SparkLit | Australian Christian Book of the Year
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Australian Christian Book of the Year



Our Mob, God’s Story

Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander Artists Share Their Faith
Edited by Louise Sherman and Christobel Mattingley

Bible Society Australia
ISBN 9780647519585

Sixty-six Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander artists from the city and the bush tell the story of the wonderful things God has done for their people. They paint in a dazzling variety of styles and write with uncommon wisdom and generosity. These artists share their vision of Jesus in order to bring us together as brothers and sisters. This inspiring book demonstrates what the recent census recorded: that Christian faith is more evident and alive in indigenous communities than in the dominant settler society. It is time for quiet appreciation and deep listening. Beautiful, confident and irresistible.



After Saturday Comes Sunday: Understanding the Christian Crisis in the Middle East

Elizabeth Kendal

Resource Publications

ISBN 9781498239868

Indigenous Christian communities—Arabs, Armenians, Assyrians and Copts who lived in the Middle East long before the Islamic conquests—are being targeted by jihadists for subjugation, exploitation and liquidation. Millions have been driven out of their homelands. Yet their fate is ignored by ‘progressive’ elites in the West who are increasingly hostile to Christianity. Elizabeth Kendal exposes the extent of this genocide in the ancient Christian heartland and provides a cogent and readable explanation of the context, history and ideologies that underlie the crisis. A challenging, clear and helpful book.



Big Picture Parents: Ancient Wisdom for Modern Life

Harriet Connor

Resource Publications

ISBN 9781532602535

Back to basics. Rather than telling us how to feed and entertain our children, Connor explores the purpose of parenthood. In the Bible a parent discovers a joy bigger than feeling happy and a family bigger than our own household. This gives parents simple priorities but also the freedom to fail, forgive and find their own parenting style. Children need purpose, values, character and parents who practise what they preach. This book is an antidote to the psycho-babble and narcissism of parenting in the age of Facebook. Good news, not just good advice.



Challenging Islamic Traditions: Searching Questions About the Hadith from a Christian Perspective

Bernie Power

William Carey Library

ISBN 9780878084890

This learned work on the Hadith (a collection of writings that both expounds and explicates the Qur’an) offers an explanation for why Islam has failed to deliver what it promises to Muslims and the reasons behind the violence in the so-called ‘clash of civilisations’. Bernie Power presents a well-reasoned critique of the tensions and struggles within contemporary Islam and a valuable clarification of the lines of demarcation in word and deed between Muhammad and Jesus.



Changing Lanes, Crossing Cultures: Equipping Christians and Churches for Ministry in a Culturally Diverse Society

Andrew Schachtel, Choon-Hwa Lim and Michael K Wilson

Great Western Press

ISBN 9780869010808

This well organised handbook challenges churches to reach out beyond their own culture. It is written by people with experience in cross cultural ministry in Australia and overseas. The six modules can be used by individuals or in small groups and provide clear steps for making the cross-over from an ethnically monocultural church to a warm and welcoming multicultural church. It is time for local churches in Australia to share in the exciting growth of the global church.



Faith: Embracing Life in All Its Uncertainty

Tim Costello

Hardie Grant Publishing

ISBN 9781743791929

There is much to be learned from the way Tim Costello has won such wide support for his moral vision for a compassionate and just society. His words are credible, persuasive and shaped by experience. In this meditation on faith he traces his journey with appealing stories taken from his upbringing in a Christian family, his university and theological education, his involvement in politics and his wide experience as a pastor and advocate for the poor and oppressed. A transparent and winsome account of one man’s raison d’être.



Hermeneutics as Apprenticeship: How the Bible Shapes Our Interpretive Habits and Practices

David I Starling

Baker Academic

ISBN 9780801049392

David Starling responds to recent debates challenging the Reformation principle of the sufficiency of Scripture to interpret Scripture. He invites us to sit at the feet of the prophets and apostles and let them teach us how to read and interpret the Bible. Such apprenticeship is illustrated by examining the internal hermeneutic revealed in fourteen stimulating case studies from Deuteronomy to Revelation. When we read Scripture we are taught how to understand Christ in the light of Scripture and how to understand Scripture (and all things) in the light of Christ.



Sam: A Family’s Journey Through a Child’s Chronic Illness

Kath Henry

Kimbrada Publishers

ISBN 9780992325862

This is the story of a mother’s courageous battle to ensure that her son received the best possible treatment for his severe neutropenia, a blood condition that leads to severe and often lethal infections. The style is engaging and the author is honest about her feelings and spiritual highs and lows. Parents and supporters of children with chronic illness will find her transparency encouraging. Sam is a much cherished child who grows to maturity in the midst of a loving Christian family, not least through his mother’s fierce drive and practical faith.



Taboo or to Do? Is Christianity Complementary with Yoga, Martial Arts, Hallowe’en, Mindfulness and Other Alternative Practices?

Ross Clifford and Philip Johnson

Darton, Longman & Todd

ISBN 9780232532531

A timely examination of popular customs and practices that looks beyond rigid and legalistic reactions. The authors describe these practices and their origins, identify critical issues and introduce principles of discernment. They then suggest various ways in which Christians might respond, and leave readers to draw their own conclusions. Where they do not feel compromised, Christians are urged to boldly enter the market place of ideas and consider how Jesus might fulfil the longings of those who see themselves as ‘spiritual but not religious’.



