The Word Guild Announces the Shortlist for the 2014 Word Awards

For more than 25 years The Word Awards have signalled Canadian Christian writing excellence and this year's shortlist does not disappoint.

TORONTO – For more than 25 years The Word Awards (previously the Canadian Christian Writing Awards) have awarded prizes to Christian Canadian writers. Once again, this year's Word Awards acknowledge the best work published in many genres by Canadian writers who affirm The Apostles' Creed. On June 11th at a black-tie gala The Word Guild will present these top awards, rewarding the best in writing published by Canadian Christians during 2013.  

Awards will be given in 28 award categories, which include non-fiction books, novels, articles, columns, poems, and song lyrics. With more than a hundred entries in both the book and short-piece categories judges had their work cut out for them. As judge Donna Fawcett states, "Judging writing is a difficult challenge in that, while there are certain technical rules a writer must follow, a judge must weigh the combination of technique and artistic license. Sometimes the rules can be broken – sometimes. The key in excellent writing is in finding that sweet combination where the craft and the art come together in such a way so the reader savours it. Each year more writers present this kind of writing. Canadian writing is coming into its own."

2013 Grace Irwin Prize Winner Sheila Wray Gregoire

2013 Grace Irwin Prize Winner Sheila Wray Gregoire

A highlight of the Awards Gala will be the fifth annual presentation of the Grace Irwin Prize. This $5,000 award – donated by retired book publisher John W. Irwin (nephew of the award's namesake) and his wife Eleanor – represents Canada's largest literary prize for Christian writers. It will celebrate the best book published in 2013 by a Christian Canadian author. All shortlisted books will vie for this prize in a fresh round of judging by our distinguished panel.

The Word Awards are designed to raise the profile of Christian Canadian writers, and to encourage them in the pursuit of excellence. The awards gala, held since 2006, increases public recognition and honour for our winners as we celebrate Canadian writing together. The awards currently consist of 16 book categories and 12 other categories for articles, columns, poems, and song lyrics.

Past Grace Irwin Prize Winner and one of The Word Award's judging panel, Deb Elkink says of the Awards, "It's an honour to be part of The Word Guild's process to encourage excellent quality in Canadian fiction."

J. I Packer 2011

2011 Tarr Award Winner J. I. Packer

Some of Canada's best-known Christian writers, leaders, academics, and journalists have entered this contest and have been recognized for their contributions, including: J. I. Packer; Jean Vanier; John G. Stackhouse, Jr.; Ann Voskamp; Mark Buchanan; William P. Young; Janette Oke; James K. A. Smith; Greg Paul; Craig Evans; Tim Perry; Craig G. Bartholomew; John Redekop; Maxine Hancock; Sigmund Brouwer; Phil Callaway; Ali Matthews; Connie Brummel Crook; Lois Sweet; Bob Harvey; Jennifer Green; Steve Bell; and Sheila Wray Gregoire.

On the shortlist appear the names of several new finalists including Carolyn Weber of London, Ontario and Adam Buyer of Calgary. Weber's books, Surprised by Oxford: A Memoir (Thomas Nelson) and Holy is the Day: Living in the Gift of the Present (InterVarsity Press) are both shortlisted. Buyer's song lyrics "Man of Prayer," (Adam and Jalene Buyer) is shortlisted in the Terence L. Bingley Award for Best Song Lyrics.

Some familiar names return to the shortlist this year: former winner James K. A. Smith of Grand Rapids, Michigan, whose book Imagining the Kingdom: How Worship Works (Baker Academic) is shortlisted in the Academic category, and Sandra Orchard of Fenwick, Ontario, whose book Deadly Devotion (Revell) is listed in the Suspense category.

Writer Kurt Armstrong of Winnipeg, Manitoba is shortlisted for both "Till Death Do Us Consume" (Convivium Magazine) and "My Bright Abyss: Meditation of a Modern Believer by Christian Wiman Farrar" (Geez magazine) in the Long Feature and Review categories respectively. Bruce Clemenger of Richmond Hill, Ontario is shortlisted for his piece, "Afraid of Debate" (Faith Today) in the Column – Single category.

Finalists in The Word Awards are found from coast to coast. British Columbia writers account for 19 finalist placements; Yukon, 1; Alberta, 9; Saskatchewan, 1; Manitoba, 7; Ontario, 68; Quebec, 1, New Brunswick, 1; and Nova Scotia, 1. Canadians living in the United States are also represented among the finalists.

Finalist undatedThe above-mentioned authors, along with dozens of other Canadian writers – many of them finalists for the first time – will be honoured at the 2014 gala, to be held at the World Vision headquarters, 1 World Drive, Mississauga, Ontario, on Wednesday, June 11, 2014, at 7:30 p.m. The event is open to the general public. Tickets are available both online and at the door for $30.00.

