Friday, July 31, 2009

Faith'n'Fiction Saturday: Diversity in Christian Fiction

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If this is your first time participating in Faith'n'Fiction, please read this post for more information.

Today's Topic
Deborah often mentions the lack of diversity in Christian fiction, and I definitely think it's something we should talk about more as I observe that many Christians do not feel that Christian fiction represents their own Christian experience.

Do you think Christian fiction represents a diverse range of belief, Christian experience, skin color, and nationality? Have you ever read a book and realized you hadn't read anything quite like it in Christian fiction before? Have you ever wished an author would take a different point of view? Do you think that avid readers of Christian fiction are open to more diversity in Christian fiction? What are some stand-out examples of books that represent diversity in Christian fiction?

My Answer

I think without a doubt that Christian fiction is way too American. There are so few books written from authors of other nationalities. Also, there are far too few books written by and for people of color. While African Americans seem to have gained good ground (with authors like Stacy Hawkins Adams and Claudia Mair Burney) Camy Tang is the only author I can think of with Asian American protagonists, and I can't think of a single Latino protagonist.

I also think that the books continue to be old school evangelical for the most part. Lisa Samson would be a notable exception to that, but there are so many different Christians! I would love to read more books from different Christian experiences.

Your Turn
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10 comments:

Deborah said...

lol to including me in the topic

Deborah said...

the only (non YA) books I can think of with a Hispanic protagonist is the Regalo Grande series by Nikki Arana

Heather said...

Amy,

I have read different christian authors, and enjoyed some of the stories, not enjoyed others. I have read authors across the board. These are the ones that I will read no matter what. What I like about these authors is that sometimes the characters are out there religious, and other times it is more about the way that they quietly live their beliefs.

Here are some authors for you to check out.

N.C. Allen (her civil war series is amazing with some very strong AA characters)
Jerry Borrowman
Betsy Brannon Green
Anita Stainsfield (her books almost always deal with a different religious principle, and real life, you will also need kleenx for some of her books)
Dean Hughes (wrote a great series about an LDS (mormon)family during WWII and how they dealt with war and being christian)

L. Diane Wolfe said...

One thing that limits Christian fiction is the strictness of what is allowed. It has to be pure as the driven snow.
And you are right, there needs to be some diversity.

L. Diane Wolfe
www.circleoffriendsbooks.blogspot.com
www.spunkonastick.net
www.thecircleoffriends.net

MizB said...

Interesting question, this week! Thanks! My answer is here: http://shouldbereading.wordpress.com/2009/08/01/fnfs-diversity-aug-1/. I've given some "suggestions" on what I'd like to see done differently, too! :P

~MizB

wordlily said...

Randy Alcorn's Safely Home has an Asian protagonist (not Asian American, though; he lives in China).

Sheila (bookjourney) said...

Wordlilly: That's right! :) That is one of my favorite all time reads. If we are talking fiction characters of other nationalitities in Christian books, I have read quite a few of those.

Dani in NC said...

I keep wanting to participate in Faith 'n' Fiction Saturday on my own blog, but I don't really have enough experience with Christian fiction yet to answer the questions. I guess I have to do more reading!

As for this question: So far, most of my Christian fiction has been confined to stories set either in Amish communities or the American west of the 1800s. I'm not sure how this happened; probably because the first work in the genre I encountered was by Janette Oke. I am a black woman but somehow I got the idea that Christian fiction was only written by old-school white women. Thanks to the comments, I have a few different authors to check out.

Julie Carobini said...

Hey Amy,

I loved writing heroine, Gaby Flores, in Truffles by the Sea (2008). She was half-mexican, half-czech, and jokingly referred to herself as a 'Chex-Mex'. She spoke English and Spanglish, and her mama made some mean enchiladas. I loved writing her because she reminded me of, well, me--and many of the diverse friends I grew up with in SoCal.

Julie C

Camy Tang said...

Thanks for mentioning me, Amy! One of the primary reasons I wrote the Sushi series is because all the Christian fiction I read that had Asian characters--and much of the mainstream fiction, too--had Asians from overseas, not Asian Americans. Asian Americans struggle with cultural identities as well as the resistance to Christianity from our mother cultures. I wanted to write about the Asian American community to open a slightly different--but very American--subculture to Christian readers.
Camy

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