Tuesday 19 July 2016

Introducing the Best Christian Fiction of 2015

Ever wondered what to read during these long, cold winter nights? 

It's award season in Christian fiction publishing right now, so today we're bringing you the winners from five (yes, five) awards for published authors, as judged by authors and publishing professionals (the Christy and RITA awards for inspirational fiction), and by readers and bloggers (the Grace, INSPY, and Inspirational Reader's Choice Awards).

Christy Awards

The Christy Awards are named for Christy, the groundbreaking novel by Catherine Marshall, who wrote over two dozen books which have sold in excess of 25 million copies. The awards were established in 1999 to honour and promote excellence in Christian fiction, and to showcase the diversity of Christian fiction genres.

The 2016 winners are:

Book of the Year and Visionary

The Five Times I Met Myself by James L. Rubart


The Sea Keeper’s Daughters by Lisa Wingate

Contemporary Romance/Suspense

The Wedding Chapel by Rachel Hauck

Contemporary Series

Crazy Little Thing Called Love by Beth K. Vogt

First Novel

Irish Meadows by Susan Anne Mason


Secrets She Kept by Cathy Gohlke

Historical Romance

Luther and Katharina by Jody Hedlund


Twisted Innocence by Terri Blackstock

Young Adult

The Choosing by Rachelle Dekker

The RITA® Awards

The RITA® Awards are run by Romance Writers of America, and are named after the organisation’s first president, Rita Clay Estrada. The Awards are specifically for romance novels, in a range of sub-genres (including Inspirational) and lengths (including long, short and novella).

Inspirational Romance

A Noble Masquerade by Kristi Ann Hunter

Historical Romance – Long

Tiffany Girl by Deeanne Gist (Howard Books)

The Grace Awards

The Grace Awards were established in 2010 to “expand the tent pegs of Christian fiction”. They allow traditionally published and self-published novels, and make no distinction between paper or digital formats: anyone can enter, as long as the book is Christian Fiction. The 2106 winners were:

Womens Fiction/General Fiction

Annabelle’s Ruth by Betty Thomason Owens

Romance/Historical Romance

Bridge Of Faith by Catherine West

Mystery/Romantic Suspense/Thriller/Historic Suspense

Trial By Twelve by Heather Day Gilbert

Speculative Fiction

Storming by K. M. Weiland

Action-Adventure/Western/Epic Fiction

Saving Eric by Joan Deneve

Young Adult

To Get To You by Joanne Bischof

The 2016 INSPY Awards

The INSPY Awards were established in 2010, and is described as the Bloggers’ Award for Excellence in Faith-Driven Literature. The INSPY Awards are only open to print books from a publishing house (be it a large traditional house, a small press, or a micropress).

Contemporary Romance / Romantic Suspense

The Dandelion Field by Kathryn Springer

Debut Fiction

Jaded by Varina Denman

General Fiction

Secrets She Kept by Cathy Gohlke

Historical Romance

Through Waters Deep by Sarah Sundin

Young Adult

An Uncertain Choice by Jody Hedlund


The Bones Will Speak by Carrie Stuart Parks

Speculative Fiction

The Shock Of Night by Patrick Carr

2016 Inspirational Reader’s Choice Award Winners

The IRCA is run by the Faith, Hope and Love Chapter of Romance Writers of America.

Long Contemporary

Together With You by Victoria Bylin

Long Historical

To Win Her Favor by Tamera Alexander

Short Contemporary

Second Chance Reunion by Merrillee Whren

Short Historical

Out of the Ashes by Sandi Rog

Romantic Suspense

Gone Without a Trace by Patricia Bradley

Women’s Fiction

Ties That Bind by Cindy Woodsmall


Daughters of the Wind by DiAnn Mills

Congratulations to all these authors from those of us here at Australasian Christian Writers!

Readers (and writers): there are some great authors on these lists, so check one out and tell us what you think.


  1. Thanks, Iola, for this summarised list. And congratulations to all the successful authors. It's interesting the diversity of winners. Besides having different judges (obviously) this is in part due to the requirements for who can nominate books for each competition. Some competitions are nominated by publishers, some by authors, some by readers (INSPYs). In addition, the fact some include indie published will influence the outcomes as well.

    1. Yes, congratulations to all the successful authors - and a big thanks to all the judges (like you, Ian).

      I also found the diversity interesting. As well as all the things you've mentioned, different contests will have different judging criteria as well, in particular around how much Christian/inspirational content. That will also influence judges and winners.

    2. Yes, yes, great point, Iola. Have grappled with that particular matter on a number of occasions. Always fascinating our different interpretations on what is Christian/inspirational content.

  2. Wow A great selection, Iola. I also judged this year. Four entries across the board genres. Two had real promise. It was nice to be able to give helpful points and yet using a big dose of grace when the other two were absolute beginners. They were the hardest to mark. Yet every one of us had to start somewhere.


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