Following the gala, 250 writers, editors, agents, and publishers will meet in Guelph, Ontario, from June 12th to 14th for Canada's largest Christian writers' conference, Write Canada, also sponsored by The Word Guild.

You can see the complete shortlist of finalists for The Word Guild 2014 Writing Awards below and at www.thewordguild.com/media.

SHORTLIST OF FINALISTS

  THE 2014 WORD AWARDS

BOOK CATEGORIES

Book – Academic

Craig G. Bartholomew of Ancaster, Ont. and Michael Goheen of Burnaby,  B.C. for Christian Philosophy: A Systematic and Narrative Introduction (Baker Academic)

Hans Boersma of Langley, B.C. for Embodiment and Virtue in Gregory of Nyssa (Oxford University Press)

John P. Bowen of Hamilton, Ont. for Green Shoots Out of Dry Ground (Wipf and Stock)

James M. Houston of Vancouver for For Christ and His Kingdom: Inspiring a New Generation (Regent College Publishing)

James R. Payton, Jr. of Mount Hope, Ont. for A Patristic Treasury: Early Church Wisdom for Today (Ancient Faith Publishing)

James K. A. Smith of Grand Rapids, Mich. for Imagining the Kingdom: How Worship Works (Baker Academic)

Book – Apologetics/Evangelism

Rev. Francis G. Humphrey of Lachine, Que. for Origins and Redemption (Word Alive Press)

Myron Bradley Penner of Edmonton for The End of Apologetics: Christian Witness in a Postmodern Context (Baker Academic)

Book – Biblical Studies

Dr. Lawrence Brice of Simcoe, Ont. for The Uncomfortable Church: Can Gays Be Reconciled to the Body of Christ? (Deep River Books)

Stanley E. Porter of Hamilton, Ont. for How We Got the New Testament: Text, Transmission, Translation (Baker Academic)

Book – Christian Living

Dr. Lawrence Brice of Simcoe, Ont. for The Uncomfortable Church: Can Gays Be Reconciled to the Body of Christ? (Deep River Books)

Ken Shigematsu of Vancouver for God in My Everything: How an Ancient Rhythm Helps Busy People Enjoy God (Zondervan)

Carolyn Weber of London, Ont. for Holy Is the Day: Living in the Gift of the Present (InterVarsity Press)

Book – Culture

Leah Kostamo of Surrey, B.C. for Planted: A Story of Creation, Calling, and Community (Cascade Books, an imprint of Wipf and Stock)

Kevin Schut of Abbotsford, Ont. for Of Games and God: A Christian Exploration of Video Games (Brazos Press)

Derek C. Schuurman of Ancaster, Ont. Shaping a Digital World: Faith, Culture and Computer Technology (InterVarsity Press)

Book – Inspirational/Devotional

Eddie Chu of Ottawa for Seeing God Differently: A Fresh Look at Our Unchanging Father (Word Alive Press)

Robert G. W. Langmaid of Whitehorse, Y.T. for Forty Days with the Thirty-nine Articles of Religion: A Devotional Guide (BPS Books)

Marcia Lee Laycock of Blackfalds, Alta. for Spur of the Moment (VineMarc Communications)

James R. Payton, Jr. of Mount Hope, Ont. A Patristic Treasury: Early Church Wisdom for Today (Ancient Faith Publishing)

David Sherbino of Toronto for Reconnect: Spiritual Exercises to Develop Intimacy With God (Castle Quay Books)

Book – Instructional

Donald N. Bastian of Brampton, Ont. for The Pastor's First Love: And Other Essays on a High and Holy Calling (BPS Books)

James A. Beverley of Pickering, Ont. for Mormon Crisis: Anatomy of a Failing Religion (Castle Quay Books)

Eddie Chu of Ottawa for Seeing God Differently: A Fresh Look at Our Unchanging Father (Word Alive Press)

Joyce Y. Li of Brampton, Ont. for Reimagine Your Retirement: How to Live Life to Its Fullest and Leave a Lasting Legacy (Word Alive Press)

Glenn C. Taylor of Holland Center, Ont. for Pastors in Transition: Navigating the Turbulence of Change (Word Alive Press)

Book – Life Stories

Jane Christmas of Vancouver for And Then There Were Nuns: Adventures in a Cloistered Life (Greystone Books)

Leah Kostamo of Surrey, B.C. for Planted: A Story of Creation, Calling, and Community (Cascade Books, an imprint of Wipf and Stock)

Sandra Vander Schaaf of Vancouver for Passionate Embrace: Faith, Flesh, Tango (Clements Publishing) 

Carolyn Weber of London, Ont. for Surprised by Oxford: A Memoir (Thomas Nelson)

