Towards a Literature that is Catholic, with Barbara Nicolosi

30K for Christ

Barbara Nicolosi of Act One has graciously invited us to share the transcript of her recent workshop at the 2012 Catholic Writers Conference Online, “Towards a Literature that is Catholic”.

What is Catholic Literature?  She writes:

 I want to say that I object to the basic notion of us writing stuff just for us. I don’t see the great Catholics who were writers in ages past doing this. Dante wrote for everyone. Shakespeare wrote for everyone. Evelyn Waugh’s “Brideshead Revisited” was for anyone. Graham Greene’s “The Power and the Glory” was not “for the Christian market.” And then there is Flannery O’Connor. (all bow)

I think that great writing is great writing – it is beautiful, it is profound, it is about men and God and the cosmos. If a book is unintelligible to other men because it is so rooted in our subculture, than it seems to me to be a bad work.

On the discouragement Catholic writers receive from secular publishers:

My theory is that the secular world is not anti-Catholic as much as it is anti-bad art.

How does fiction work?

 . . . the real power in a work of fiction is not what you say to the audience. The real power is what you get the audience to say to themselves.

Read the entire transcript by clicking on the Word document link: Towards a Literature that is Catholic with Barbara Nicolosi.doc.    Please note the transcript is copyrighted 2012 Barbara Nicolosi and The Catholic Writers Guild.  While we encourage you to read and enjoy the transcript, do not reproduce it without Barbara Nicolosi’s permission.  Thanks!


Barbara Nicolosi is the Founder and Chair Emeritus of Act One, Inc., a nonprofit program to train Christians for careers as Hollywood writers and executives. She currently serves as the Executive Director of the Galileo Studio at Azusa Pacific University. Barbara is a member of the Writers Guild of America-West and has written several screenplays for various Hollywood production companies. Her most recent credit will be as a co-writer with Benedict Fitzgerald on the 2013 Lionsgate release, Mary, Mother of the Christ.

Barbara has an M.A. in Cinema from Northwestern University, and a B.A. from Magdalen College in Warner, NH. She is an professor of cinema at Pepperdine University and Azusa Pacific University. She won Catholic Press Awards in 2001 and 2002 for her contributions to various Catholic magazines, and is the co-editor of the Baker Books 2006 release, Behind the Screen: Hollywood Insiders on Faith and Culture.

About Jennifer Fitz

Jennifer Fitz is the author of Classroom Management for Catechists. She writes on religion at her Patheos blog, Sticking the Corners.
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