Monthly Archives: January 2013

Conversations with Francesca Hampton, Author of Buddha on a Midnight Sea

Dear Francesca,

First I must thank-you, so very much, for participating in what amounts to an on-line author reading of your short story collection Buddha on a Midnight Sea for the Buddhist Fiction Blog. While our blog readers are not in your immediate presence to hear you read your stories, your voice comes through them so clearly that I, for one, feel as if I have benefited from knowing you for some time.

Second, I’m sure you will join me in encouraging all readers to post their questions about the collection of stories in Buddha On a Midnight Sea to the Buddhist Fiction Blog to engage in conversation with you. I know you are excited to hear feedback.

And so we come to the third point, my initial question for authors of Buddhist fiction, which is usually “who is your intended audience?”. Alas, you already answer this question quite eloquently in your preface when you note that you “imagined the stories as a break time activity in the context of a Lam Rim (Stages of the Path) retreat or other less intensive Buddhist religious gathering of several days duration, a relaxation activity to inspire practice even as the reader was entertained, and I still hope someday they may be. But I have discovered, sharing them informally with others over the years, that they are also helpful to those who wish a glimpse of the Buddhist path before treading it, or even just a story that brings some lightening of the heart or a useful idea of two in a time of trouble. I have learned that some of the stories have already been shared in study groups and prisons and even added to required reading lists in college courses” (Hampton, Buddha on a Midnight Sea, x – xi).

So my initial question is a bit trickier, I guess: Do you think of your stories as representing or carrying the dharma? If so, how?

I look forward to your response and a great discussion about your work.

Special Invitation for Currently Reading: Buddha on a Midnight Sea by Francesca Hampton

Happy New Year! This month I’m going to read Francesca Hampton’s collection of short stories in Buddha on a Midnight Sea. The poignant, insightful short stories in this collection are the result of Ms. Hampton’s unique creative writing talent combined with her belief in the efficacy of Buddhist narrative, both honed over four decades of Buddhist practice and experiences all over the world. In particular, Ms. Hampton has a talent for deep characterization and vivid description that acts as a conduit allowing readers to live through the characters. This is a skill that is difficult to cultivate in any form, but most especially in short story.

OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERAFor this particular “Currently Reading” experience I have a special invitation for you. Ms. Hampton has agreed to discuss her stories with Buddhist Fiction Blog readers, so I invite you to purchase a copy of Buddha on a Midnight Sea at these links:


Barnes and Noble:

Ms. Hampton has also provided a link to the short story “Teachers” here:

and to the short story “In the City of the Queen of Angels” here:

both of which are part of the collection in Buddha on a Midnight Sea. You can also review the author’s online page here:

Once we have all had time to read the stories, I start the ‘review’ of the Buddha on a Midnight Sea collection on 30 January 2013 by opening up a discussion with Ms. Hampton that I’m sure will be even more engaging if you jump in. I sincerely hope that you will join me in reading these short stories and discussing them with Ms. Hampton a couple of weeks from now.