Meet The Winner – Novelist Tony Bartlett!

pascaleAuthor Anthony W. Bartlett is the recipient of the 2014 Raven Award for Excellence in Arts and Entertainment for his novel Pascale’s Wager: Homelands of Heaven. The Raven Award is given annually to an artist whose work creatively represents the Raven Foundation mission to use the insights of René Girard’s mimetic theory to make religion reasonable, violence unthinkable and peace a possibility. Bartlett has created a complex and compelling dystopian world in order to explore the obstacles to peace that plague our own, and mimetic theory provides the lens he uses in his search for insight and meaning. The $2,500 prize will be presented to Bartlett. An online video interview with the author was held on February 3, 2015 at 6:30 p.m. CT. Enjoy this lively conversation.

Pascale’s Wager is set in a world dominated by brutal cold, relentless routine and hi-tech religion. The protagonists Cal and Poll live in the frozen “Homeland”, the artificially engineered last-stand of humanity on an earth devastated by storm and flood. As faith in their world gives way to doubt, Cal and Poll are thrown together on an adventure that challenges everything they had been taught to believe in. Readers, too, find themselves questioning what passes for truth in our “real world”. Bartlett’s fast paced novel raises questions about religion, violence and scapegoating, offering a profound meditation on what it means to be human in any world that justifies violence and silences its victims. Enjoy the review by Lindsey Paris-Lopez.

Anthony W. BartlettAuthor Anthony Bartlett’s previous books, Cross Purposes: The Violent Grammar of Christian Atonement and Virtually Christian: How Christ Changes Meaning and Makes Creation New, were scholarly examinations of Christianity shaped by the work of René Girard. Pascale’s Wager is his first work of fiction. Ordained to the Roman Catholic priesthood in 1973 and resigned in 1984, Bartlett spent the next five years working with homeless people in London’s East End. Prior to that time, he studied philosophy and theology in Heythrop College England and in the Lateran University Rome. He gained his PhD in Religion at Syracuse University New York in 1999. From 2005 he taught as Asst. Prof. in the Episcopal Seminary in Bexley Hall and adjunct at General Theological Seminary. In 1999 together with his wife he founded a study, prayer and healing community called Wood Hath Hope (www.woodhathhope.com) which is his primary worship community. He was also founder and board member of the mimetic theory and theology organization, Theology & Peace, and its first theologian-in-residence. He currently is helping develop a permanent center for Wood Hath Hope and continues with numerous writing projects, including “Peace Bible,” a simple narrative of the bible from the perspective of nonviolence. He blogs at http://hopeintime.com/.

Raven Award logoThe Raven Foundation is a not-for-profit educational foundation working to create lasting peace through social commentary on religion, politics and popular culture from the perspective of mimetic theory. Mimetic theory has been proven to have extraordinary explanatory power when applied to human desire and violence. Bringing that power to bear, the Raven Foundation illuminates the causes of human conflict in shared desire, the contagious nature of violence, and the pervasive presence of scapegoating in personal and group identity. Through blogs, theater commentary, live video chats on Teaching Nonviolent Atonement (at Patheos.com), and Chicago area events, the Raven Foundation explains how it is possible to create lasting peace through peaceful means. More information is available at www.ravenfoundation.org.