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TORONTO, Ontario — (CANADIAN CHRISTIAN NEWS SERVICE) — Canada’s best writers who speak into Canadian culture with a Christian worldview will be honoured and celebrated on the evening of Friday, June 23.

Novelists, columnists, apologists, theologians and songwriters are among those who will be recognized in the annual Word Guild Awards Gala.

The 2017 Gala, a black-tie event which is the 29th annual, will be held at the Roma’s Hospitality Centre, at 5980 Shawson Dr, Mississauga.

“In a year celebrating Canada’s 150th, when Canadians everywhere are celebrating our nation’s ongoing story, the impact that these writers are having can’t be underestimated,” said Thomas Froese, chairman of The Word Guild’s Board of Directors.

“Through their commitment and ability to speak words of hope and truth, these writers are bringing many thousands of Canadians closer to the mystery of God in Christ, that is The Word incarnate. It’s a remarkable accomplishment to celebrate,” said Froese.

Awards will be given in 31 categories including for books, articles, poetry, blogs, screenplays, and French language, for work that was published in 2016 for both Christian and mainstream audiences.

Angela Reitsma Bick, of Newcastle, Ont., editor-in-chief of the Christian Courier, leads the way with three nominations in several column and article categories.

Two of Canada’s best-known Christian singer-songwriters – Carolyn Arends, of Surrey B.C., and Steve Bell, of Winnipeg, MB – are both double nominees in poetry and column categories.

And two of Canada’s best-known newspaper columnists — Michael Coren, who writes for the Toronto Star, and Raymond J. De Souza, who writes for the National Post, are also short-listed. Coren is nominated for “Rest in Peace My Sweet Boy,” while De Souza is nominated for “Burying the Office of Religious Freedom.”

In the same category, the National Post’s Editorial Board is short-listed for “In The Era of Fake News, The Power of True Words Adopts a Holy Light,” a 2016 Christmas reflection.

The 2017 gala sees the introduction of two new awards. The Best New Canadian Manuscript Award is sponsored by Castle Quay Press. And for the first time, the Debra Fieguth Award will be given for excellence in social justice issues.

The evening will also feature the seventh annual presentation of the $5,000 Grace Irwin Prize. Canada’s largest literary prize for Christian authors is awarded in honour of the most outstanding book published in 2016.

A winner will also be announced for the Harvey / Mackey Award, named after veteran journalists Bob Harvey and Lloyd Mackey.

“It’s a credit to each of the nominees, already, whether they win an award or not, to have their work brought forward for this sort of memorable evening,” said Froese.

The gala, which will include a formal dinner, music, award presentations and dessert social, is open to the general public.

Tickets are available online as of May 1, with an early bird rate that ends May 16.

Word Awards Gala tickets can be purchase here.




Book – Academic

Hans Boersma of Vancouver, B.C. for Sacramental Preaching (Baker Academic)

Stanley Porter of Hamilton, Ont. for Sacred Tradition in the New Testament (Baker Academic)

Book – Christian Living

Cindy Palin of Olds, Alta. for The Faith Keeper (Word Alive Press)

James Smith of Grand Rapids, Mich. for You Are What You Love (Brazos Press)

Ron Hughes of Smithville, Ont. and Bob Fife of Ont. for Out: One Christian’s experience of leaving the gay community (Kregel Publications)

Book – Inspirational/Devotional

Brian Stiller of Newmarket, Ont. for An Insider’s Guide to Praying for the World (Bethany Publishers)

Carol Ford of Newmarket, Ont. , Glenda Dekkema of Stouffville, Ont., Melony Teague of Richmond Hill, Ont., Claudia Loopstra of King, Ont., Marguerite Cummings of Toronto, Ont. for As the Ink Flows: Devotions to Inspire Christian Writers & Speakers (Judson Press)

Sharon Simmonds of Abbotsford, B.C. for Who Am I? (Castle Quay Books)

Stacey Weeks of Brantford, Ont. and Julie Johnson of Burlington, Ont. for Unexpected Love (self)

Book – Life Stories

Amanda Legault of Plum Coulee, Man. for In My Wake (Word Alive Press)

Christine Lindsay of Hope, B.C. for Finding Sarah Finding Me (WhiteFire

Ron Corcoran of Victoria for Deliver Us From Evil (Friesen Press)

Ron Hughes of Smithville, Ont. and Bob Fife of Ont. for Out: One Christian’s experience of leaving the gay community (Kregel Publications)

Novel – Children

Dianne Gemmell of Newmarket, Ont. for The Fire Truck (Word Alive Press)

Donna Simard of St.Lazare, Man. for Shhh! It’s a Surprise! A Sleepover at
Grandma and Grandpa’s Farm (Word Alive Press)

Glynis Belec of Drayton, Ont. for Jesus Loves Me When I Dance (Angel Hope Publishing)

Janis Cox of Haliburton, Ont. for The Kingdom of Thrim (Siretona Creative)

Novel – Suspense

Anne Cattaruzza of Longueuil, Que. for Searching for Sheida (Westbow Press)

Sara Davison of Guelph, Ont. for The Dragon Roars (Ashberry Lane)

Sara Davison of Guelph, Ont. for The Morning Star Rises (Ashberry Lane)


Article – Blog

Bruce Clemenger of Ottawa, Ont. for “The Pitfalls of Endorsing Candidates for Public Office” (

Dustin Schellenberg of Winnipeg for “Team Cap: Stand Firm” (

Lynn Dove of Cochrane, Alta. For “Christian Against Christian” (

Article – Inspirational/Devotional

Carolyn Arends of Surrey, B.C. for “Artful Discipleship” (Faith Today)

Daniel Blackwell of North York, Ont. for “Taking Off the Masks – The need for recovery groups in our churches” (testimony)

