Publisher at Large
My latest project is to produce a book of essays by current Oxford students, in the 18 - 24 year-old age group, about their experience of religion, the attitude of their generation towards it, and to include chapters about different faiths in Britain, both critical and supportive, negative and affirmative, questioning and explorative.
If you're interested in being published, read on...
I’m Publisher-at-Large for the Christian Alternative imprint of John Hunt Publishing. They’ve published a number of my books, including the bestselling ‘Christian Atheist’, and my poetry anthology, ‘Friday’s Child’ – on suffering and redemption.
My job consists of finding authors well known in their fields for a series of short books, about 40,000 words in length, dealing provocatively with issues of public theology, written in an accessible style for a wide audience.
What’s different? I’m looking for a genuinely radical, honest, unfrightened approach to faith and institutional religion. I want theology to catch up with the society I am living in and start speaking to people within the paradigms of contemporary thought, intellectually to meet people where they are, to be ready to jettison redundant imagery and esoteric ideas of heresy and especially to look in greater depth at the spirituality so many people find through the arts or by thinking seriously about philosophical, moral and social issues.
The scope is wide and subjects might range from ‘Music’s meaning’, ‘The Self’, ‘The March of Sexual Freedom’, to ‘Religion and Brain Science’, ‘Business Ethics’, or ‘Psychology of Religion’. These are off-the-top-of-my-head examples and I’m not excluding any ideas – we are interested in personal issues too, anything from dealing with bereavement to memoir. Interesting takes on traditional theology would also fit.
Since I took on this assignment, we have published a number of short book on Quakerism, under the banner 'Quaker Quicks', a very successful book by Mark Vernon, 'The Secret History of Christianity', and a series of essays on education, as individual booklets, by prestigious head teachers for the Farmington Trust.
Although the market for books in traditional Christian circles has diminished, I am confident there’s also a readership amongst the much wider ‘Believing without belonging/sceptically interested in religious questions’ type audience and indeed all those who, in Larkin’s words, find themselves surprised by a hunger to be more serious.
If you have anything that might fit this bill, I’d love to discuss it with you – and in any case to get your feedback. Or if you know of anyone looking for a publisher, likewise.
The way the company works is explained on the website: johnhuntpublishing.com and go to Author Guide. In particular The Way We Work.