The story of Arthur Stace, known as the Eternity Man, holds a special place in the hearts of those working at this publication. Now Mr Eternity, by Roy Williams and Elizabeth Meters, has been named on the shortlist of the Australian Christian Book of the Year for 2018.
Several works about Jesus and his impact on the world, a sweeping history of the Bible’s influence in Australia and a biography of Martin Luther are also in the running for what is the biggest annual Australian award dedicated to homegrown Christian literature.
Award organiser Michael Collie, national director of SparkLit, told Eternity this had been the strongest year in the award’s almost 30-year history, attracting a record 74 submissions, most of a high calibre.
“One of the purposes that this award serves is to highlight the amount of great writing and publishing that is occurring in this country,” says Collie. “There’s no other place where local writing is collectively showcased. Great writing by Australians is often lost among a flood of imports. We’re just highlighting excellent books which can hold their own anywhere.”
Collie named Martin Luther: A Wild Board in the Lord’s Vineyard as a highlight of the shortlist. “It stands head and shoulders above many other books on the same topic. It’s accessible and really exciting.”
Collie has noticed a strong trend emerging over the past ten years in apologetics. He said Australian writers were learning to “trim the flab” from the works, becoming sharper for the sake of the gospel.
“And I think the writing will become even better. We’ve taken a lot for granted as Christians, but we’re learning to be sharper and to be better communicators,” he says Collie.
Collie also pointed to the only fiction piece in the shortlist, The Bidura Effect, by an Australian missionary in a sensitive area, writing under a pseudonym. “I’m delighted to have a novel among this list. There’s just not enough Christian fiction here in Australia.”
Here is the shortlist:
Mr Eternity: The Story of Arthur Stace
Roy Williams & Elizabeth Meyers
The Bidura Effect
E P George
Pathways: Local Mission for All Kinds of Churches
Martin Luther: A Wild Boar in the Lord’s Vineyard
The Frog and the Fish: Reflections on Work, Sex, Technology, Stuff, Truth and Happiness
Jesus the Game Changer: The Book of the Series
Karl Faase with George Marriott & Jane Faase
A Doubter’s Guide to Jesus: An Introduction to the Man from Nazareth for Believers and Skeptics
Known by God: A Biblical Theology of Personal Identity
The Bible in Australia: A Cultural History
The Glue: Relationship as the Connection for Effective Youth Ministry
The 2018 Australian Christian Book of the Year, Young Australian Christian Writer and Australian Christian Teen Writer Awards will be announced on August 16 in Victoria.