People of the Book
A Blog about Book Publishing from a Catholic Perspective

The Bishop’s Novel

February 22nd, 2007

Myers Some bishops play golf or go fishing in their spare time. Archbishop John Myers of Newark has been writing a science fiction novel. The title is Space Vultures. Co-author Gary Wolf, a lifelong friend of the bishop’s, says the book is an old-fashioned pulp sci-fi tale. “It has attacks in space, flesh-eating vampires. You name it it’s in there,” he says. The story is a fast-paced intergalactic tale about a heroic marshal and a con man, who team up with a widow and her two children to fight the Space Vulture, the “most villainous marauder in the cosmos,” according to Wolf.

The book will be published late this year or early in 2008 by Tom Doherty Associates. Bishop Myers and Wolf got an advance in “the low six figures” according to press reports.

Many priests have written popular novels. (Think Andrew Greeley, who got his start years ago when my boss, Tom McGrath, then editor of U.S. Catholic, published his first short story.) But not many bishops have become novelists. Only Cardinal John Henry Newman comes to mind.


  1. Fr. Jim Stehly wrote,

    Cardinals Spellman and Wiseman tried their hand at it. Spellman in particular didn’t cover himself in glory with the experiment. Here’s a bit from Flannery O’Connor’s HABIT OF BEING: “The Tates sent me the piece in the NEW REPUBLIC about orthodoxy and the standard of literature. I wrote Caroline that I liked the piece but that my line about the Cardinal was: if we must have trash this is the kind of trash that we ought to have. Of course this was the wrong thing to say to them and I got a letter back from them saying Allen said we shouldn’t have trash in the first place and the Cardinal was the last person who should write it in the second. … I shudder to think what would happen if Francis Cardinal acquainted himself with the masters of the novel in the 19th century.”

    Comment on February 22, 2007 @ 9:44 am

  2. Jim Manney wrote,

    Thank you, Fr. Stehly. I’d forgotten about Cardinal Spellman’s novel THE FOUNDLING. For good reason, it seems. Here’s what TIME said about it in 1951: “Nobody expects a cardinal to be able to write a great novel, and The Foundling leaves that solid assumption undisturbed.” Perhaps Archbishop Myers will fare better with the critics.

    Comment on February 22, 2007 @ 1:16 pm

  3. mike wrote,

    Newman wasn’t a bishop, was he?

    Comment on March 2, 2007 @ 7:31 am

  4. Jim Manney wrote,

    You are correct, Mike. Newman was cardinal, but never ordained a bishop.

    Comment on March 4, 2007 @ 7:55 pm

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