Spreading the word: Scott Morrison eyes booming Christian book market

Spreading the word: Scott Morrison eyes booming Christian book market

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Former prime minister Scott Morrison says the book he is writing about his religious faith will be marketed to Christians in Australia, the United States and around the world.

And he’s promised the book, which will be published on May 21, 2024, will be “quite unlike any other book written by a prime minister”.

Former prime minister Scott Morrison delivers a sermon at Perth’s Encounter City Church on Sunday.Credit: YouTube

The 288-page book, Plans for Your Good – A Prime Minister’s Testimony of God’s Faithfulness, is being published by Thomas Nelson, a division of HarperCollins Christian Publishing.

Morrison confirmed the book would be marketed in the booming US religious publishing market, where sales of religious books reached $US757 million ($1.175 billion) in 2022, after a 15 per cent sales surge between 2019 and 2021 that Publishers’ Weekly credited to the pandemic.

“It has been written with a broader audience in mind,” Morrison said. “It hasn’t been written to be available only in bookshops in Canberra. Particularly in the US, but beyond that too.”

The former prime minister, the first Pentecostal Christian to serve in the nation’s highest political office, has said the manuscript was “basically done” and was with his editors at Thomas Nelson.

“Most [former prime ministers] do write books about their lives, there is nothing wrong with that, there have been some excellent works, John Howard’s most notably. But this is me telling about how my faith has sustained me through my life,” he said.

“It has applications for people who share my faith and not just for people who go to churches such as mine; it’s for anyone with a Christian faith or broader spiritual interests. People may have been aware of how important faith was in my life, and this is a much longer version of that.”

Morrison’s faith has long been a defining feature of his life, as he made clear in his first speech to parliament, and while prime minister he continued to participate in and lead a parliamentary prayer group.

During the 2019 election campaign he visited his church on Easter Sunday and, after securing a come-from-behind victory, famously declared the win was a “miracle”.

Prime Minister Scott Morrison during an Easter Sunday service at his Horizon Church at Sutherland in Sydney in 2019.Credit: AAP

Thomas Nelson’s website promises the book will offer a unique insider’s account from a Christian prime minister who was open about his faith and who led Australia during one of the toughest periods since the Second World War, covering drought, wildfires, a global pandemic and recession.

It is billed as “less political memoir and more pastoral encouragement”, and the former Liberal leader sets out a series of questions such as “Who am I?” and “How should I live?” and seeks to answer them.

According to Nielsen Bookscan figures from 2020, the year Malcolm Turnbull’s memoir A Bigger Picture was published, the best-selling prime ministerial autobiography in recent years remains Gough Whitlam’s 1979 book The Truth of the Matter, which has sold more than 150,000 copies, while Kevin Rudd’s two volumes, Not for the Faint-Hearted (2017) and The PM Years (2018), managed only 8260 and 5750 sales respectively.

Since losing the prime ministership, Morrison has signed on with the US-based Worldwide Speakers Group, delivered speeches in Britain about the AUKUS defence partnership he helped to create and delivered sermons at a number of churches.

While his imminent departure from office has been widely tipped several times since his election defeat on May 21, 2022, he insists he still gets satisfaction from his role as the backbencher member for Cook.

On Sunday, Morrison delivered a 20-minute sermon at the Pentecostal Encounter City Church in Perth, saying that “after I stepped down as prime minister, [I was asked] to come and say a few words”.

He told the congregation that “the Christian journey is not linear. Ever. I know. It’s up, it’s down, it’s around.”

He urged them to be resolute: “especially in the world today, which is increasingly hostile and more overt about it. For us, as believers, I think it’s important for us to stand and to hold fast.”

Morrison also backed the Liberal Party’s 2022 Pearce candidate, Linda Aitken, who is seeking re-election as the mayor of the City of Wanneroo, arguing she would give favour to church building approvals.

“This isn’t a political message, but new church buildings need building and development approvals,” Morrison joked.

“You want to see the favour on that approval? Vote one, Linda Aitken.”

He later clarified it was said in jest.

with AAP

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