The Fiction Project

Hard conversations sparked by reading fiction. 



About the Fiction Project

The Fiction Project's mission is to spark conversations on hot-button topics by reading fiction. 

By the end of 2017, we want to motivate 100 people to put aside all the BS in our current political landscape and have hard conversations after reading fiction.


How It Works


You ask a fellow reader to have a conversation around a topic.


Together, you choose two or three books of fiction, each from a different time period, related to the topic.


After reading the books, you have a conversation together about the topic, guided (or not) by our discussion questions.


You sends us highlights of our discussion for our  conversations blog and then agree to take an action together.


The topics we're focusing on overlap with one another, but each has one thing in common: we rarely talk about them with people who have a different view than us, whether that view is diametrically opposite or even subtly different. These topics can make relationships, families, and friendships fall into silence. It's time for that to end. Sign up now to read and have a discussion. 

  • Citizenship
  • Families & Community

  • Religion

  • Safety & Security

  • Work & Money


Set aside the politics and pick up a book.  



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Why the Fiction Project?

Everyone is talking but they're not having conversations. With politics, we scream online, blame the other side, and ignore millions of voices. We retreat to our pre-chosen news sources and kitten videos while avoiding hard, thought-provoking discussions with friends, family and neighbors who may disagree with us.

I asked myself "When was the last time I had a substantive conversation with someone on the other side of the fence?" The answer: it had been years, if not decades. 

After the 2016 elections, I spoke with my cousin Bryn and he mentioned how much reading fiction had changed and shaped his view of people and politics. We spoke about how reading fiction allows you to be placed in the shoes of others you may not agree with on hot-button issues. Reading can be a trigger to understanding each other just a bit more. That's a good place to start a conversation.

With Justin, a friend who has been incarcerated for over 20 years, we have written letters back and forth discussing fiction and its ability to strip off layers of avoidance and get to the heart of guilt, redemption and acceptance.

In 2017, I didn't know what to do with the increasing alienation people felt but I did know that reading, especially fiction, had enthralled and provoked me throughout my life. I know there are others out there who feel the same way.  It's time for us readers to take the written word off the page and let it help shape our interaction with those around us.

Civil discourse is broken. We need hard conversations to fix it. Fiction can spark those conversations.

So, find a fellow reader and participate!

- Stephanie Engelsen, Founder


Ready to begin?


Learn more

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