Category Archives: Announcement

The Devoted, by Blair Hurley

First-time novelist Hurley, a Pushcart Prize winner, has written about a subject that is not new in the Zen community: sexual abuse by a Zen Master. But the way she approaches the subject and her description of the psychological hold the Master has on his student is original.

Here is what the publisher, W. W. Norton, says about THE DEVOTED:

“A spellbinding confession of what it means to abandon one life for another, The Devoted asks what it takes, and what you’ll sacrifice, to find enlightenment.

“Nicole Hennessy’s life revolves around her Zen practice at the Boston Zendo, seeking solace in the tenets of Buddhism to the chagrin of her Irish Catholic family. After a decade of grueling spiritual practice under her Master’s tutelage, living on a shoestring budget as a shop clerk, Nicole has become dangerously entangled with her mentor. As Nicole confronts her past—a drug-fueled year spent fleeing her family’s loaded silences and guilt-laden “Our Fathers”—and reinvents herself in New York City, her Master’s intoxicating voice pursues her, an electrifying whisper on the other end of the phone. Somehow, he knows everything.

“In deft, soaring prose that bristles with psychological and erotic tension, Blair Hurley crafts a thrilling exploration of Nicole’s ecstatic quest for spirituality.”

THE DEVOTED will be reviewed here following release, expected in August. It can be pre-ordered from many sources.

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Shambhala Publications Launches a New Imprint for Children

This fall, Shambhala Publications will launch a children’s imprint called Bala Kids. The aim of the imprint is to inspire “the next generation through the Buddhist values of compassion and wisdom. ”  Shambhala has put out a call for submissions for this children’s picture book series which will also award a book prize. Here is the link to the call and I have copied the information below: https://www.shambhala.com/call-for-submissions-bala-kids-the-khyentse-foundation-childrens-book-prize/

Just last November I presented a paper about Buddhist fiction and young adult literature (YAL) at Buddhism and Youth: A Symposium at the University of British Columbia for the 7th Annual Tung Lin Kok Yuen Canada Foundation Conference hosted by The Robert H. N. Ho Family Foundation Program in Buddhism and Contemporary Society of UBC. In a session entitled “Literary Adventures,” my presentation lamented a lack of Buddhist fiction intersecting with YAL.  Other presentations, however, focused on Buddhist literature for children, which is apparently growing. Buddhist Anglophile literature is indeed growing in the West for readers of all ages.

Thank you to my friend James for alerting me to this great news.

Copy of the call for submissions . . . .

Call for Submissions: Bala Kids & The Khyentse Foundation Children’s Book Prize

We are delighted to announce that Shambhala is launching a children’s imprint named Bala Kids in the Fall of 2018. Bala Kids will be devoted to inspiring the next generation through the Buddhist values of compassion and wisdom.

With a shared vision to inspire and educate generations to come, and to encourage the development of Buddhist resources for parents and children, Khyentse Foundation and Bala Kids are teaming up to offer the Khyentse Foundation Children’s Book Prize for the best Buddhist children’s book manuscript. Submissions of exceptional stories for children ages 0–8, both fiction and nonfiction, from all Buddhist traditions, are warmly welcomed, and new authors are especially encouraged to apply. The winning submission will receive a prize of $5,000 and will be offered a publishing contract from Bala Kids.

Guidelines

  • Content: Any complete manuscript in English for a picture book for children ages 0-8, expressing Buddhist values, themes, and traditions, is welcome. Submissions on secular mindfulness, meditation, or yoga will not be considered for this award.
  • Format: The book should be conceived as a full-color, full-size standard children’s picture book (not a board book). The exact trim size and page number will depend on the content and will be determined by the publisher, but generally the book should be conceived as ranging between 24 and 48 pages.
  • Illustrations: The prize is offered for the manuscript itself, which may or may not be submitted with illustrations, although submission of illustrations (with permissions cleared) is encouraged. Choosing the final illustrations for the book will be the responsibility of the publisher.
  • Consideration: All submissions will be reviewed by both Khyentse Foundation and Bala Kids, and will be assessed based on their creativity, message, and significance. It is possible that Bala Kids will make publication offers to multiple submissions; however, the Children’s Book Prize will be awarded to only one recipient. If there are no submissions that meet the standards of Khyentse Foundation and Bala Kids, the prize will be withheld until there is a new round of open submissions.
  • Contract: The winner of the prize will be offered a publishing contract by Bala Kids. All terms and conditions of the contract offer will be worked out between the author(s) and the publisher. Khyentse Foundation will not be directly involved in this process.

