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

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2021 SparkLit Awards Night

The 2021 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 2 September. Join us to celebrate the courage and endeavour of our Christian writers! Register now to receive the livestream link (free of charge).

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.

2021 SparkLit Awards Night

You can rewatch the presentation of the 2021 Australian Christian Book of the Year Award:

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.

2021 Australian Christian Book of the Year Shortlist

The following ten titles have been shortlisted for the 2021 Australian Christian Book of the Year Award.

Shortlisted Abundance Andrew Lansdown Cascade Books 9781725284579

Andrew Lansdown has spent a lifetime observing, recording, honing and perfecting his art. This collection displays a masterful poet of form and image at home among his family, kingfishers, grasshoppers, puddles and his Lord and Saviour. Play and discipline. Joy and melancholy. Abundance is exquisite, delightful and always powerful.

Shortlisted The Good Sporting Life Stephen Liggins Matthias Media 9781925424645

Sport might be time off work, but it is not time off being a Christian. The Good Sporting Life examines the nature and power of sport and its place in Australian culture. In this unique book, a passionate sportsman and follower of Jesus shows how Christians can profitably engage with sport as players, coaches, fans, parents and spectators. As Christians we are to be humble in victory and gracious in defeat. Liggins is wise, practical and easy to read. There’s nothing wrong with competition. The challenge is in how we play the game.

Shortlisted Healing Lives Sue Williams Pan Macmillan Australia 9781760982034

The extraordinary deeds of gynaecologists Catherine and Reg Hamlin in Ethiopia are retold alongside the story of one of their patients. Mamitu Gashe triumphs over the trauma of childhood marriage, catastrophic injuries in childbirth and cultural constraints to become a renowned fistula surgeon. Despite their strikingly different backgrounds and personalities, Mamitu and Catherine were united by their commitment to a shared vision, and formed an enduring partnership. A wonderful story of practical spirituality, incredible determination and a remarkable friendship.

Shortlisted How to Talk About Jesus (Without Being That Guy) Sam Chan Zondervan Reflective 9780310112693

In a post-Christian age the gospel is, again, wonderfully foreign. This climate favours the amateur evangelist. Less talking, more listening. Fewer answers, more questions. Less debate, more hospitality. Fewer formulas, more stories. Sam Chan is bright and enthusiastic, and has a firm grasp of contemporary culture and attitudes. His handbook is fresh and encouraging and seeks to ensure that if anyone offends or shines, it will be Jesus.

Shortlisted I Want to Fix Ears Graeme Clark ISCAST 9780645067101

A giant of medical science tells the story of the invention of the bionic ear. After watching his father struggle with hearing loss, Graeme Clark overcame obstacles and opposition to bring the gift of hearing to profoundly deaf children and adults. I Want to Fix Ears is beautifully presented and comprehensive. It includes testimonies of patients and chronicles research, innovation and advances across numerous disciplines. Clark’s compassion, creativity, integrity and accomplishments are attributed to his trust in Jesus. An inspiring journey of perseverance, enterprise and faith.

Shortlisted Jesus Through Muslim Eyes Richard Shumack SPCK 9780281081936

Jesus Through Muslim Eyes examines and compares the Jesus we meet in the Qur’an, Islamic traditions and the Bible in a lucid and concise way. Richard Shumack is both rigorous and courteous. By focusing on Jesus he moves the conversation between Christians and Muslims in a practical and positive direction. The book recognises both points of connection and contention, and leaves the reader with the heart and challenge of the gospel: the person of Jesus. A strategic and valuable book.

Shortlisted Judging the Macquaries John Harris Acorn Press 9780647530412

In this well-researched study of Australian colonial life, John Harris evaluates the life and legacy of Governor Lachlan Macquarie and his wife Elizabeth. Their correspondence reveals a couple united by deep affection and motivated by Christian devotion. Kindness defined Lachlan Macquarie’s personality and actions, and his merciful treatment of convicts and Aboriginal people attracted both admiration and scorn. However, the crime at the heart of colonialism—the injustice of dispossession—cannot be smoothed over; not by charity, not even by the most compassionate of colonial administrators. A most timely and pertinent work.

Shortlisted Talking Sex by the Book Patricia Weerakoon Youthworks Media 9781925879476

Christian parents overwhelmed by ubiquitous pornography and multiplying expressions of sexual identity will find Patricia Weerakoon’s authority, experience and pastoral style appealing. This is not a time to retreat or acquiesce. Weerakoon is frank, explicit and practical, and unapologetically places the benefits of what God has revealed above political correctness. This book is easy to navigate and each section includes a guide to age-appropriate talk and action.

Shortlisted Western Fundamentalism Gordon Menzies Gordon Menzies 9780648728504

Western Fundamentalism exposes the brittle state of Western society following the rejection of its Christian foundations and social contract. Gordon Menzies shows how our unquestioning commitment (fundamentalism!) to democracy, sexual freedom and deregulated markets is radically individualistic and a threat to human flourishing. His critique is profound and provocative, and transcends the narratives of both Left and Right. Menzies is original, wry and surprising.

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.

 

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 and 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.

Entry form and conditions

Download entry form here.

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.