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BookTALK: Guest Speaker Series

This guide contains resources that complement the Guest Speaker Series sponsored by the Center for Writing and Learning Support and Barbour Library

Library & Online Resources

Dr. Ed Simon is the Executive Director of Belt Media Collaborative and the Editor-in-Chief for Belt Magazinea contributing editor for the History News Network, and a staff writer at The Millions, which the New York Times has called the “indispensable literary site.” He is the author of several books, including An Alternative History of Pittsburgh from Belt Publishing and most recently Pandemonium: A Visual History of Demonology, a work of illustrated nonfiction released by Abrams. Currently he is working on a history of apocalypticism for MIT Press, and Elysium: An Illustrated History of Angelology from Abrams, as well as the short book Relic from Bloomsbury.

His essays have appeared in The Atlantic, The Paris Review Daily, The Washington Post, Newsweek, Poetry, McSweeney’s, Aeon, Jacobin, Salon, The New Republic and The New York Times among dozens of others, while his anonymous reviews appear in Publishers Weekly.

Originally a native of Pittsburgh, he has lived in New York City, Boston, Washington DC, and now his hometown again. He holds a PhD in English from Lehigh University and has taught as a college instructor for fifteen years, in disciplines including English literature and composition, journalism, rhetoric, religious studies, and political science, at institutions including Point Park University, Duquesne University, Lehigh University, Bentley University, American University, and Mt. Aloysius College. He is an instructor in the Seminary's Doctor of Ministry in Creative Writing and Public Theology cohort. Since 2022, he has been a proud member of the board for Autumn House Press, the indispensable and venerable Pittsburgh-based non-profit publisher of fiction, non-fiction, and especially poetry.

Learn more about Ed Simon at

Preview Binding the Ghost at Google Books

Purchase a copy of Binding the Ghost at or

Select Bibliography

Most of the following books are not currently in the Barbour Library collection. The links below will take you to either (which supports local bookstores), the author's online store, or, where you can purchase the book.

Gunn, Giles B. The Pragmatist Turn : Religion, the Enlightenment, and the Formation of American Literature. Charlottesville: University of Virginia Press, 2017.

Lake, Christina Bieber. Beyond the Story : American Literary Fiction and the Limits of Materialism. Notre Dame, IN: University of Notre Dame Press, 2019.

Simon, Ed. An Alternative History of Pittsburgh. Cleveland, OH: Belt Publishing, 2021.

Simon, Ed. Binding the Ghost: Theology, Mystery, and the Transcendence of Literature. Minneapolis: Fortress Press, 2022.

Books and Media in Barbour Library

Print books below may be checked out by PTS students, faculty, and staff, as well as local area patrons who have library accounts (requires an annual fee). Media items are indicated in parentheses. Ebooks are indicated by asterisks, and are available to current PTS students, faculty, and staff only. 

More Barbour Library Resources by Subject

Click on the links below to perform subject searches in the library catalog:

Fiction -- Religious aspects -- Christianity.

Religion and literature.

Spirituality in literature.


Select Bibliography

The articles below are not available in either the print or electronic Barbour Library journal collection. Please check your local library for interlibrary loan services in order to obtain copies. PTS students, faculty, and staff may obtain the article through Barbour Library's interlibrary loan services.

Avenatti de Palumbo, Cecilia Inés. 2017. “Literature: An Important Hermeneutical Mediation for Theology.” Concilium 2017 (5): 25–33.

Leigh, David J. 1995. “Literature, Imagination, and the Study of Ultimate Reality.” Ultimate Reality and Meaning 18 (3): 222–45. 

Articles in Barbour Library

Articles that are available online have links, and are only available to current PTS students, faculty, and staff. Articles without links are in the print journal collection.

Black, Jessica E, Molly Oberstein-Allen, and Jennifer L Barnes. 2017. “Tell Me a Story: Religion, Imagination, and Narrative Involvement.” Journal for the Cognitive Science of Religion 5 (1).

Mortimer, David P. 2002. “Apocalyptic Literature: The Use of Imagination to Apprehend Meaning and Hope in Difficult Times.” The Covenant Quarterly 60 (1): 16–33.

Ward, Graham. 2010. “How Literature Resists Secularity.” Literature and Theology 24 (1): 73–88.


Ed Simon, Pittsburgh Arts & Lectures Series

Ed Simon tells the story of Pittsburgh through this exploration of its hidden histories—the LA Review of Books calls it an “epic, atomic history of the Steel City.” Accessible and funny, An Alternative History of Pittsburgh is a must-read for anyone curious about this storied city, and for Pittsburghers who think they know it all too well.


Other Links