Sherry Stahl of Leamington, Ont. for “The Women Of The Christmas Story – The Teenager” (

Article – Long Feature

Angela Reitsma Bick of Newcastle, Ont. for “The Stained-glass Ceiling” (Christian Courier)

Chad Wriglesworth of Vancouver, B.C. for “”The Thing I Would Like, Actually, Is to Bless You”: Acknowledging the Soul in Marilynne Robinson’s Gilead” (CRUX)

Lindsay Mason of Vancouver, B.C. for “The Gravity of Desire in Marilynne Robinson’s “Housekeeping”” (CRUX)

Mark Scott of Vancouver, B.C. for “Beauty from Ashes: Aesthetic Transformations of Suffering in Gilead” (CRUX)

Article – Personal Experience

Angela Reitsma Bick of Newcastle, Ont. for “Editors Are Nothing Like Moms” (Christian Courier)

Ron Powell of St. Albert, Alta. for “Healing Comfort – A crushing experience leads to a deeper understanding” (testimony)

Tonia Pankova of Saskatoon for “A Tangled, Beautiful Mess – Living out God’s love for the orphan” (testimony)

Article – Profile/Human Interest

Angela Reitsma Bick of Newcastle, Ont. for “Everyday Patron Saints” (Christian Courier)

Daniel Richardson of Vanier, Ont. for “A Grief Observed” (TRACES Canada)

Jenny Svetec of Port Perry, Ont. for “The Right Formulae – A young woman’s passion for God, science and marginalized youth” (testimony)

Column – Series

Bruce Clemenger of Ottawa, Ont. for “Too Many Victims” and “Resignation” (Faith Today)

Carolyn Arends of Surrey, B.C. for “Believing in Jesus” and “Authentically holy” (Faith Today)

Rudy Eikelboom of Waterloo, Ont. for “Artificial Intelligence II” and “Artificial Intelligence III” (Christian Courier)

Sara Pot of St.Catharines, Ont. for “To Know and be Known” and “Grace, Grief and Stubborn Hope” (Christian Courier)

Column – Single

Carol Ford of Newmarket, Ont. for “Roadside Warnings” (

Derek Schuurman of Hamilton, Ont. for “Transhumanism and the Incarnation” (Christian Courier)

Steve Bell of Winnipeg, Man. for “Red Brother Red Sister” (Mosaic Magazine)

Steve Kennedy of Peterborough, Ont. for “A Sobering Conclusion” (testimony)


Corrine Clyne of Winnipeg, Man. for “Untitled” (Goldrock Press)

Steve Bell of Winnipeg, Man. for “Freedom Road” (Intotemak Magazine)

Violet Nesdoly of Langley, B.C. for “The Longsuffering of Old Bibles” (Utmost Christian Writers)

Song Lyrics

Marika Siewart of Vancouver for “Heal Our Land” (self)

Sally Meadows of Saskatoon, Sask. for “Holy Spirit” (self)



Book – Culture

Deborah Williams of Toronto, Ont. for The Grace Factor (Castle Quay)

Patricia Paddey of Mississauga, Ont. and Dr. Jean Chamberlain Froese of Ancaster, Ont. for The Game Changers: True Stories About Saving Mothers and Babies in East Africa (Graf-Martin)

Tim Huff of Toronto, Ont. and Cheryl Bear, Nadleh Whut’en First Nation, B.C. for The Honour Drum (Castle Quay)

Book – Life Stories

Bobbi Junior of Edmonton, Alta for When the Bough Breaks (self)

Patricia Paddey of Mississauga, Ont. and Dr. Jean Chamberlain Froese of Ancaster, Ont. for The Game Changers: True Stories About Saving Mothers and Babies in East Africa (Graf-Martin)

Shelaine Strom of Abbotsford, B.C. for Changing Course (self)

Novel – Suspense

Lisa Hall-Wilson of London, Ont. for The Watched (self)

J.A. Menzies of Markham, Ont. for The Case of the Homeless Pup (MurderWillOut Mysteries)


Column – Single

Editorial Board National Post of Toronto, Ont. for “In The Era of Fake News, The Power of True Words Adopts a Holy Light” (National Post)

Michael Coren of Toronto, Ont. for “Rest In Peace My Sweet Boy” (Toronto Star)

Raymond J De Souza of Toronto, Ont. for “Burying the Office of Religious Freedom” (National Post)

Personal Experience

David Kennedy of Peterborough, Ont. for “Some of Jim’s Finest Moments” (testimony)

Joshua Heath of Edmonton, Alta. for “All God’s Children” (Goldrock Press)

Best New Canadian Manuscript

Donna Mann of Elora, Ont. for Emma’s Call (fiction)

Karen Robichaud of Middle Sackville, N.S. for When Lions Roar (fiction)

Ron Mahler of Minden, Ont. for The Banquet: Exploring the Greatest Invitation Extended to Humanity (non-fiction)

Uzoma Uponi of Calgary, Alta. for The Colour of Trouble (fiction)
Awards will be presented on June 23rd to the winners of these categories for which there are no shortlists of finalists:

Book – Christian Biblical Studies Book – Christian Children, Book – Christian Culture, Novel – Christian Contemporary, Novel – Christian Historical, Novel – Christian Romance, Article – Christian Short Feature, Short Story – Christian, Vie Chrétienne ,
Short Story – Crossover, Article – Crossover Long Feature, Novel – Crossover Young Adult


The Word Guild is an association of Canadian writers, editors, speakers, publishers, booksellers, librarians, and other Christian individuals who are invested in or employed in media. From all parts of Canada and many denominational and cultural backgrounds, they are united in their common passion to positively influence individuals, and ultimately Canadian culture, through life-changing words that bring God’s message of hope.

For questions and comments please contact us:
Karen deBlieck