What will be the year's best Aussie Christian book?

The 2020 shortlist for Australian Christian Book of the Year highlights the diversity and breadth of the Christian writing scene.

Among the top ten nominees are memoirs by Tim Costello and actress and author Anna McGahan, theological offerings from authors including John Dickson, and a historical treatise on the role of the church in society by the Centre for Public Christianity (CPX) team.

“It really has always been my hope that this book … could have a radical impact.” – Anna McGahan

The shortlist also includes the second volume of last year’s winning book by Stuart Piggin and Robert Linder, The Fountain of Public Prosperity: Evangelical Christians in Australian History 1740–1914. The second volume is Attending to the National Soul – Evangelical Christians in Australian History 1914–2014.

Bible Society Australia (which owns Eternity) is thrilled that three of the shortlisted books are from the Bible Society family.

Anna McGahan’s revealing memoir Metanoia is published by Acorn Press (part of Bible Society) – and also has been nominated for an international ECPA Christian Book Award.

“It really has always been my hope that this book, because it is a radical story, could have a radical impact, could communicate the wildness of God, especially … the God that pursues those that are considered the least likely to fit into his kingdom,” McGahan – best known for her work in Underbelly, Picnic at Hanging Rock and 100 Bloody Acres – told Eternity. 

Then there’s CPX’s book For the Love of God: How the church is better and worse than you ever imagined. It is based on the documentary which played in more than 150 cinemas across Australia, and has morphed into a website offering loads of related resources.

Author of the book Natasha Moore ( along with John Dickson, Simon Smart and Justine Toh) explained the purpose of the book (and film) to Eternity: “We wanted to have a candid conversation about the history of Christianity. It’s important to be honest because people should understand that it’s not possible to have a conversation about all the good stuff that Christianity has brought unless we own up to all the terrible things people have done in its name.”

Tim Costello – also part of the CPX team, as senior fellow – has been nominated for his memoir A Lot With a Little. Costello’s book unravels his life as a pastor/lawyer in the backstreets of Melbourne’s St Kilda, and as CEO of, then chief advocate for, World Vision Australia.

“In a gentle way, this book tries to address the Australian church through the story of my parents,” Costello said at the launch of the book.

The winner of the 2020 Australian Christian Book of the Year, as well as the Young Christian Writer and Teen Writer Awards, will be announced and prizes presented on Thursday, August 13.

For more information, visit SparkLit