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

2018 Australian Christian Book of the Year Call for Entries

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 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 Australian.

 

Entry form and conditions

Download entry form here

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

 

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.

 

The award was accepted by Stuart Piggin, Conjoint Associate Professor of History at Macquarie University, and David Groenewegen from Monash University Publishing at the annual awards ceremony in Melbourne on Thursday 15 August.

 

Judges described the book as “a seminal and epic contribution to Australian Christian history, thoroughly researched, deeply insightful and a pleasure to read.” They noted the book’s critical function in correcting the general ignorance of the enormous influence of evangelical Christians in the development of Australia.

 

“It is a challenge for the historian to make visible that which has long been invisible. Australia’s Christian heritage has not so much been lost as never found. Evangelicals’ prescription for a Christian civilisation promoted policies where justice, compassion and prosperity for all flourished, and made a major contribution to the development of the Australia we know today. Understanding the fountain from which our present prosperity flows is the first step in reimagining a future for Australia.”

 

“This gripping and impressively researched book puts evangelical Christianity at the centre of the Australian story, from the eighteenth century through to World War I. It begins by recounting the friendship between a First Fleet officer, Lieutenant Dawes, and some of the Indigenous Eora. It goes on to introduce female suffragists and missionary workers, Chinese evangelists and moral reformers—a wide range of people who imagined their community and its future through the eyes of faith. Professors Piggin and Linder have devoted decades to unearthing the story of ‘Christlike citizenship’ in Australia, and the result is a fluent work of national and international importance. Offering a radical revision of some of the received wisdom about our nation, it can be read from cover to cover, enjoyed in sections and revisited as a reference. A landmark account of the enormous influence of evangelicals in shaping modern Australia.”

 

The Fountain of Public Prosperity:
Evangelical Christians in Australian History 1740–1914
Stuart Piggin & Robert D. Linder
Monash University Publishing
ISBN (hardback): 978-1-925523-46-1
ISBN (paperback): 978-1-925835-40-3

Shortlisted

The Apostles’ Creed: A Guide to the Ancient Catechism

Benjamin Myers

Lexham Press

ISBN 9781683590880

 

This brief but brilliant book gives the reader fresh eyes for an old statement of faith. Ben Myers discusses each article of the Apostles’ Creed in turn, recognising the points where it offends the sensibilities of our sceptical age. He brings early Christian writers into the conversation to show us there is nothing new about our current preoccupation with gender, authenticity and autonomy. Myers pays due attention to the priority of Scripture, and weaves together theology, history and tradition. This is a warm, accessible and contemporary appreciation for those who know the Apostles’ Creed well and those who don’t know it at all. A gem.

Shortlisted

Coming Home: Discipleship, Ecology and Everyday Economics

Jonathan Cornford

Morning Star

ISBN 9780648453727

 

To restore ecology and economics to their place within the household of God, Jonathan Cornford suggests that Christians begin by placing Christ at the centre of their homes. He gently helps us to examine the real costs and benefits of the way we live and to reorder our lives so that we might all live well. This book is not puritanical, legalistic or overwhelming but it is certainly challenging and countercultural. Full of practical advice about work, leisure, debt, investment, consumption and hospitality, Coming Home shows how we can set about fulfilling God’s mandate to care for his creation in all its facets.

Shortlisted

For the Joy: 21 Australian Missionary Mother Stories on Cross-Cultural Parenting and Life

Edited by Miriam Chan & Sophia Russell

Grace Abounding Books

ISBN 9780648163718

 

Women engaged in a range of missionary enterprise share the often unspoken struggles that mothers face. Separated from family, misunderstood by friends and immersed in cultures vastly different from their own, they face loneliness, isolation and conflicting attitudes to child-rearing. The stories about the murder of a husband and sons or waiting for news of a child caught up in a terrorist attack are shattering. Other chapters show women responding creatively to a lack of amenities and children struggling in an alien landscape. There is no triumphalism here; just quiet confidence and joy in Jesus.

Shortlisted

God Is Good for You: A Defence of Christianity in Troubled Times

Greg Sheridan

Allen & Unwin

ISBN 9781760632601

 

A prominent national journalist investigates the future of Christianity in Australia. His reporting is wide-ranging and adventurous. His insights are reasoned and sometimes surprising. Sheridan analyses the contribution Christians have made to our understanding of ethics, morality, human rights, justice and secular politics and describes the role Christians will play as a minority. He continues by probing the beliefs of politicians and concludes by telling the inspiring and moving stories of ordinary Christians. Confident, personal and persuasive.

Shortlisted

Heaven All Around Us: Discovering God in Everyday Life

Simon Carey Holt

Cascade Books

ISBN 9781498278850

 

The winsome account of a personal journey from a conventional, private piety to an inclusive and contextualised spirituality—a pilgrimage from withdrawal to involvement. The author demonstrates how the incarnation dislodges the wedge between heaven and earth and affirms our physical life. Insights are drawn from Scripture, personal experience as a pastor and teacher, and a wide range of Christian thinkers. The book has much wise and practical advice on how the Christian can honour God in the ordinary experiences of daily life: in the home, neighbourhood, workplace, sport and supermarket.

