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

 

2022 SparkLit Awards Night

The 2022 Australian Christian Book of the Year, Young Australian Christian Writer and Australian Christian Teen Writer Awards will be announced and prizes presented during this year’s SparkLit Awards Night on Thursday 1 September. Join us to celebrate the courage and endeavour of our Christian writers! Register now to receive the livestream link (free of charge) or buy tickets to the in-person event at St Alfred’s Anglican Church, Blackburn North.

Watch the 2022 SparkLit Awards Night livestream here!

Is your book a candidate for the 2022 Australian Christian Book of the Year Award?

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. Entries close 31 March 2022. Download conditions and entry form here.

2022 Australian Christian Book of the Year promises healing and hope for a hurting planet

The Forest Underground: Hope for a Planet in Crisis

Tony Rinaudo

ISCAST

ISBN: 9780645067118

Appalled and infuriated by the abuse and degradation of the environment, a boy offers himself to God. God answers this child’s prayer and the ensuing adventure across continents and decades is breathtaking. The simple and sustainable system of land management that Tony Rinaudo pioneered in Niger is transforming the lives of subsistence farmers around the world and offers a model for solving our environmental crisis. Reviving dormant tree stumps is as powerful a metaphor as it is a method of reforestation. Tony is determined and faithful, and writes without guile or hubris. Irresistible, exemplary and, above all, hopeful.

2022 Australian Christian Book of the Year Shortlist

The following ten titles have been shortlisted for the 2022 Australian Christian Book of the Year Award.

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Adopted in Love

Rachel Herweynen

Acorn Press

9780647531433

Rachel Herweynen and her husband move to Elcho Island in the Northern Territory. Adopted in Love tells how they are welcomed and integrated into the local Yolŋu family. The ­generosity and tenderness they experience reflects the grace and love with which our heavenly Father adopts us through his son Jesus. The story is told in English and Warramiri. This bilingual book is charming, colourful and ground-breaking. A beautiful and disarming good news story.

Shortlisted

A New Freedom

Mike Snowdon

Youthworks Media

9781925879940

The author finds common ground with his teenage readers and their pursuit of freedom. He begins by introducing Jesus as the only source and example of true freedom. The paradox of freedom is explored with metaphor: A kite can only fly when tethered. Like flying, exercising freedom requires skill, discipline and practice. Snowdon is empathetic, encouraging and wise. There are numerous links to videos and other online resources. This attractive and engaging manual of Christian living and ethics takes seriously the demands of Jesus and our daily struggle to put them into practice.

Shortlisted

Bullies and Saints

John Dickson

Zondervan

9780310118367

Would the world be better off without Christianity? Bullies and Saints is a rigorous, astute and thorough examination of complex and little-known history. Dickson is frank and unflinching about our darkest deeds. This is a book that can be given to anyone; not just to sceptics and seekers, but also to believers wanting to thoughtfully and confidently advocate for their faith. History is rarely this ­accessible and fluent. Compulsive reading. A masterpiece.

Shortlisted

Christians

Greg Sheridan

Allen & Unwin

9781760879099

A prominent journalist investigates the impact and influence of Jesus and people (including well-known Australians) who love and follow him. Sheridan writes with urgency and enthusiasm. He is curious, confident and wide-ranging. He meets common objections and questions, and appeals to the reader’s common sense and discernment. The result is entertaining, credible and compelling. Perfect for unchurched readers.

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Raising Kids Who Care

Susy Lee

598 Press

9780645141009

Want to change the world? Start at home. A guide to forty conversations for the whole family about our relationships, our culture, our inner selves and the world. The conversations are global in scope and contemporary in content. Tough tech talk. Visiting your local politician. Being part of the solution. Fighting fair. Making good ­conversation. We all need a mum like Susy Lee.

Shortlisted

Refuge Reimagined

Luke Glanville & Mark Glanville

InterVarsity Press

9780830853816

A timely reminder that displaced people looking for a home are our kin. The authors show how the biblical narrative and theology of kinship challenge our assumptions about refugees, national identity and the mission of the church. Bible scholarship is beautifully applied to one of the most vexed and urgent moral issues of our time. The book is both troubling and inspiring. An invitation to allow God to replace our guilt and fear with welcome, feasting and joy.

