It’s interesting to find out that some of the most influential and popular authors of the present and past had a faith. Authors, recognised for their talent and skill with a pen rather than their belief system. Prepare to be surprised (or maybe not so surprised) by this bunch of unexpected authors whose written work has touched millions.
Appearing on the Time magazine’s 100 most influential people in 2005, Malcolm Gladwell is the bestselling author of The Tipping Point. He is also a speaker and has been a staff writer for The New Yorker since 1996. His original works dealt with research in the areas of psychology, social psychology and sociology, then, upon writing his latest book, David and Goliath: Underdogs, Misfits, and the Art of Battling Giants he included underlying faith-related themes, where he began rediscovering his own faith after having drifted away.
He explains: “It wasn’t an ‘I woke up one morning’ kind of thing. It was a slow realisation of something incredibly powerful and beautiful in the faith that I grew up with that I was missing. Here I was writing about people of extraordinary circumstances, and it slowly dawned on me that I can have that too.”
Maya Angelou has been called America’s most visible black female autobiographer, and ranked by Forbes among the 10 most powerful female authors. She is best known for her 1969 memoir, I Know Why the Caged Bird Sings, in which she wrote of her upbringing where she was subject to racism and violence at the hands of the Ku Klux Klan and rape, at the age of eight. Dr Angelou wrote a total of seven autobiographies, as well as highly-acclaimed poetry. She has received countless awards, including the Lifetime Achievement Award for Literature, National Medal of Arts and Presidential Medal of Freedom.
Maya Angelou will be remembered for a deep and intellectual wisdom and honestly in her words. Her iconic voice will be remembered by her timeless quotes, such as: “I’ve learned that people will forget what you said, people will forget what you did, but people will never forget how you made them feel.” Maya acclaims her work and successes to her faith.
“I found that I knew not only that there was God, but that I was a child of God. When I understood that, when I comprehended that, more than that, when I internalised that, ingested that, I became courageous,”
Probably best known for his New York Times best seller, The Fault in Our Stars and his latest novel Paper Towns, both made into films in the last few years, John Green considered a career as a Christian minister before becoming a bestselling young-adult fiction author and YouTube vlogger. His plotlines are enmeshed with deep thoughts on philosophy, love, loss and speculations about the world – many of which critics put down to the success of his works. Green states his position by saying: “I don’t talk about it very often, but I’m a religious person. In fact, before I became a writer, I wanted to be a minister. There is a certain branch of Christianity that has so effectively hijacked the word ‘Christian’ that I feel uncomfortable sometimes using it to describe myself. But I am a Christian.”
The often-overlooked author, G.K. Chesterton, has been coined ‘the best writer of the 20th century because he was the greatest thinker of the 20th century’. His book, The Everlasting Man, played a key role in the conversion of C.S. Lewis to Christianity. G.K. Chesterton was not just an author, but a journalist, debater and teacher. He made his mark by being a strong opponent to the rising tide of secular humanistic thought at the end of the 19th century. He believed that, through Christian orthodoxy, there were actual answers to life’s big questions — that though life was complex, strange and unpredictable, it could be navigated with confidence.
J.R.R. Tolkien, author of the world’s best-seller The Lord of the Rings, became a Catholic at eight years old, largely influenced by his mother’s devout faith. His critics explain that the power of Tolkien lies in the way that he succeeds, through myth, in making the unseen hand of providence felt by the reader. Tolkien included the Christian themes subtly in his writing and he himself claims The Lord of the Rings was “fundamentally religious and Catholic work”. Another influence to bringing C.S. Lewis to faith, Tolkien was thought to be extremely committed to his faith in “a quiet way”, thought to have gone to church not just every Sunday, but often every day.
This article was written in for the GOODFRUIT Literary Contest, organised by GOODFRUIT in collaboration with threadsUK.com. Head here for details on how to enter. The deadline is 23 September.