How To Submit

All manuscripts, along with accompanying illustrations, should be submitted with a cover letter that includes a short author biography, book summary, and the intended message of the book.

Please e-mail submissions to balakids@shambhala.com with the subject line: KF Book Prize Submission.

The winning author will be notified by May 15, 2018.

Closing date: February 15, 2018

Prize award: $5,000 and publication offer with Bala Kids

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From Fiction to Film – The First Rule of Ten

An acquaintance from my doctoral fieldwork days emailed me last week to let me know of an upcoming television mystery series based on works of Buddhist fiction. He had read the announcement on the buddhistdoor news page and thought I should know. He was right. Thanks go out to D. for the heads up!

If you’re like me and you feel the need to read the original novel of a movie or television series before watching the story brought to life on film, then you will want to read The First Rule of Ten: A Tenzing Norbu Mystery series by Gay Hendricks and Tinker Lindsay. Ten, short for Tenzing, is the ex-monk protagonist of this mystery series published by Hay House in 2011. There are now five novels in the series, each based around a theme or “rule” that Ten espouses and/or learns as part of the novel. Ten’s first rule is “Don’t ignore intuitive tickles lest they reappear as sledgehammers.” This series is another example of the intersection of Buddhism and mystery I wrote about in July 2016 that creatively links Buddhist experience to the types of reasoning skills and intuition required to deal with enigmatic situations. You can find the Tenzing Norbu Mystery series on dharmadetective.com or the Hay House website or Amazon.

I have yet to find a date to mark on a calendar for the airing of the first episode, but viewers are excited that Daniel Dae Kim who owns 3AD production company –  the same company behind the popular television series The Good Doctor – is developing The First Rule of Ten. You can read more about it here: http://deadline.com/2018/01/daniel-dae-kim-developing-tv-adaptation-first-rule-of-ten-based-on-book-1202241106/

As an aside, it’s interesting to note that Hendricks’ and Lindsay’s novels are categorized as “spiritual fiction” by the publisher. What do you make of this?

 

Buddhist Literary Festival – Toronto, ON, Canada 24 September 2017

I’m pleased to announce what I hope is the first of many Buddhist Literary Festivals to be held in conjunction with the Word on the Street Book and Magazine Festival in Toronto, Ontario, Canada on 24 September, 2017.  This inaugural event is founded and coordinated by Professor Suwanda Sugunasiri, himself an author of Buddhist fiction, poetry, and academic works. If you’re in the area, stop by!

Oxford Bibliographies in Buddhism: “Buddhism and Modern Literature”

buddhismI am very proud to announce the publication of my Oxford Bibliographies in Buddhism article “Buddhism and Modern Literature.” It came online yesterday and I am excited to see how it develops over the next few years, since I am sure I will have to add to it as Buddhism continues to intersect with modern literature in a multitude of forms and ways. The citations cover Buddhism in modern fiction, poetry, creative non-fiction, autobiography and biography from around the globe. Have a look here: Buddhism and Modern Literature.

And I am particularly fond of a reference under the heading “Literary Fiction” that our readers might remember from the Buddhist Fiction Blog:

Beal, Chris. “An Interview with Ruth Ozeki about Her New Novel: A Tale for the Time Being.” Buddhist Fiction Blog (10 April 2013).        This engaging interview reveals the Zen aspects, influences, and nuances of Ozeki’s award-winning novel A Tale for the Time Being (2013). Beal’s well-honed questions solicit deep and provocative answers about Zen Buddhism, fiction, and philosophy.

