At the International Christian Retailers Show in St. Louis, Missouri, ACFW announced a major change in their esteemed Book of the Year Award program.
Each year, publishers and individual authors enter hundreds of recent Christian fiction releases in the ACFW Book of the Year Awards contest. Past Book of the Year winners have included noted authors Tracie Peterson, DiAnn Mills, Robin Lee Hatcher, Kim Vogel Sawyer, and many other skilled CBA novelists honored by ACFW for excellence in Christian fiction.
In 1979, Bethany Publishing House editor Carol Johnson made a bold move that served as a catalyst for unprecedented growth in Christian fiction. It was a decision that changed the face of the industry and the content of readers’ bookshelves. Mrs. Johnson championed Christian fiction by acquiring author Janette Oke, whose Love Comes Softly blazed a trail for future storytellers.
“ACFW owes a great debt of gratitude to the pioneers of Christian fiction,” says ACFW President Cynthia Ruchti, “and to those who helped make Christian fiction the storytelling powerhouse it is today. To honor editorial pioneer Carol Johnson and others like her who envisioned how Christian fiction could make a mark in the publishing world,” adds Ruchti, “ACFW has renamed our Book of the Year Award. From this point on, the highest achievement in our award program for published authors will be The Carol Award.”
ACFW CEO and award-winning author Colleen Coble notes, “Although Carol Johnson is most content behind the scenes, her contribution to modern Christian fiction (both historical and contemporary) is impossible to measure. Where would we be today if she had turned down those earlier projects and the firestorm of fiction they helped unleash?”
Asked to comment on Carol Johnson’s impact, Bethany House Publishers’ Vice President of Editorial David Horton notes, “Carol’s vision for the future of fiction, her belief in the power of story to share God’s truth, her respect for the art of writing, her trust in the editorial process, and her abiding concern for her authors set the course that Bethany House continues to follow today. Her acquisitions knocked open doors we now take for granted. The books she edited touched millions of lives.”
Carol Johnson will be present for the awards banquet at ACFW’s annual conference September 17-20 in Indianapolis to present the inaugural Carol Awards. Janette Oke will attend as well, to join conferees and industry professionals in celebrating the growth of Christian fiction and to present Carol Johnson with ACFW’s first ever Lifetime Achievement Award.
ACFW is devoted to training its writers, educating them in the market, and serving as an advocate in the traditional Christian fiction publishing industry. With more than 2100 members and 21 local chapters in 15 states as well as a beyond-the-borders e-chapter, ACFW speaks loud and strong as The Voice of Christian fiction.
For interviews or more information about ACFW (www.acfw.com), contact Cynthia Ruchti, ACFW President, at firstname.lastname@example.org or Angela Breidenbach, ACFW Publicity email@example.com.