In celebration of mystery writer Dorothy Sayers’ The Mind of the Maker, a book about the relationship between Christianity and art, Open Road Media’s Brook Frazier compiled this list of six popular authors who took their religious beliefs and wove them into their works.
Did you know that some of your favorite childhood fantasy books are grounded in religious themes? Or that the authors of these books have also written extensively about faith? Many well-known authors have reflected on faith and spirituality in their other books. Here are six popular fiction authors who have explored and written about their religion and beliefs.
1. Dorothy Sayers
Dorothy Sayers is best known for her detective series starring amateur sleuth Lord Peter Wimsey. The series includes 11 books and two short stories set between the two world wars. While the Lord Peter Wimsey series was her most well-known work, she also translated Dante‘s Divine Comedy, and wrote poetry, as well as other crime fiction. In The Mind of the Maker, one of Sayers’s more profound religious works, she veers from her regular detective fiction to reflect on faith, comparing human and art to God, the Creator.
2. Madeleine L’Engle
While many of us include Madeleine L’Engle’s Wrinkle in Time series as part of our cherished childhood memories, some critics have accused her books of being too religious. L’Engle, a devout Episcopalian, writes more directly about her beliefs and the relationship between faith and art in Walking on Water.
3. Katherine Paterson
Do you remember the first time a book made you cry? It was probably Katherine Paterson’s Bridge to Terabithia. While the children’s book dealt with adult issues, such as the death of a loved one, you may not have noticed the book’s religious undertones at the time. Paterson talks more about her faith and her beliefs in Who Am I?: Exploring What It Means to Be a Child of God.
4. C. S. Lewis
The Chronicles of Narnia remains a favorite of many children and adults alike. While the wardrobe, Narnia, and Mr. Tumnus are magical and enchanting, it has been suggested that the entire series is an allegory, with Aslan as a representation of God. While Lewis denied this, he has written many nonfiction books defending Christianity, such as Mere Christianity, The Problem of Pain, and Miracles.
5. Anne Lamott
Anne Lamott is mainly known for her nonfiction, mostly self-deprecating humorous autobiographies. She focuses on themes such as alcoholism, single-motherhood, depression, and Christianity, themes that are apparent in both her fiction and nonfiction work. Bird by Bird: Some Instructions on Writing and Life is her widely acclaimed guide to good writing. Her first fiction title, Hard Laughter, is based on events surrounding her life. In Traveling Mercies: Some Thoughts on Faith and Help Thanks Wow: The Three Essential Prayers, she shares with readers how she came to believe in God.
6. G. K. Chesterton
G. K. Chesterton is well-known for his detective thriller, The Man Who Was Thursday, as well as his Father Brown series, which follows the life of fictional detective priest Father Brown. With a priest protagonist, it’s not really a surprise that Chesterton was also a dedicated Christian. C. S. Lewis has credited Chesterton’s The Everlasting Man as one of his major influences in converting (back) to Christianity.