Another reference that might interest Buddhist Fiction Blog readers can be found under the heading “Cross-Genre Fiction”:

Beek, Kimberly. “Telling Tales Out of School: The Fiction of Buddhism.” In Buddhism beyond Borders: New Perspectives on Buddhism in the United States. Edited by Mitchell Scott and Quli Natalie, 125–142. Albany: State University of New York Press, 2015.     Beek examines the reception of Buddhist stories narrated inside and outside of Asian contexts by comparing the different reflections of Buddhism in Amy Tan’s Asian American novel The Kitchen God’s Wife (1991) and Keith Kachtick’s Buddhist-infused novel Hungry Ghost (2004), suggesting the emergence of Buddhist fiction.

The whole bibliographic article contains over 80 citations to general overviews, anthologies, primary works, articles, dissertations, web sites, etc. that outline the depth and breadth of Buddhism and Modern Literature. If you cannot access the entire article directly from the Oxford Bibliographies web site, you can probably access it through an institutional library. Happy perusing!!

Sumeru Press Looking for Contributors to “The Little Book of Buddhist Humor”

The call for contributions to The Little Book of Buddhist Humor went out on the Sumeru web site in November of 2013 and I am just now getting to post about it. The post by Yönten (John Negru) at the blog link reads:

“Dear Dharma friends and colleagues:

Sumeru Books is collecting a series of anecdotal stories for inclusion in a book we are editing with Charles Prebish, called “The Little Book of Buddhist Humor.” In difficult times, we feel that the Buddhist world has the opportunity to contribute to and inject some happy, Buddhist-inspired humor into our everyday lives.

As such, we’re inviting any of you who have clever, funny, silly, and laughable stories that you have experienced in your personal and/or professional work and practice in Buddhism to submit these short episodes to us for possible inclusion. We are looking for stories from Buddhist teachers, scholars and sangha members. Maybe something really funny happened to you at a Buddhist center, or something humorous occurred while attending a professional conference, or a personal communication involving Buddhism brought a silly smile to your face. We’ll collect the best of those stories submitted and publish them in our book.

Please make sure the stories are no more than three pages long, remain in good taste, and represent anecdotes that you are comfortable sharing. They may be submitted to Charles Prebish (charles.prebish@usu.edu) or to me (john@sumeru-books.com), and should be submitted by Wesak 2014 (May 14).

We truly hope to make this a FUN project that will bring smiles to people worldwide, and we’ll be so grateful for any stories you may provide that will help us achieve our goal.

P.S. If you don’t have a story to share, you can still help out by spreading the word (click the buttons below to share this on social media or email it to friends/sanghas/etc).”

There is still plenty of time to contribute to this worthwhile project! Yönten’s post started me thinking about humorous episodes in works of Buddhist fiction. There are many novels and short stories with scenes that have made me chortle or laugh out loud. How about you, dear reader? Have you any favourite, humorous passages from works of Buddhist fiction? I would like to hear about them, or perhaps you can go to the link above and suggest something be added to The Little Book of Buddhist Humor. At the very least, please smile and share the request for contribution 🙂

Cloud Atlas the Movie

David Mitchell’s novel Cloud Atlas is listed on this web site as a work of Buddhist fiction because it has been suggested as such by readers and reviewers. Now it’s a major motion picture in almost every theater in North America, except for the cinema in the small Canadian city in which I live. Since I am unable to see the movie at this time, I thought I would write a quick post to highlight this review of Cloud Atlas from the Buddhist website wildmind.org: http://www.wildmind.org/blogs/book-reviews/drops-in-the-ocean

The reviewer Danayama states directly that “Though Cloud Atlas is not a Buddhist book, I found certain Dharmic themes reflected in the prose. The strongest of these is the Three Characteristics of Conditioned Existence (impermanence, non-substantiality and unsatisfactoriness), which seem woven throughout the narratives.” This review really made me think about what, in fact, is Buddhist and what is not. I haven’t come to any clear conclusions yet but if any readers out there have answers to this question I would really appreciate reading your thoughts.