Awards and Their Winners

Awards for Christian Books Book awards have been around for a long time and there are many different kinds. To name just a few in a long list, the Pulitzer Prize was established in 1917 honoring Letters, Drama, and Music. The Newbery Award, given for excellence in Children’s Literature, has been around since 1922. Mystery writers aspire to the Edgar Award or the Agatha Award, while the Hugo Award and the Nebula Award are coveted by writers of science fiction or fantasy novels.

But what of awards for Christian literature? Well, there are several. The Evangelical Christian Publishers’ Association gives an annual award called the Christian Book Award, which consists of 11 different non-fiction categories including Bibles, Ministry Resources, Biography & Memoir, New Authors and more. This award recognizes the highest quality in Christian books and Bibles. This award was formerly known as the Gold Medallion Award, at which time it was also given for fiction but this is no longer the case. Examples of books which have won this award are: Where Is God When It Hurts? by Philip Yancey, Whatever Happened to the Human Race by Francis Schaeffer, Safely Home by Randy Alcorn, Jonah and the Fish by Dandi Mackall, and Seeking Allah, Finding Jesus by Nabeel Qureshi.

The Christy Awards are given each year to Christian fiction books. This award is designed to nurture and encourage creativity in novels written from a Christian worldview. The idea was conceived in 1999 and the award has been given since 2000, and the following genres are highlighted: contemporary, historical, romance (both contemporary and historical), suspense, visionary, first novel, and young adult. Donna Kehoe was involved in the early stages of the award’s creation and now serves as executive director of the Christy Awards. She says “the Christy Awards acknowledge the unique role that storytelling has in communicating deep truths about God and His love and interaction with humankind throughout history. When a panel of judges gives a novel a Christy Award, they’re saying that the author has skillfully interwoven characterization, plot, theme, and other criteria for a good novel in this work — and that’s something to celebrate.” The Christy Awards are named in honor of Catherine Marshall and her excellent novel, Christy. It was chosen as representative of the quality of literature the committee was desiring to honor. Christy, published in 1967, is based on the author’s mother’s life and tells how in 1912, she became a teacher in a remote, very poor area of the Smoky Mountains. Her desire was to make a difference, and in the process, she herself also learned and changed more than she ever expected. The book has been a perennial best-seller, with more than 10 million copies sold, and in 2006 was on Christianity Today’s list, “The Top 50 Books That Have Shaped Evangelicals”.

There are many books in the world and limited time to read them! How to choose what to read can be a challenge. We would encourage you to consider reading at least some books which have been found to be excellent enough to win this prestigious award. Of course, not all will be to everyone’s taste, but they are of high quality and worth consideration.

Article used with the kind permission of the piece’s author, Debbie Dehart.


About Ceil Carey

The Evangelical Church Library Association, founded in 1970, is a fellowship of Christian churches, schools, and individuals.

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