Toronto Advocate for the Homeless Wins $5,000 Literary Prize at Gala for Canadian Christian Writers

Twenty-nine of Canada’s top writers were awarded last night at The Word Guild Canadian Christian Writing Awards for books they published in 2010, along with 18 awards for periodical writing.

MISSISSAUGA, ONTARIO — Writers and editors from across Canada gathered with publishers, family and friends for the annual Canadian Christian Writing Awards on June 15 in Mississauga, Ont.

Winners were chosen from among 250 competing entries from across Canada and beyond – 150 books and 100 shorter entries. The awards were held by The Word Guild, a national association of writers and editors who are Christian. British Columbia author and speaker Grace Fox emceed the event for 150 attendees at World Vision Headquarters.

Twenty-nine awards were given in 18 book categories this year. Six of the book entries had been shortlisted for the top Grace Irwin Award, Canada’s largest literary prize for writers who are Christian (in honour of the late author, classics scholar and ordained minister Grace Lilian Irwin).

The surprised winner was Tim Huff, author of Dancing with Dynamite: Celebrating Against the Odds (Castle Quay Books). Huff has been working with street-involved youth in Toronto since 1987 and is currently Youth Unlimited Director of Homelessness.

“This is an unbelievable honour,” he said. Referring to his book, he suggested that we celebrate too seldom both in the church and in the broader world. Even in the midst of Alzheimer’s, depression and other difficulties, “If Jesus is at the centre, there will be a place to celebrate,” he said.

Eighteen other awards were presented in 14 short categories, including articles, reviews, scripts and screenplays as well as the new category “blog series.”

Jack Dueck from Waterloo, Ont., received four awards over the night. Dueck finds time to write while caring for his wife who has Alzheimer’s.

Denis Shackel of London, Ont., a professor at the Richard Ivey School of Business, captivated the audience as he told the story of his brother-in-law choosing to die so Denis could live while they were mountain climbing 27 years ago. His book Five Seconds at a Time: How Leaders Can Make the Impossible Possible (Harper Collins), co-authored with Tara Bradacs, received two awards and an honorable mention for the Grace Irwin Award. Shackel encouraged the crowd, “It’s what you do with what happens to you.”

Many writers thanked friends and family members for their support. Marla Stewart Konrad of Oakville, Ont., won an award for her children’s book Just Like You (Zonderkidz). She quipped that she was thankful for her husband’s support, but “My husband doesn’t read any of my work unless I have a contract in my hand. We all know how insecure writers can be.”

Terrie Todd is a Manitoba playwright who won for her play, Once More with Passion. In a written acceptance speech she said, “The writing life involves a lot more rejection than acceptance, and that’s just part of the business. I handle it in a mature fashion by crying and railing at God about why he made me a writer if nobody wants to read what I write…and then I write some more.”

As previously announced the Leslie K. Tarr Award for career achievement was given to James I. Packer of Vancouver. The 85 year old is a Regent College Professor of Theology and a senior editor at the American magazine Christianity Today. He was recently named by Time magazine as one of the 25 most influential Evangelicals in America.

Packer was unable to be at the ceremony because he is recovering from hip surgery. In a written acceptance speech, he said he was an “accidental author” who wrote his first book, Fundamentalism and the Word of God, when he sat down to write a pamphlet. After the book sold 20,000 copies in its first year of publication, he began to realize that God had called him to write. After writing numerous articles and books, Packer said he still has books inside him and, like many authors, will probably die before writing them all.

Following the awards gala 250 writers, editors, agents and publishers are meeting in Guelph, Ont., for three days at Canada’s largest Christian writers’ conference, Write! Canada also sponsored by The Word Guild.

A complete list of winners is included below.

Media: Please capitalize “The” in The Word Guild.

For photos or more information, contact The Word Guild.


1. About The Word Guild Canadian Christian Awards

2. Complete List of Winners 2011

3. About The Word Guild


The awards are sponsored by The Word Guild, a national association with the mandate of connecting, developing and promoting Canadian writers and editors who are Christian. Formerly known as the God Uses Ink Awards, these prizes have been awarded annually since 1988. The Word Guild assumed responsibility for them in 2002, revamping and expanding the program from its original eight to the current three-dozen-odd categories.

