Novel Thoughts blog

Continuing the Catholic Literary Tradition in London

June 2, 2014 6:49 am | 2 Comments


You are cordially invited to St. Paul’s Book Shop in London, England this June 7 at 4 PM to hear Fiorella de Maria and Dorothy Cummings McLean read from our Ignatius Press novels.

Naturally, you will prefer to be in London already. London is rather far for most Ignatius Press fans to travel just to hear us read. I indeed, it is too far for me to go just to read. I will be taking the train from Edinburgh on Friday night, visiting a museum or two on Saturday morning, agitating to see a play on Saturday night and then generally rushing about attending Mass and seeing people and places until I take the train back to Edinburgh on Sunday evening. I haven’t been to London since 1996, but I hear it has changed a bit.

Fiorella de Maria will be reading from both Poor Banished Children and Do No Harm. I shall read from Ceremony of Innocence. A harpist will play. There will be opportunities to ask questions. There may even be copies of our novels for sale.  If so, we could sign them for you.

Afterwards, like true daughters of Chesterton, we shall go to a pub and have a good chat.

If you could meet an English-speaking Catholic novelist, living or dead, in London, who would you meet, and what would you ask him or her? I think I would be too frightened to speak to irascible Evelyn Waugh, but I am sure Graham Greene would be charming, especially if I wore a  flattering dress. I would ask Muriel Spark about growing up in Edinburgh and why she preferred London. I would most definitely ask Sir Arthur Conan Doyle if it  were true that he was expelled from Stoneyhurst, the English Jesuit boys’ school, for holding a sceance in the priests’ graveyard. (I realize I am being very inclusive in regarding ACD as a Catholic, but I very much want to know if the graveyard story is true.)

I am of two minds about wanting to meet the great GKC. On the one hand, he is very loveable. On the other hand, he would think I shouldn’t vote. I think I should vote…and if you want to continue the discussion, please come to St. Paul’s Book Shop in London on Saturday at 4 PM. It is right by Westminster Cathedral.

Dorothy Cummings McLean

Dorothy Cummings McLean

Dorothy Cummings McLean is a Canadian writer living in Scotland. Her first novel with Ignatius Press is Ceremony of Innocence. She has been a regular contributor to The Catholic Register (Toronto). Her first book, Seraphic Singles: How I Learned to Stop Worrying and Love the Single Life, is a popular work of nonfiction.

Tags: Catholic culture Catholic literature England Evelyn Waugh


  1. June 3, 2014 at 9:19 am

    I’d want to meet Sir Arthur and GK together to debate the Best Detective. Or, rather, to watch them debate. “Well, the problem with Sherlock,” Chesterton would say, “Is that he doesn’t understand humanity.”

    “Exactly,” Doyle would respond. “That’s why he needs Watson.”

    Or would he? I don’t know! That’s why it’d be great.

  2. June 7, 2014 at 4:18 pm

    GKC would insist you vote in our times. He spoke with a view from his times, vastly different mind set. Thanks for your posts!

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