|ICRS: ‘Burning Sky’ wins Christy Award for ‘Book of the Year’|
|Written by Christine D. Johnson|
|Monday, 23 June 2014 11:48 PM America/New_York|
New author Lori Benton was honored with three Christy Awards Monday evening, June 23, at the event that has celebrated Christian fiction for 15 years.
Not only was Benton’s Burning Sky given the top honor, but it also won for her the First Novel and Historical categories. Benton was not able to attend, however, as she is battling cancer and is having surgery the day after the Christys. In her stead, her editor, Shannon Marchese, of WaterBrook Multnomah Publishing Group, and agent, Wendy Lawton of Books & Such, accepted her awards.
Davis Bunn was master of ceremonies for the event held at the Atlanta Marriott Marquis. With four of his works Christy winners in past years, including Rare Earth (2013), Bunn was inducted into the Christy Hall of Fame. He dedicated the award to his wife, who was not able to attend as, he said, she was “6,000 miles away.” Noting that she is a very private person, Bunn said of his tribute to her and with a smile: “She’s going to be furious!”
Keynote speaker Marcia Z. Nelson, associate religion editor at Publishers Weekly, began with a silent prayer. Nelson, who is also a seminary student, said she is a Quaker, so a time of silence to listen to God was appropriate.
Nelson reflected on the alphabet through the letter "E" in a look at the forthcoming retail and reader environment for fiction. “A” stood for Amish, of which she said there was more to come, but with no Amish vampires in the mix; “B” stands for biblical fiction, which also is expanding, though she didn’t know why because of limited sales; “C” reflected on the expanding children’s fiction market, but she advised a change in course for anyone attempting to write a dystopian novel since that genre is so competitive; “D” was for digital with “lots of experimenting” going on; and “E” was for empathy, which, it has been reported, develops in the person who reads literary fiction.
Nelson reflected on the truth of a good novel, even though stories are “made-up creatures.” She also noted that stories “tell the truth in imagination, and imagination is God’s gift.”
Along with Benton, the other 2014 Christy winners include Lisa Harris, Christa Parrish, Susan May Warren, Tessa Afshar, Anne Elisabeth Stengl and Ted Dekker. Click here for a full title list of the 2014 Christy Award finalists and winners.