Quaker mentions, 2013, part 1

by Jez Smith

A long-intended rarely written Nayler article this, aiming to cover Quakers mentions in the public consciousness and media.

First up this week is Tracy Chevalier’s new novel, The Last Runaway. The protagonist is a British Quaker, Honor Bright, who moves to the US in the mid 1800s and helps slaves reach freedom. But the Canadian Chronicle Herald isn’t impressed, stating that Honor is ‘flat and dull’ and the quilting theme feels ‘obvious, annoying and overdone.’

With same-sex marriage on the parliamentary agenda, Quakers are getting lots of mentions, along with the Liberal Jews and Unitarians. Quakers in Britain’s recording clerk was rejoicing in Pink News at how far they had got, just a week or so ago. But the Quakers aren’t all that says Tim Stanley in The Telegraph. “Today’s Quakers might seem a dwindling sect bordering on agnosticism,” he says, despite their firebrand past.

A month or so ago Clare Balding, taking over from Aled Jones on BBC Radio 2’s Good Morning Sunday, announced that she wanted to cover all sorts of religion, including the Quakers. She didn’t take long to be true to her word, interviewing Sheila Hancock.

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