Shortlisted

Spacemaker

Daniel Sih

100 Movements Publishing

9781735598864

How do you spend your time? Need a dash of digital discipline? To tackle our complex relationship with technology, the author draws on sobering research, personal struggles and biblical wisdom. His life hacks have been tested and proved while rearranging the habits of industry leaders and business managers. Daniel Sih is clear, direct and practical. A manual for reclaiming space in our lives for what really matters.

Shortlisted

Topical Preaching in a Complex World

Sam Chan & Malcolm Gill

Zondervan Academic

9780310108900

While rehabilitating the neglected art of topical preaching, Sam Chan and Malcolm Gill deliver advice and techniques that will improve any sermon. The authors practise what they preach. Like a good sermon, the book is well-organised, clear, logical, culturally astute, vivid and includes good illustrations. They explore the theology, process and dynamics of how to speak the words of God to diverse audiences. An excellent textbook.

Shortlisted

Unfettered

Mandy Smith

Brazos Press

9781587435058

What did Jesus mean when he said that we can only enter the kingdom of God if we receive it like a little child? Mandy Smith endeavours to find out. Fasten your seatbelt. The journey is liberating but profoundly counterintuitive and countercultural. To enter the kingdom we must first repent of our inclination and aspiration to be self-­sufficient and in control. Then, like a child, we must rest, receive and respond to the good things God has in store for us. Original, surprising and provocative.

Australian Christian Book of the Year Award Judges

Greg Clarke has a doctorate in modern literature and long experience in publishing, academia and Christian mission. He was Group CEO of Bible Society Australia from 2010 to 2019 and is the author of the 2014 Australian Christian Book of the Year, The Great Bible Swindle. Greg and his family are members of St Mark’s Anglican Church in Darling Point, Sydney.

Stephen McAlpine has a back­ground in journalism and is the author of Being the Bad Guys, the 2021 Australian Christian Book of the Year. Steve and his wife Jill have been planting and pastoring churches in Perth for almost three decades. They have a heart for helping God’s people navigate the increasingly complex cultural settings of the West today and live confident and joyful lives in changing times.

Natasha Moore is a Senior Research Fellow at the Centre for Public Christianity (CPX). She has a PhD in English literature from the University of Cambridge and is the author of Victorian Poetry and Modern Life, The Pleasures of Pessimism, and For the Love of God, the 2020 Australian Christian Book of the Year. She is an incorrigible introvert, an avid reader and a surprised optimist.

 

2021 Australian Christian Book of the Year equips Christians to flourish in a post-Christian culture

Being the Bad Guys: How to Live for Jesus in a World that Says You Shouldn’t

Stephen McAlpine

The Good Book Company

ISBN: 9781784985981

No longer just quaint or irrelevant, Christians in Western society are once again regarded as “haters of humankind”. After exploring the ways a Christian worldview is unacceptable in contemporary Australia and the complex situations in which this places orthodox believers, Stephen McAlpine gets down to business. There is neither reason nor time for indulging in despair or victimhood. Being the Bad Guys calls on Christians to admit our failures and embrace life as a creative minority. As a community on the margins, we can welcome the actual victims of contemporary culture as they look for grace and solace from its bruising brutality. McAlpine is fearless, feisty and fluent. This book is an overdue reset for Christians who have not yet realised that they are more like Daniel in Babylon than Solomon in the land of milk and honey.

2020 Australian Christian Book of the Year puts Christianity on trial

For the Love of God: How the Church is Better and Worse Than You Ever imagined

Natasha Moore with John Dickson, Simon Smart & Justine Toh

Centre for Public Christianity

ISBN: 9780647530351

For the Love of God is a bold yet balanced appraisal of the impact of Christianity, examining both the best and worst of what Christians have done over two millennia. Natasha Moore and her collaborators confront the failure of those who claimed to follow Christ but were responsible for the Crusades, the Inquisition and the abuse of children. The ease with which Christians through the ages have ignored both the teaching of Jesus and the dissenting voices of contemporary prophets is a caution. The authors also show how—when they obey Jesus—Christians have contributed to what is beautiful and beneficial in culture and society. In a time of social media echo chambers, fact-free opinion bubbles and divisive culture wars, this sort of fair and generous commentary is invaluable.