The contest is open to all writers who have Canadian citizenship or permanent resident status, and is not restricted to association members. Contest rules do not require an explicit affirmation of Christian belief within an entered piece of writing, but judges do look for an underlying expression of Christian worldview. Entries were judged according to excellence of writing; impact (the inspirational or informational value making it worthwhile); fulfillment of stated purpose; suitability to target audience; originality and freshness of style.

Businesses, organizations or individuals are welcome to inquire about the benefits of awards sponsorships. Charitable tax receipts are available. Sponsorship opportunities may be seen at


Winners and Awards of Merit  in the The Word Guild’s 2011 Canadian Christian Writing Awards


Winner—James K. A. Smith of Grand Rapids, Mich., forThinking in Tongues: Pentecostal Contributions to Christian Philosophy (Wm. B. Eerdmans Publishing Co.)

Award of Merit—Deborah C. Bowen of Hamilton, Ont., forStories of the Middle Space: Reading the Ethics of Postmodern Realisms (McGill-Queen's University Press)

Award of Merit—James R. Payton Jr. of Mount Hope, Ont., forGetting the Reformation Wrong: Correcting Some Misunderstandings (IVP Academic)


Winner—Dr. Grant Richison of Saint Cloud, Fl., for Certainty—A Place to Stand (Castle Quay Books)

Book—Biblical Studies

Winner—Robert Russell of Camas, Wash., for One Precious Pearl: God's Design for His Church (Infinity Publishing)

Award of Merit—David Sawler of Glace Bay, N.S., for The Disciple: God's Blueprint (Word Alive Press)


Winner (Tie)—Connie Brummel Crook of Peterborough, Ont., for No Small Victory (Fitzhenry & Whiteside Limited)

Winner (Tie)—Marla Stewart Konrad of Oakville, Ont., for Just Like You (Zonderkidz)

Book—Christian Leadership

Winner—Eleanor Shepherd of Pointe Claire, P.Q., for More Questions than Answers: Sharing Faith by Listening (Resource Publications)

Award of Merit—Karen Stiller of Port Perry, Ont., and Willard Metzger of Drayton, Ont., for Going Missional: Conversations with 13 Canadian Churches Who Have Embraced Missional Life (Word Alive Press)

Book—Christian Living

Winner—Brian Stiller of Newmarket, Ont., for You Never Know What You Have Till You Give It Away (Castle Quay Books)


Winner—W. Harold Fuller of Stouffville, Ont., for Sun Like Thunder: Following Jesus on Asia’s Spice Road (Centre for Contemporary Christianity)

Award of Merit—Karen Stiller of Port Perry, Ont., and Willard Metzger of Drayton, Ont., for Going Missional: Conversations with 13 Canadian Churches who Have Embraced Missional Life(Word Alive Press)

Book—General Readership

Winner (Tie)—Tim Huff of Toronto, Ont., for Dancing With Dynamite: Celebrating Against the Odds (Castle Quay Books)

Winner (Tie)—Denis Shackel of Grand Bend, Ont., and Tara Bradacs of Toronto, Ont., for Five Seconds at a Time: How Leaders Can Make the Impossible Possible (Harper Collins Publishers Ltd)

Winner (Tie)—Elaine A. Small of Belleville, Ont., for Priests in the Attic (Author House)


Winner—Stacey Gleddiesmith of Vancouver, B.C., forWelcoming the Stranger: Readying Ourselves for Christmas(Regent College Publishing)


Winner—Tony Gentilucci of Mississauga, Ont., for Stop Preaching and Start Communicating: Communication Principles Preachers Can Learn From Television (Castle Quay Books)

Book—Life Stories

Winner—Denis Shackel of Grand Bend, Ont., and Tara Bradacs of Toronto, Ont., for Five Seconds at a Time: How Leaders Can Make the Impossible Possible (Harper Collins Publishers Ltd)

Award of Merit—Marshall Lawrence of Echo Bay, Ont., for The World at My Door (Guardian Books)


Winner—Mary A. Kassian of Sherwood Park, Alta., for Girls Gone Wise—In a World Gone Wild (Moody Publishing)


Winner (Tie)—Marianne Jones of Thunder Bay, Ont., for Here, on the Ground (Friesen Press)

Winner (Tie)—Laurie Lamb of Hawkestone, Ont., for The Way of Ducks: A Cottage Devotional (Word Alive Press)

Award of Merit—Kathleen Gibson of Ebenezer, Sask., forPractice by Practice: The art of everyday faith (Word Alive Press)

Book—Young Adult

Winner—Cynthia d'Entremont of Lakeview, N.S., for Unlocked(Word Alive Press)


