Back in my distant teens when I started exploring paganism, there weren’t a great many books out there. A handful on Wicca, and I was at college when Emma Restall Orr’s “Druid Priestess” came out. Joining the Pagan Federation gave me access to their magazine, and that was distinct progress. I wanted to learn, and I couldn’t find the content I needed. During my twenties I did the Order of Bards, Ovates and Druids course, and read everything I could find on Druidry and still wasn’t finding what I wanted.
One of the big problems in pagan publishing have been the assumptions about who is reading the work. There are a lot of basic introduction books out there, and very little to take you beyond that. Other books are written with the assumption that the reader isn’t a pagan at all, just someone who needs more information about what ‘they’ get up to. Reading that as a pagan is weird, at best, and sometimes alienating. There are also books written about pagans by non-pagans, which can be good in terms of historical information, but it’s not our story, and tends to lack empathy.
Which is why I’m very excited about what’s currently happening on the publishing front. There have only ever been a handful of publishers carrying explicitly pagan non-fiction, of which O Books has long been one of the best. I’ve reviewed a lot of their publications over at www.druidnetwork.org and have long thought very highly of their output. Now they’ve gone further. O Books has a new imprint – Moonbooks – which is an expressly pagan line. It’s early days yet, but Emma Restall Orr and Brendan Myers should be there, Kevan Manwaring, Robin Herne, and others with books behind them. New writers coming on board are established bloggers, strong voices in pagan magazines and organisations. Folks I am hugely excited to see in print.
Moonbooks has opened a door to pagan writing, and not just the introductions, but serious, get your teeth into it kind of material. Books by pagans, for pagans, going deep into subjects and exploring all manner of ideas. O Books has a solid reputation for well written, well founded books, so I feel confident we won’t be seeing any lightweight fluff. No books of spells for teenage girls. No regurgitations of content you’ve read a dozen times other places already. As a reader, I am very much looking forward to this, as a reviewer I know I’m going to have some great content to be talking about.
It also affects me directly as a writer, because Moonbooks have agreed to take me in, and I have a book on Druidry and Meditation coming out with them next January. But even if I didn’t, I would still be very excited about what this development means for the pagan community. I’m hoping to lure some Moonbooks folks over to guest blog and do interviews with me.
Look out for Moonbooks on facebook – if you like their page you’ll see regular give aways and chances to win. By the looks of it, there’s a real community forming here, and scope to share thinking in all kinds of ways. Exciting times ahead, I feel, at a time when the larger community really needs an alternative story to the narrative of greed and consumption currently dominating people’s perspectives.