Big names, as well as debut authors, made the list of winners of the 17th annual Christy Awards for excellence in Christian fiction, announced Monday at the International Christian Retail Show in Orlando, Fla.
Thief of Glory (WaterBrook) by veteran novelist Sigmund Brouwer was named Book of the Year. Brouwer’s World War II-era tale also won in the historical romance category. WaterBrook earned another Christy in the category of contemporary romance for A Broken Kind of Beautiful by Katie Ganshert.
Tyndale House authors took home two Christys, for The Sentinels of Andersonville, a Civil War-era historical by two-time winner Tracy Groot and, in the contemporary category, The Story Keeper by Lisa Wingate. The Amish Blacksmith by Mindy Starns Clark and Susan Meissner (Harvest House) won for contemporary series; in YA, first-time author Mary Weber won for Storm Siren (Thomas Nelson).
Debut author Marcus Brotherton earned the award for First Novel for Feast for Thieves (Moody/RiverNorth). Heritage Beacon Fiction, a new imprint of indie house Lighthouse Publishing of the Carolinas, was honored in the visionary category for Once Beyond a Time by veteran author Ann Tatlock, who is also managing editor for the imprint. Abingdon Press, with a five-year-old fiction program, won its first Christy for The Color of Justice, a suspense novel by another veteran, Ace Collins.
A total of 21 publishers submitted novels for consideration; with several independently published novels also submitted, judges reviewed 136 entries. “The finalists this year were the most diverse ever in terms of publisher representation, and the judges noted that the quality of writing was strong,” said Donna Kehoe, executive director of the Christy Awards. “They commented that the Book of the Year, Sigmund Brouwer’s Thief of Glory, set a new standard for writing merit.”
The Christy longlist of finalists in nine categories reflects publishing diversity within the genre, which remains dynamic and competitive even as publishers step back from it or shrink their fiction lists. Finalists included one independently published novel; two from the tiny indie visionary fiction publisher Enclave; and House of Living Stones, the first novel published by Concordia, the publishing arm of the Lutheran Church Missouri Synod.