Winner—Donna Dawson of St. Marys, Ont., for Rescued (Word Alive Press)


Winner—Cynthia d'Entremont of Lakeview, N.S., for Unlocked(Word Alive Press)


Winner—Janette Oke of Olds, Alta., and Davis Bunn for The Hidden Flame (Bethany House)

Award of Merit—Shawn J. Pollett of Golden Valley, Ont., forWhat Rough Beast (Word Alive Press)


Winner—M. D. Meyer of Norway House, Man., for Jasmine: The Group—Week One (Word Alive Press)

Article—Blog Series

Winner—Lynn Dove of Cochrane, Alta., for “The Author of Life” and “Even Though I Walk Through the Valley” (

Article—Children/Young Adult

Winner—Corinne Mordaunt of Toronto, Ont., for “In the Beginning” (Nature Friend)

Article—General Readership (articles that explain or encourage faith for mainstream readers)

Winner—Thomas Froese of Kampala, Uganda for “There's Lots to Learn About Life, Death from Developing World” (The Hamilton Spectator)

Award of Merit—Thomas Froese of Kampala, Uganda for “By Losing Fun We Risk Much More” (The Hamilton Spectator)


Winner—Jack Dueck of Waterloo, Ont., for “The Burning Bush or the Plastic Mulberry” (Institute for Theology and the Church)

Article—Long Feature

Winner—Donna Mann of Holstein, Ont., for “Mother's Day—A Day to Celebrate, But How?” (

Award of Merit—Jack Dueck of Waterloo, Ont., for “The Burning Bush or the Plastic Mulberry” (Institute for Theology and the Church)

Award of Merit—Jayne Self of Toronto, Ont., for “Ghana: Boogie to the Front” (Presbyterian Record)

Article—Personal Experience

Winner—Ella Sailor of Elbow, Sask., for “I Can't Find Him” (Inscribed)

Article—Profile/Human Interest

Winner—Jack Dueck of Waterloo, Ont., for “A Tale of Two Trees” (Canadian Mennonite)


Winner—Violet Nesdoly of Langley, B.C., for “Homosexuality and the Christian: A Guide for Parents, Pastors, and Friends by Mark A. Yarhouse, PsyD” (Seattle Post-Intelligencer)

Article—Short Feature

Winner—Marcy Kennedy of Wallaceburg, Ont., for “Dying to be Beautiful: The high cost of believing the lie” (testimony)


Winner—Kurt Armstrong of Winnipeg, Man., for “Jesus Loves Your Penis, Son” (Geez Magazine)

Award of Merit—Stacey Gleddiesmith of Vancouver, B.C., for “My God, My God, Why? Understanding the Lament Psalms” (Reformed Worship)


Winner—Kathleen Gibson of Ebenezer, Sask., for “When I Grow Up, I Want to Be Like Mom” and “What About that Dead Robin?” (Yorkton This Week)


Winner—Alvin G. Ens of Abbotsford, B.C., for “Blossom Blessing” (Rejoice, Mennonite Publishing)

Scripts and Screenplays

Winner—Terrie Todd of Portage la Prairie, Man., for “Once More with Passion” (Eldridge Publishing)

Song Lyrics

Winner—Kelita Haverland of Mississauga, Ont., for “Deep Dark Secret” (Heart & Soul Music)


The Word Guild is a growing team of more than 350 Canadian writers, editors, speakers, publishers, booksellers, librarians and other interested individuals who are Christian. From all parts of Canada and many denominational and cultural backgrounds, we are united in our common passion positively to influence individuals—and ultimately the Canadian culture—through life-changing words that bring God's message of hope.

We encourage the exploration of God-given gifts and talents; provide opportunities for people to work together; and foster excellence in the art, craft, practice and ministry of writing, editing and speaking.

In addition to Write! Canada, its flagship event, The Word Guild sponsors a number of awards programs for published and unpublished writers, including Canada's largest literary prize for writers who are Christian, the $5,000 Grace Irwin Award. It also holds an annual black-tie Writing Awards Gala and regional Write! events in locations such as Saskatoon, Winnipeg, Halifax, Montreal, and London, Ont.

Three categories of membership, renewed yearly, are available: professional writers and editors; associate members, who are beginning to put together a body of published work; and affiliates working in publishing, bookselling, libraries, etc. Membership benefits include discounted rates for Write! Canada.

For more information about The Word Guild, go to