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I’ve mentioned a couple times that I’ve been fairly absent from the blog because of impending publication deadlines. Well, as of five minutes ago, that’s mostly changed. The manuscript for Culture, Communion, Recovery: Tolkienian Fairy-Story and Inter-Religious Exchange has moved from my desk to that of my long-suffering spouse, where he will spend a couple weeks giving it a final copyedit and checking that I haven’t done anything too stupid with my citation formatting, then come back to me for a brief spot of indexing (unless Mark decides that he really enjoys pain and does that while he’s tidying everything else up), and then it will be sent on to my editor at Cambridge Scholars Press for approval. With luck, I hope it will be out by the end of the year–and can I just say now, it would be the perfect holiday gift for the fantasy lit/inter-religious dialogue geek in your life. Tolkien! Lev Grossman! (A little bit of) Neil Gaiman! Some minor snark about C. S. Lewis! Not as much Peter Beagle or Michael Chabon or, sadly, any woman writer at all, including the great Jane Yolen, as I’d wanted there to be (so I guess I’ll have to come back to this subject again sometime)! Long-time readers of this blog will recognise some of the argument from this post, which is still one of our all-time most visited entries.

My other book has been in the hands of the wonderful people at Pickwick Press (an imprint of Wipf & Stock) since February. Because they do all the copyediting and layout in-house, the exact production timeline is a bit harder to predict, though again I hope to see it out by the end of this year, and certainly by the early part of next. My editor and I are still not 100% satisfied with the title, because it’s a bit tricky to come up with a title that neatly summarises the scope of the thing, but we’ve provisionally settled on Remembering Amalek: Religion, War, Memory and the Construction of Canadian Identity. The “Construction of Canadian Identity” bit is liable to meet the chopping block, as there’s some fear that it might limit the number of people willing to pick up the book and actually read it; if you are among those likely to be put off, let me assure you that the scope of the argument is much more broad, it’s just that I use specifically Canadian examples (and, to balance out the gender issues in Culture, Communion, Recovery, exclusively female novelists) as case-studies. Really, you should buy it just for the chapter on Anne of Green Gables and burial customs. It’s a book about the way that communities turn to their past when renegotiating their identity in the face of significant trauma, and the role religion plays in that process.

I’ll post updates on, and excerpts from, both of these as they move closer to publication time.

I also have an edited volume that has been sitting in pre-contract approval at a press for a very, very long time; the other editor and I are committed to getting it out before the REF deadline, even if it does mean quickly finding another publisher, so an announcement on that should be appearing in the next few months. Watch this space.