Canongate to publish Pullman on God
07.09.09 Catherine Neilan
Canongate is to publish "a remarkable new piece of fiction" by famously atheistic Philip Pullman, in which he challenges the events of the Gospels, and puts forward his own "compelling and plausible version". Publisher Jamie Byng acquired world rights to the book, for an undisclosed sum, via Caradoc King at AP Watt. Entitled The Good Man Jesus and the Scoundrel Christ, the book "throws down a challenge and does what all great books do: make the reader ask questions," said Byng.
He added: "Philip Pullman has written a book of genuine importance, a radical and ingenious retelling of the life of Jesus that demystifies and illuminates this most famous and influential of stories. It strips Christianity bare, exposes the Gospels to a new light and succeeds brilliantly as a work of literature because it is convincing, thought-provoking, profoundly moving and beautifully nuanced throughout."
Pullman said: "The story I tell comes out of the tension within the dual nature of Jesus Christ, but what I do with it is my responsibility alone. Parts of it read like a novel, parts like a history, and parts like a fairy tale; I wanted it to be like that because it is, among other things, a story about how stories become stories."
The title will be published as part of the Canongate Myths series next Easter. It will be released simultaneously in America by Grove Atlantic, in Australia and New Zealand by Text, and Random House imprint Knopf in Canada, as well as "a number" of other international publishers.