The International Christian Retailers Show seemed the ideal venue for American Christian Fiction Writers—now more than 2100 members strong—to make an announcement of significance to Christian publishers, authors, and retailers who keep their eye on Christian fiction.
For ten years, ACFW has considered itself in partnership with those who publish and sell the books our members write. The process of getting great stories into the hands of readers makes each link a necessity.
That’s why we’ve chosen this event, among these industry people, to announce a major advancement in what has to this point been known as ACFW’s Book of the Year awards.
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 many 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 and to those whose efforts have 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, 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.
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.