Nonfiction: Sunday Service, Northern England

What happens when anthropologists are thrown the challenge of writing ‘suddenly’?

Flash fiction is an art form of few words – sometimes as quick as a tweet, sometimes a comparatively more lingering thousand. It’s possible to wring every evocation out of just a small wash of words (and my creative writing colleague Kay Are insists that a novel is just too long). But, that’s fiction. What about nonfiction? What about ethnography?

The editorial team at Anthropology and Humanism have just released a special issue on ‘sudden anthropology’. The challenge to get my ethnography on quickly was one I couldn’t resist, and my piece ‘Sunday Service, Northern England’ features in the issue. This brisk little contribution tells a story of bad weather, bad tempers, nefarious plots, barking dogs, life, death, secularisation theory and swanky apartments … all in a one tram stop reading time.

There’s contributions by my New Zealand crew Graeme MacRae and Mythily Meher, too.