4 July 2023
Well-known Melbourne Anglicans and self-published writers are among contenders for the 2023 SparkLit Christian Book of the Year.
The 10 shortlisted books range from essays about technology and parenting, to an exploration of the contribution of the arts in today’s world.
They include works by Ridley College principal Dr Brian Rosner and lecturer Dr Michael Bird.
In How to Find Yourself: Why Looking Inward is Not the Answer, Dr Rosner unspools and responds to popular cultural notions of identity.
Dr Bird’s book Religious Freedom in a Secular Age probes some of the limited and more expansive ways of thinking about the issue of religious freedom.
Bringing Forth Life by Jodie McIver was also shortlisted, and explored the spiritual significance of pregnancy, birth and early motherhood.
The Future is Bivocational by American Baptist pastor Andrew Hamilton made the list too. It argues that having more than one occupation can enhance a person’s ability to provide Christian ministry and mission.
Also capturing the judges’ attention was Critical Biblical Theory. In it, Monash University lecturer Christopher Watkin evaluates how the Bible helps us makes sense of our times.
St Stephen’s Richmond priest Michael Wood is another contender. His book Practicing Peace examines ways to make a positive difference through theology, reflection and action.
SparkLit National director Michael Collie said 102 books were submitted for consideration in the 43rd iteration of the awards.
Mr Collie said there were five criteria for the award, but relevance and freshness of the writing were primary.
“The books are judged by their originality and how well they meet a need for Christian writing in Australia,” he said.
No fiction works were included, but Mr Collie said he looked forward to a novel one day winning an Australian Christian Book of the Year award.
The winner will be revealed on Thursday 31 August, along with the Young Australian Christian Writer and Australian Christian Teen Writer awards.
Last year’s award went to Tony Rinaudo for The Forest Underground: Hope for a Planet in Crisis.
This article was amended on 4 July to reflect that 2023 is the 43rd year the Australian Christian Book of the Year is being presented, and not the 15th year.