Book – Special

John P. Bowen of Hamilton, Ont. for Green Shoots Out of Dry Ground: Growing a New Future for the Church in Canada (Wipf and Stock)

M. D. Meyer of Norway House, Man. for Northern Writers Volume 4 (Goldrock Press)

Novel – Contemporary

Rick Dewhurst of Duncan, B.C. for The Darkest Valley (Quotidian Books)

D. C. Shaftoe of St. Catharines, Ont. for Lethal Intentions: The Battle for Gideon (Cornerstone Research and Publishing)

Patricia Westerhof of Toronto for The Dove in Bathurst Station (Brindle & Glass)

Holly C. Wyse of Winnipeg for The Restoration of Emma Carmichael (Word Alive Press)

Novel – Historical

Connie Brummel Crook of Peterborough, Ont. for Meyers' Creek (Fitzhenry & Whiteside)

Kelsey Greye of Lloydminster, Alta. for A Thread of Truth (Word Alive Press)  

Mary Hosmar of Oshawa, Ont. for A Matter of Conscience (Word Alive Press)

Christine Lindsay of Chilliwack, B.C. for Captured by Moonlight: Twilight of the British Raj (WhiteFire Publishing)

Novel – Romance

Valerie Comer of Creston, B.C. for Raspberries and Vinegar (Choose NOW Publishing)

Dorene Meyer of Norway House, Man. for Starla (Goldrock Press)

Gail Sattler of Maple Ridge, B.C. for The Path to Piney Meadows (The United Methodist Publishing House)

Novel  – Suspense

Sandra Orchard of Fenwick, Ont. for Deadly Devotion (Revell)

Janet Sketchley of Dartmouth, N.S. for Heaven's Prey (Choose NOW Publishing)

Novel – Young Adult

Connie Brummel Crook of Peterborough, Ont. for Meyers' Creek (Fitzhenry & Whiteside)

Mary Hosmar of Oshawa, Ont. for A Matter of Conscience (Word Alive Press)

Holly C. Wyse of Winnipeg for The Restoration of Emma Carmichael (Word Alive Press) 

ARTICLE, POETRY, AND SONG LYRIC CATEGORIES

Article – News

Jeff Dewsbury of Langley, B.C.  for "Christian Law School Proposal Raises Discussion" (Faith Today)

Lisa Hall-Wilson of London, Ont. for "Christian Law School Proposal Meets Opposition" (The Christian Herald)

Lisa Hall-Wilson of London, Ont. for "Grace to the Max" (The Christian Herald)

Peter Schuurman of Guelph, Ont. for "When Sorrows Like Sea Billows Roll: Tim Bosma and the Body of Christ in Times of Adversity" (Christian Courier)

Article – Inspirational/Devotional

Glenda Dekkema-de Vries of Stouffville, Ont. for "God Loves the Brokenhearted" (Christian Courier)

Heidi Grogan of Calgary for "Cry of the Streets" (Weavings)

Dorene Meyer of Norway House, Man. for "Making Room" (testimony)

Angela Reitsma Bick of Cobourg, Ont. for "An Inheritance of Grace" (Christian Courier)

Article – Long Feature

Kurt Armstrong of Winnipeg for "Till Death do us Consume" (Convivium Magazine)

Debra Fieguth of Kingston, Ont. for "Choosing to End a Life" (Faith Today)

Lisa Hall-Wilson of London, Ont. for "Faith Fits With Action for Fashion Designer" (Faith Today)

Ross W. Muir of Waterloo, Ont. for "Let Nobody Judge Them" (Canadian Mennonite)

Peter Schuurman of Guelph, Ont. for "Fractured Flocks: A Leadership Crisis in the CRC?" (Christian Courier)

Article – Personal Experience

Glynis M. Belec of Drayton, Ont. for "Justina Crispina" (The Rural Route Magazine)

Glenda Dekkema-de Vries of Stouffville, Ont. for "A Forever Family: Questions Our Adopted Children Needed to Ask" (testimony)

Glenda Dekkema-de Vries of Stouffville, Ont. for "God Loves the Brokenhearted" (Christian Courier)

Linda Greenberg of London, Ont. for "Inheriting A Family" (testimony)

Linda Greenberg of London, Ont. for "Marriage: Divided We Fall" (testimony)

Heidi Grogan of Calgary for "Cry of the Streets" (Weavings)

Shari-Lynn James of Hamilton, Ont. for "Coffee's Cold" (testimony)

Doug Schonberg of Niagara Falls, Ont. for "Speechless Service" (Presbyterian Record)

Daphne Sillanpaa of Ottawa for "Unmasked" (testimony)

Shelaine Strom of Abbotsford, B.C. for "Waiting: A Passionate Pause" (Truth Media)

Heidi VanderSlikke of Harriston, Ont. for "You Wouldn't Understand" (Christian Courier)