Shortlisted

Tea & Thread: Portraits of Middle Eastern Women Far from Home

Sally Bathgate & Katrina Flett Gulbrandsen

Grace Abounding Books

ISBN 9780646972831

 

An exquisite celebration of the gift of hospitality and the art of listening. Seventeen women who have been displaced by the terror of war in the Middle East share what they carry in their hearts: recipes, arts, crafts and stories. A compassionate and patient posture will be rewarded with hibiscus and cinnamon tea, delicious lamb and yoghurt pilaf, olive oil and beeswax body balm, and, of course, friendship. Beautiful and moving.

Shortlisted

This One Life: Conversations on the Journey of Life

Sharon Witt

Collective Wisdom Publications

ISBN 9780648373216

 

A popular teacher, author and advocate gets personal in order to offer young women an antidote to the toxic voices—both internal and external—that persuade them that they will never be good enough. Together, Witt and her readers take risks, build confidence, overcome obstacles, forgive, live with anxiety, find their vocation and dare to dream. The text is enriched by hundreds of sketches, photos, quotes and memes. Owners of this unfinished journal are invited to record their own story.

Shortlisted

Unexpected: Leave Fear Behind, Move Forward in Faith, Embrace the Adventure

Christine Caine

Zondervan

ISBN 9780310352327

 

An international speaker and campaigner against human trafficking leads us along the path to joy in an uncertain world. Because of our relationship with Jesus we can embrace life’s threatening experiences with confidence rather than self-preservation and fear. The author practices what she preaches and willingly shares her doubts, flaws and struggles as well as her spiritual highs as she learns to trust Jesus. Bold, brave and compelling.

Shortlisted

Workship 2: How to Flourish at Work

Kara Martin

Graceworks

ISBN 9789811172342

 

In this fine sequel to her previous book, Kara Martin demolishes the popular heresy that there is a dichotomy between our everyday work and spiritual life. Each chapter provides a biblical and eminently practical response to a challenge common in the workplace. This is followed by lively discussion questions, a relevant prayer and resources for further exploration and application. Bullying and stress are wisely handled and the author deals creatively with unexpected topics. If you think hospitality in the workplace begins and ends with drinks after work, you will be pleasantly surprised. An excellent book for workers and those who pastor them.

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

 

In The Bible in Australia, 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.

 

The Bible in Australia: A Cultural History
Meredith Lake
NewSouth Publishing
ISBN 9781742235714

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

 

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.

 

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

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

 

2019 Australian Christian Book of the Year
Winner. 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 judge’s comments.

 

2018 Australian Christian Book of the Year
Winner. 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
Winner. 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
Winner. 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
Winner. 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)
Second Prize. In God They Trust? by Roy Williams (Bible Society Australia)
Third Prize. C. S. Lewis and the Body in the Basement by Kel Richards (Strand)
Open 2014 awards results and judges’ comments.

 

2013 Australian Christian Book of the Year

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

 

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

 

2011 Australian Christian Book of the Year
Winner. Economics for Life by Ian Harper (Acorn Press)
Second Prize. Christianity Alongside Islam by John Wilson (Acorn Press)
Third Prize. Judgment Day: The Struggle for Life on Earth by Paul Collins (UNSW Press)
Open 2011 awards results and judges’ comments.

 

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

 

2009 Australian Christian Book of the Year
Winner. No Ordinary View by Naomi Reed (Ark House Press)
Joint Second Prize. Catherine’s Gift: Inside the World of Dr Catherine Hamlin by John Little (Pan Macmillan)
Joint Second Prize. Leadership on the Front Foot by Zachary Veron (Youthworks)
Joint Second 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 judges’ comments.

Australian Christian Book of the Year Award Judges

Darren Cronshaw

Darren Cronshaw pastors the Auburn Life Baptist Church in Melbourne. 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 serves as Chaplain with the Australian Army Reserve. Darren is married to Jenni; they have three children. He keeps fit with the Hawthorn Triathlon Club.

Meredith Lake is an historian interested in the ways Australians have understood the big questions of faith and meaning. In the ten years since she completed her doctorate she’s had three children and written two books, including the 2018 Australian Christian Book of the Year, The Bible in Australia: A Cultural History. She lives with her family in Sydney and is currently the host of Soul Search on ABC Radio National.

Judith Nichols has four children and fourteen grandchildren. She has a doctorate in classics and ancient history and qualifications in theology, missiology, education and linguistics. Judith and her late husband Tony ministered together in Indonesia, with Indigenous Australians at Nungalinya College and trained missionary candidates. She coordinates women’s ministry at Dalkeith Anglican Church, Perth.