Workship: How to Use Your Work to Worship God

Kara Martin


ISBN 9789811128134

In Workship, Kara Martin applies Romans 12:1–2 to the whole of life and particularly to our attitudes and habits in the workplace. To biblical principles, Martin brings stories and practical examples to show both the realities of the workplace and possible Christian responses. Workship is an accessible and helpful workbook for individual and group study. It is also a profitable read for pastors who need to understand the challenges facing those to whom they preach.

Award criteria

The Australian Christian Book of the Year Award is given annually to an original book written by an Australian citizen. The award recognises and encourages excellence in Australian Christian writing. The ACBOY Award carries a prize of $3,000 for the author, and a framed certificate for the author and publisher. Entries are judged with an eye to the:
Original nature of the work.
Literary style, including suitability for the target audience.
Design, layout, cover, text and illustrations.
Contribution that the book makes in meeting a need for Christian writing in the Australian situation and in the Australian market.
Entries are read and judged by a panel selected by the SparkLit Council.


Entry form and conditions

Download entry form here


Awards results

2017 Australian Christian Book of the Year
Winner. Our Mob, God’s Story edited by Louise Sherman and Christobel Mattingley (Bible Society Australia)
Open 2017 awards results and judge’s comments.


2016 Australian Christian Book of the Year
Winner. Child Arise! The Courage to Stand by Jane Dowling (David Lovell Publishing)
Open 2016 awards results and judge’s comments.


2015 Australian Christian Book of the Year
Winner. Captains of the Soul by Michael Gladwin (Big Sky Publishing)
Open 2015 awards results and judge’s comments.


2014 Australian Christian Book of the Year
Winner. The Great Bible Swindle by Greg Clarke (Bible Society Australia)
2nd Prize. In God They Trust? by Roy Williams (Bible Society Australia)
3rd Prize. C. S. Lewis and the Body in the Basement by Kel Richards (Strand)
Open 2014 awards results and judge’s comments.


2013 Australian Christian Book of the Year

Winner. Forged with Flames by Ann Fogarty (Wild dingo Press)
2nd Prize. Driven by Purpose by Stephen Judd, Anne Robinson & Felicity Errington (Hammond Press)
3rd Prize. A Faith to Live By by Roland Ashby (Mosaic Press)
Open 2013 awards results and judge’s comments.


2012 Australian Christian Book of the Year
Winner. Gumbuli of Ngukurr: Aboriginal elder in Arnhem Land by Murray Seiffert (Acorn Press)
2nd Prize. A Short History of Christianity by Geoffrey Blainey (Viking-Penguin)
3rd Prize. Love, Tears and Autism: An Australian Mother’s Journey from Heartbreak to Hope by Cecily Paterson (Ark House)
Open 2012 awards results and judge’s comments.


2011 Australian Christian Book of the Year
Winner. Economics for Life by Ian Harper (Acorn Press)
2nd Prize. Christianity Alongside Islam by John Wilson (Acorn Press)
3rd Prize. Judgment Day: The struggle for life on earth by Paul Collins (UNSW Press)
Open 2011 awards results and judge’s comments.


2010 Australian Christian Book of the Year
Winner. Losing My Religion by Tom Frame (UNSW Press)
2nd Prize. The Trellis and the Vine by Colin Marshall and Tony Payne (Matthias Media)
3rd Prize. Desolate Beauty by Trudy Adams (Ark House Press)
Open 2010 awards results and judge’s comments.


2009 Australian Christian Book of the Year
Winner. No Ordinary View by Naomi Reed (Ark House Press)
Joint 2nd Prize. Catherine’s Gift: Inside the World of Dr Catherine Hamlin by John Little (Pan Macmillan)
Joint 2nd Prize. Leadership on the Front Foot by Zachary Veron (Youthworks)
Joint 2nd Prize. Preach or Perish: Reaching the Hearts and Minds of the World Today by Donald Howard (Donald and Nan Howard)
Open 2009 awards results and judge’s comments.

Australian Christian Book of the Year Award Judges

Alex Crawford helped choose the Australian Christian Book of the Year from 2009 to 2017. Sadly he died suddenly on 23 September 2017. Alex held degrees in arts, law and theology and practiced as a barrister in Brisbane. He was an enthusiastic and effective advocate for Christian literature and was the founder and secretary of the Mathew Hale Public Library. Alex will be remembered for his gracious character and devotion to his Lord and Saviour, Jesus Christ. He was a member of St Mark’s Anglican Church, Clayfield. Alex is survived by his wife Penny and three adult children.

Judith Nichols has a doctorate in classics and ancient history and qualifications in theology, missiology, education and linguistics. She is married to Tony; they have four children and thirteen grandchildren. Judith and Tony have ministered together in Indonesia, with indigenous Australians at Nungalinya College and training missionary candidates. She has also taught at Trinity Theological College, Perth. Currently, she coordinates women’s ministry at Dalkeith Anglican Church.

Darren Cronshaw pastors the AuburnLife Baptist Church and is a researcher with the Baptist Union of Victoria. He has doctorates in practical theology and missiology and postgraduate qualifications in linguistics and education. He trains leaders as Professor of Missional Leadership and Head of Research with the Australian College of Ministries and is Adjunct Professor at the Swinburne Leadership Institute. Darren is married to Jenni; they have three children. He keeps fit with Hawthorn Triathlon Club.