‘The Shack’ author Paul Young coming to Messiah College

I admit that I was not all that familiar with Canadian Paul Young or his self-published New York Times’ bestselling book, “The Shack.”

That is, until a co-worker pointed out last week that Young will appear at Messiah College at 7:30 p.m. April 12.

Young’s story provides a lesson in the good and bad that humans are capable of when confronted with the temptations of fame and fortune.

A former office manager and hotel night clerk, initially published “The Shack” as a Christmas gift for his six children only. The title of the book is a metaphor for “the house you build out of your own pain”, as Young has explained. Young endured the tragic deaths of three family members.

The novel tells the story of Mackenzie Philips, a father of five, called “Mack” by his family and friends. Mack faces family tragedy and interacts with Jesus Christ in a dreamlike sequence.

Several friends read the book and urged Young to publish it for the general public. In 2006, Young worked with Wayne Jacobsen, Brad Cummings (both former pastors from Los Angeles) and Bobby Downes (filmmaker) to find a publisher. They had no success with either religious or secular publishers, so they formed Windblown Media.

Cummings spent the maximum credit limit on 12 personal credit cards in order to publish the book.

After initially drawing little attention, “The Shack” took off in the summer 2008. It went on to sell 18 million copies and spend months atop the New York Times’ bestseller list. Young, 58, who had worked three jobs, quit them all.

Sadly, the storybook success of “The Shack” did not have a happy ending for the men who bet on its message.

As reported by the LA Times, Young claimed that he was owed $8 million in royalties, and Jacobsen and Cummings filed a suit against Young. Hachette, the commercial publisher involved, asked the court to determine to whom it should pay royalties from the book. The case was later settled.

Have you read “The Shack?”

About John Hilton

I grew up in Susquehanna County, Pa. and graduated Syracuse University with a dual degree in journalism/political science in 1998. After working for nearly three years for a weekly paper in upstate New York, I came to southcentral Pennsylvania. I spent 13 years as a reporter and editor for The Sentinel in Carlisle and joined the York Daily Record as religion reporter in September 2011.
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2 Responses to ‘The Shack’ author Paul Young coming to Messiah College

  1. Andrew says:

    Howdy! Do you use Twitter? I’d like to follow you if that would be ok. I’m undoubtedly
    enjoying your blog and look forward to new updates.

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