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113—Can a Novelist “Create” a Saint?—Joshua Hren

By Catholic Culture Podcast ( bio - articles - email ) | Aug 26, 2021 | In The Catholic Culture Podcast

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In his new book How to Read (and Write) Like a Catholic, fiction writer and editor Joshua Hren lays out an approach to Catholic literature that spans all the way from St. John Henry Newman called “a record of man in rebellion” to the other end of the continuum, which is a representation of the Beatific Vision. Topics discussed include:

  • How important is beauty to fiction? Will beauty save the world?
  • The importance of particularity; Carmelite vs. Ignatian views of imagination
  • Newman and Augustine on the uses, limitations, and dangers of indulging sentiments about fictional characters
  • Can the action of grace be dramatized? Can the life of holiness be fictionalized?
  • The depiction of repentance, conversion and the lasting effects of sin in authors like Balzac and O’Connor

Joshua Hren is the founder and editor of Wiseblood Books as well as, with James Matthew Wilson, founder of a new creative writing MFA program at the University of St. Thomas in Houston, which is also discussed in the episode.


How to Read (and Write) Like a Catholic

MFA program

Wiseblood Books

Listen to Newman’s sermon “The Danger of Accomplishments” at Catholic Culture Audiobooks

Read “The Danger of Accomplishments”

Previous interview with Joshua Hren, “The Flannery-Haunted World”

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Theme music: “Franciscan Eyes”, written and performed by Thomas Mirus. Download the Catholic Culture Podcast soundtrack.

Thomas V. Mirus is Director of Podcasts for, hosts The Catholic Culture Podcast, and co-hosts Criteria: The Catholic Film Podcast. See full bio.

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