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



Child, Arise!
The Courage to Stand: A Spiritual Handbook for Survivors of Sexual Abuse
Jane N Dowling
David Lovell Publishing


Knowing that God speaks to us when we read the Bible, Jane Dowling prayerfully applies God’s Word to the experience of living with the long-term effects of sexual abuse, including abuse by clergy. Her reflections are gentle, almost tremulous. Jesus shows her the way from ruin and despair to healing and hope. This is a handbook for survivors of sexual abuse and those who seek to understand and support them.  But because Dowling engages with the Scriptures in their original context, her book has application for all Christians who are living with painful experiences. This is a courageous and historic book. For a church yearning for healing and wholeness, Jane Dowling has performed a great service.


Post-God Nation? How Religion Fell Off the Radar in Australia and What Might be Done to Get It Back On

Roy Williams
ABC Books


In this accessible yet rigorous exploration of the real and perceived influence of Christianity in Australia, Roy Williams engages with both historical and contemporary culture and thinking. He demonstrates the impact of Christianity on the culture and values of all Australians, whether Christian or not. Williams imagines a frightening and convincing picture of an Australia where the Christian voice has been forever silenced. He does not shrink from identifying ways that Christians have undermined their own credibility. His list of causes where the churches should be at the forefront deserves serious consideration.


Leon Morris: One Man’s Fight for Love and Truth
Neil Bach
Authentic Media


This is the first comprehensive biography of Australia’s most acclaimed and influential New Testament scholar. Neil Bach makes good use of Morris’ extensive correspondence and meticulous records, and writes with enthusiasm. The reader is introduced to an original thinker and prodigious author. From unlikely beginnings, he emerged on the international scene to reassert the centrality of the atoning death of Jesus on the cross for Christian faith. Yet Morris was a humble and generous man whose door was always open to students and his heart to fellow disciples.


Zechariah: The Lord Returns
Michael R Stead
Aquila Press


Michael Stead has served Christians well by filling a gap in contemporary Bible commentary with this lucid and accessible study of one of the more difficult books in the Old Testament. Stead highlights Zechariah’s message to hang on to God’s promises amid ­struggle and discouragement. Among a confusing array of books on the end-times, this down-to-earth commentary provides helpful tools for understanding ­apocalyptic writing. Each chapter concludes with an explanation of how the visions of Zechariah relate to Jesus and apply to our lives today.


Trumped By Grace 
Peter Stiles
Poetica Christi Press
Peter Stiles delights in Jesus, creation, people and language. His writing is ­disciplined and masterful and the poems are vivid and beautiful. By revealing the sacred in the ordinary, Trumped by Grace reminds us how to be still and know God in a chaotic world. This is poetry for everyone. Buy it. Read it. Anywhere. Aloud.


Understanding Jesus and Muhammad: What the Ancient Texts Say About Them
Bernie Power
Acorn Press


Drawing on his considerable scholarship and experience in Asia and the Middle East, Bernie Power helps us to understand history’s two most influential individuals and the tension between the faiths and civilisations they inspired. To real-life encounters and conversations the author brings the texts and doctrines that each faith holds as authoritative. Readers are able to compare the teachings of Jesus and Muhammad on violence, miracles, attitudes to women and the end of the age. This is a practical and concise reference work for Christians eager to engage respectfully with Muslims.


They Conspire Against Your People: The European Churches and the Holocaust
Colin Barnes
King’s Divinity Press and the Centre for Jewish-Christian Studies


The story of the ­complicity of the Christian church during the Holocaust, particularly in Poland, Hungary and Germany, is a powerful indictment which commands our attention. This profoundly disturbing book demonstrates the danger of adapting religious beliefs to the prevailing political and philosophical currents and prejudices. They Conspire Against Your People is a timely reminder that we will be judged by our response to the suffering of others.


Maralinga’s Long Shadow: Yvonne’s Story 
Christobel Mattingley
Allen and Unwin


This lavishly illustrated biography records the lasting costs of nuclear tests in Central Australia to an Aboriginal community. Displaced from their country, Yvonne Edwards and her people were moved from the soft sands of the desert to the hard stones of a strange land. Her firstborn was taken away and her life was dogged by tragedy. Christobel Mattingley tells the story of her friend Yvonne and how her warm Christian faith delivered her from bitterness and enabled her to inspire her community to maintain both their connection to the land through painting and to pursue justice and compensation for the effects of radioactive contamination of their country. A gem.


Resilient: Your Invitation to a Jesus-Shaped Life
Sheridan Voysey
Discovery House


While recovering from a personal crisis, a veteran communicator turns to the Sermon on the Mount. Sheridan Voysey’s writing is elegant, imaginative and playful. It is rich with stories that move the heart and mind. These meditations provide fresh insights into Jesus’ most daunting and demanding words. This book powerfully fulfils what it promises. We are plunged into God’s intentions for living. We learn that resilience comes not from within ourselves but from taking Jesus at his word and living accordingly.


The Anonymous Leader: An Unambitious Pursuit of Influence 
Dealing with Doubts
Ralph Mayhew


What does Christ-like leadership look like in the age of entitlement? The Anonymous Leader challenges us to make Jesus both our king and our cause. Ralph Mayhew draws on the work of Dallas Willard, Richard Foster and Bill Hybels, as well as his own experience. His style is winsome and his reasoning is supported by anecdotes and biblical illustrations. There is wisdom, insight and encouragement here for both emerging and experienced leaders. A timely call to humility and service.

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 ACBOTY 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

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 holds degrees in arts, law and theology. He is a practising barrister in Brisbane. Outside the law, he is interested in books, music and seeing the Brisbane Lions win. Alex is married to Penny. They have three adult children and attend St Mark’s Anglican Church, Clayfield. He is the secretary of the Mathew Hale Public Library.

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.