Has God been to Wigan?

Garry Cook and (below) the cover of his book
Garry Cook and (below) the cover of his book

DO you believe in God? Have you ever wondered why God has never shown Himself in your town?

Grace Green has. In fact, she thought about nothing else for longer than any teenager should. Every night, she asked the same question: “God, have you ever been to Wigan?”

God, have you ever been to Wigan?

God, have you ever been to Wigan?

God has been asked a lot of questions – but never such an unusual one. To Grace’s dismay, her question was not answered. So, she did what any teenage girl from Wigan would do – she organised a demonstration asking for God to prove he exists.

Her idea captured the imagination of other young people across the world and inspired a generation to hold their own protests. From the West Bank to India, Grace Green found herself a figure of inspiration.

If this sounds like fiction, that’s because it is.

God, have you ever been to Wigan? is a short story examining the themes of God, religion and faith within society written by Preston-based author Garry Cook.

Garry, 40, has released his book in the hope of changing people’s perceptions on how people view religion.

Teenager Grace, who lives in town, ends up becoming a global faith embassador after demonstrating her beliefs about her God.

But what spurred her on to start such a movement?

Gary explained: “I originally thought of the idea from watching the news after recently seeing numerous demonstrations and activists from real-life important situations such as the new Delhi gang rape. With my writing I wanted to draw people’s attention to some wider issues which they sometimes question or talk about.

“For example science. But for some reason there are still some topics which people are afraid to question such as religion. There seems to be a fear about God, but it is thing which exists throughout the world in many different forms.

“So I thought it only natural to make people question who is God to them? It’s not about having a God who dictates, but somebody who lives amongst us. To one person, God may be their spouse or loved one, and to another it may be someone or something in a different life.

“But everybody has their own ideal of religion. Therefore I wanted the story to have a moral message as well as hopefully be entertaining.

“I decided to create the story to look through the eyes of a young, innocent girl who asks herself if God exists and asks god to show himself in her hometown of Wigan.”

The book sees the journey of Grace beginning a small-scale demonstration about God in Wigan and contacting the local media before her passion is pursued my many on a large-scale across the country.

Grace then develops into a world-wide icon through the power of demonstration.

The book has been produced not only to enlighten people’s senses about an otherwise feared subject, but it also aims to unite the community and bring pride to the borough.

Garry began writing after studying at university. Although having never lived in the borough but having travelled here frequently, he regards it as one of his favourite places in the country.

Garry added: “I chose the town as I believes it represents Britain as a whole. It’s similar to many throughout the country but I believe the borough has such a big arts and culture scene and I wanted to be a part of that.

“It’s very vibrant and inspiring and I suppose the town is ahead of others in that respect, therefore I found it the perfect location to base the book.

“I have been a writer for more than 20 years now but it’s only been in the past 10 years, since I started work as a photographer, did I become more interested in serious and social issues such as alcohol, science, religion and sex etc.

“It’s this which spurred me on to begin writing short stories about such topics.” Aimed at both young and old, ‘God, have you ever been to Wigan?’ is now available in both book and kindle version on Amazon. And just weeks after its release, it has already charted number one in its kindle section.