Daniel Wood of Frankford, Ont. for "I Will Be With You" (testimony)

Article – Profile/Human Interest

Glenda Dekkema-de Vries of Stouffville, Ont. for "A Forever Family: Questions Our Adopted Children Needed to Ask" (testimony)

Glenda Dekkema-de Vries of Stouffville, Ont. for "God Loves the Brokenhearted" (Christian Courier)

Stephanie Douglas of Brampton, Ont. for "The Beauty and the Pain of Disability" (Faith Today)

Linda Greenberg of London, Ont. for "Inheriting a Family" (

testimony)

Jordan Hageman of Mississauga, Ont. for "Awakening the Dawn" (testimony)

Lisa Hall-Wilson of London, Ont. for "Capturing Beauty" (testimony)           

Lisa Hall-Wilson of London, Ont. for "Faith Fits With Action for Fashion Designer" (Faith Today)

Article – Review

Kurt Armstrong of Winnipeg for "My Bright Abyss: Meditation of a Modern Believer by Christian Wiman Farrar" (Geez magazine)

Cathy Smith of Wyoming, Ont. for "The Better Story" (Christian Courier)

Article – Short Feature

Glenda Dekkema-de Vries of Stouffville, Ont. for "Putting the Gold Back Into the Golden Years" (Senior Care Canada)

Lisa Hall-Wilson of London, Ont. for "Keeping It Clean" (testimony)

Article – Short Story

Alvin Ens of Abbotsford, B.C. for "Must Have Sense of Humour" (Canadian Stories)

Marcia Lee Laycock of Blackfalds, Alta. "An Unexpected Glory" (Helping Hands Press)

Column – Series

Carolyn Arends of Surrey, B.C. for "The Trouble With Cussing Christians" and "You Probably Won't Be Sent to Egypt" (Christianity Today)

Fred Ash of Barrie, Ont. for "Lost and Found" and "A Sheep's Worth" (Salvationist)

Marcia Lee Laycock of Blackfalds, Alta. for "A Quick and Simple Task" and "Of Blue Rugs and Other Created Things" (Novel Rocket.com)

Violet Nesdoly of Langley, B.C. for "Bible Poetry Part 1" and "Bible Poetry Part 2: Figures of Speech" (FellowScript)

Heidi VanderSlikke of Harriston, Ont. for "Confessions of a Coffee Hound" and "Homesick" (Christian Courier)

Column – Single

Bruce Clemenger of Richmond Hill, Ont. for "Afraid of Debate" (Faith Today)

Emily Cramer of Barrrie, Ont. for "Oak Tree Trust" (Christian Courier)

Steve Kennedy of Peterborough, Ont. for "Let Nothing Be Wasted" (testimony)           

Steve Kennedy of Peterborough, Ont. for "Table Lessons" (testimony)           

Angela Reitsma Bick of Cobourg, Ont. for "What Should I Have Asked For?" (Christian Courier)

Derek Schuurman of Ancaster, Ont. for "A Church Body Without Bodies?" (Christian Courier)

Cathy Smith of Wyoming, Ont. for "Behold, the Lamb of God" (Christian Courier)

Heidi VanderSlikke of Harriston, Ont. for "You Wouldn't Understand" (Christian Courier

Poetry

Alvin Ens of Abbotsford, B.C. for "And They Shall Turn" (World Poetry E-Anthology)

Violet Nesdoly of Langley, B.C. for "Hannah" (Time of Singing)

Violet Nesdoly of Langley, B.C. for "Tomato High Priestess" (Your Daily Poem)

Adele Simmons of Whitby, Ont. for "Dizzy on the Water" (CreateSpace Independent Publishing Platform)

June Stevenson of Ajax, Ont. for "Silhouette on the Snow" (Canadian Woman Studies/les cahiers de la femme)

Terence L. Bingley Award for Best Song Lyrics: 

Adam Buyer of Calgary for "Man of Prayer" (Adam and Jalene Buyer)

Jalene Buyer of Calgary for "You Set Us Free" (Adam and Jalene Buyer)

Darlene Ketchum of Delta, B.C. for "Joy! Joy to the World" (Darlene Ketchum)

Kimberly Lee of Markham, Ont. for "Let Go" (Kimberly Lee)

Sally Meadows of Saskatoon for "This New Year" (Sally Meadows)

Cindy Palin of Olds, Man. for "O Morning Star" (Cindy Palin)

Tina Pumfrey of Thamesville, Ont. for "Sparkle" (Tina Pumfrey)

June Stevenson of Ajax, Ont. "A Quiet Place" (June Stevenson)

Additional Categories

Awards will be presented on June 11th to the winners of two categories for which there are no shortlists of finalists:  Book – Children and Novel – Visionary.