Last night, Philip Pullman, was a guest of honour at Kulturhuset in Stockholm. A venue he knows very well, as it is where he held his award lecture when he was in Stockholm to receive the Astrid Lindgren Memorial Award in 2005.
This time, however, he was invited to speak about his latest book: The Good Man Jesus and the Scoundrel Christ. He did so in conversation with journalist and writer Johanna Koljonen. The auditorium was filled to the last seat with an audience eager to hear what Philip Pullman had to say about his controversial book.
He explained that the idea for the book was sparked by a comment from the Archbishop of Canterbury, who at a meeting asked Philip Pullman how he felt about Jesus Christ. The book is not a gospel, it doesn’t want to convince the reader that it contains the truth. In contrary, the book is part of the myth project, initiated by Canongate. Philip Pullman himself calls it a what if-book. A book which makes the reader think about how stories become stories. Here you can listen to Philip Pullman talking about the book in Swedish news. Fastforward to 10:13.
During the talk, Philip Pullman revealed that he is currently working on three projects. One is the eagerly awaited companion to the His Dark Materials-trilogy, the second is an original filmscript and finally – a retelling of the fairytales collected by Brothers Grimm. Philip Pullman has selected about 75 stories that he will retell, in the same way that the stories once where retold orally from person to person. Which story is his favorite? The Juniper Tree – the grimmest of the Grimm!