2019 Australian Christian Book of the Year a radical revision of our history

The Fountain of Public Prosperity

Stuart Piggin & Robert D. Linder

Monash University Publishing

ISBN (hardback): 9781925523461
ISBN (paperback): 9781925835403

The Fountain of Public Prosperity: Evangelical Christians in Australian History 1740–1914 by Stuart Piggin and Robert Linder is the 2019 Australian Christian Book of the Year. It is a challenge for the historian to make visible that which has long been invisible. The contribution Evangelicals have made to Australia has not so much been lost as never found. Understanding the fountain from which our present prosperity flows is the first step in reimagining a future for Australia. Professors Piggin and Linder have devoted decades to unearthing the story of ‘Christlike citizenship’ in Australia. The result is a  gripping, deeply insightful and impressively researched contribution to Australian Christian history covering the eighteenth century through to World War I. The Fountain of Public Prosperity is a seminal work of national and international importance.

2018 Australian Christian Book of the Year a lively and revealing contribution to the debate about the role of faith in Australian life

The Bible in Australia

Meredith Lake

NewSouth Publishing

ISBN 9781742235714

In The Bible in Australia: A Cultural History, Meredith Lake gives an arresting and comprehensive account of how preachers, suffragists, unionists, politicians, writers, painters, musicians, immigrants and Indigenous peoples have used the Bible to shape Australian history and culture. Scripture arrived tattooed on the bodies of convicts aboard the First Fleet and, in the hands of Indigenous Christians, has nourished movements for justice, for land rights, and for recognition and reconciliation. Lake shows that Australia has been neither a secular society nor a Christian nation. At every level the Bible has been held to be everything from a resented imposition to the word of God. However, even while Bible reading and biblical literacy decline, the Bible is an indelible part of our story. This is a history of national importance and an insight into Australian culture.

2017 Australian Christian Book of the Year an irresistible treasury of Indigenous storytelling

Our Mob, God’s Story

Edited by Louise Sherman & Christobel Mattingley

Bible Society Australia

ISBN 9780647519585

In Our Mob, God’s Story, 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.

Is your book a candidate for the 2022 Australian Christian Book of the Year Award?

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. Entries close 31 March 2022. Download conditions and entry form here.

 

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.

 

 

Results

 

2020 Australian Christian Book of the Year For the Love of God: How the Church is Better and Worse Than You Ever Imagined by Natasha Moore with John Dickson, Simon Smart & Justine Toh (Centre for Public Christianity)
Open 2020 awards results and judges’ comments.

 

2019 Australian Christian Book of the Year The Fountain of Public Prosperity: Evangelical Christians in Australian History 1740–1914 by Stuart Piggin & Robert D. Linder (Monash University Publishing)
Open 2019 awards results and judges’ comments.

 

2018 Australian Christian Book of the Year The Bible in Australia: A Cultural History by Meredith Lake (NewSouth Publishing)
Open 2018 awards results and judges’ comments.

 

2017 Australian Christian Book of the Year Our Mob, God’s Story: Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander Artists Share their Faith edited by Louise Sherman & Christobel Mattingley (Bible Society Australia)
Open 2017 awards results and judges’ comments.

 

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

 

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

 

2014 Australian Christian Book of the Year Winner. The Great Bible Swindle by Greg Clarke (Bible Society Australia)
Open 2014 awards results and judges’ comments.

 

2013 Australian Christian Book of the Year Forged with Flames by Ann Fogarty (Wild Dingo Press)
Open 2013 awards results and judges’ comments.

 

2012 Australian Christian Book of the Year Gumbuli of Ngukurr: Aboriginal Elder in Arnhem Land by Murray Seiffert (Acorn Press)
Open 2012 awards results and judges’ comments.

 

2011 Australian Christian Book of the Year Economics for Life by Ian Harper (Acorn Press)
Open 2011 awards results and judges’ comments.

 

2010 Australian Christian Book of the Year Losing My Religion by Tom Frame (UNSW Press)
Open 2010 awards results and judges’ comments.

 

2009 Australian Christian Book of the Year No Ordinary View by Naomi Reed (Ark House Press)
Open 2009 awards results and judges’ comments.