fiction tend to feel inadequate, intimidated and defensive. It’s hard to know what to say to these ‘cultural despisers’ of fiction.

There’s a widespread tendency to overlook the fact that Jesus’ one and only mode of public teaching was story-telling. Parables are fiction.

Like the best stories, they teach us about relationships, the world around us and the human condition. They let us slip into the skin of the characters and experience the world through their eyes. How does it feel to have worked through a hot, humid day and received the same wage as someone who laboured only half an hour?  What’s it like to know your manager has just been forgiven a million dollar loss when he’s threatening to fire you over five dollars missing from the till?

Non-fiction reports the story. A great fiction writer or a supremely gifted story-teller gives the reader the chance to live the story.

Back when I was teaching, I read many documents about Asperger’s Syndrome but nothing ever gave me anything like the understanding of it as a story written from the point of view of a kid who suffered from it.

So, now back to my question: Does God want you to be like Him? 

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BORDERLAND ~ A Trilogy: Re–entry —  Jihad —  Cameleer

Rosanne Hawke

Lothian Books

The thread stitching these three stories together is the character of Jaime Richards, an Australian girl brought up in Pakistan. In Re-entry, she experiences an unexpected homesickness for her adopted country and a deep sense of dislocation as her family relocate back to Australia. Everything is strange and she feels both confusion and loss as the awkwardness of adolescence vies with the awkwardness that comes from cultural ignorance.

To express her feelings, Jaime begins to write a journal but it soon becomes a flight of romantic fancy. Her teacher astutely identifies the mysterious stranger in it as an idealised personification of Pakistan itself.

As she slowly begins to unravel the mysterious language cues of her own culture, real friendships start to develop. Danny and Blake both come from a background of colliding cultures and are able to help her come to terms with her mixture of feelings.

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Red Alert


Dale Harcombe  

Wendy Pye Publishing

Illustrated by Jennifer Cooper


Cassandra just loves camping.  Her mum doesn’t.  

Cassandra just loves challenges.  Her mum doesn’t.  

Cassandra’s just dying to go on the mother-daughter three-day camp.  Her mother isn’t.  

A-tishoo! Red Alert is a truly delightful tickle of a story about a reluctant mum willing to put up with all the things she hates for her daughter’s sake. A-tishoo! It’s the story of a girl with spunk and a raring-to-go attitude. A-tishoo! But mainly it’s the story of a girl whose mum can’t stop sneezing or reaching for the tissues. A-tishoo! A-tishoo!

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