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NASHVILLE, TN:  At the Awards Gala that has become a professional highlight for novelists, American Christian Fiction Writers (ACFW) recognized significant achievements in the Christian fiction world. The Omni Hotel in downtown Nashville was the setting for the elegant concluding event of the 2016 ACFW conference. In attendance were representatives from many facets of the industry—publishers, editors, agents, members of the press, representatives from libraries, bookstores, reviewers, bloggers, veteran and aspiring novelists.

A theme Scripture verse served as inspiration for the six hundred conference and gala attendees: “The eye is the lamp of the body; so then if your eye is clear, your whole body will be full of light,” Matthew 6:22  (NASB).

The 2016 CAROL AWARD winners for excellence in Christian fiction published in the previous calendar year, listed by author in alphabetical order by category:


The Art of Losing Yourself by Katie Ganshert, Waterbrook/Multnomah (Random House), editors Shannon Marchese, Lissa Halls-Johnson


Secrets She Kept by Cathy Gohlke, Tyndale House, editors Stephanie Broene, Sarah Riche

Historical Romance:

A Worthy Pursuit by Karen Witemeyer, Bethany House (Baker) Publishing, editors David Long, Charlene Patterson


The Aleppo Code by Terry Brennan, Kregel Publications, editors Dawn Anderson, Jannelle Tromp


A Bride for Bear from The Convenient Bride Collection by Erica Vetsch, Barbour Publishing, editor Rebecca Germany


Crazy Little Thing Called Love by Beth K. Vogt, Howard (Simon & Schuster), editors Jessica Wong, Beth Adams

Romantic Suspense:

No Place to Hide by Lynette Eason, Revell – A Division of Baker Publishing Group, editor Andrea Doering

Short Novel:

Covert Justice by Lynn Huggins Blackburn, Love Inspired (Harlequin), editor Elizabeth Mazer


The Five Times I Met Myself by James L. Rubart, HarperCollins Christian Publishing, editors Amanda Bostic, Erin Healy

Young Adult:

Dauntless by Dina L. Sleiman, Bethany House (Baker) Publishing, editor Karen Schurrer, David Long


The Calling of Ella McFarland by Linda Brooks Davis, Mountainview Books LLC, editor Carol Kurtz Darlington

The 2016 GENESIS CONTEST winners for unpublished novels, alphabetically by category are:

Contemporary—Cher Gatto, Billy

Historical—Linda Thompson, The Plum Blooms in Winter

Historical Romance—Kathleen Anderson, The Trouble with Jenny

Mystery/Suspense/Thriller—Holly Sawyer Smit, Jeremiah’s Fire

Novella—Iola Goulton, Play On, Jordan

Romance—Laura Conner Kestner, Fair Haven

Romantic Suspense—Jaycee Bullard, High-Stakes Sabotage

Short Novel—Mary Agius, Fifty Ways to Say Goodbye

Speculative—Dawn Ford, Kingdom Come

Young Adult—Jebraun Clifford, The Two Queens of Kyrie

Also honored during the awards gala were:

ACFW’s 2016 Editor of the Year, Stephanie Broene – Tyndale House Publishers

ACFW’s 2016 Agent of the Year, Jessica Kirkland – Blythe Daniel Agency

ACFW’s 2016 Lifetime Achievement Recipient– Janette Oke

ACFW’s 2016 Mentor of the Year – James Rubart

ACFW’s 2016 Volunteer Service Award – Kathleen Y’Barbo Turner

ACFW’s 2016 Member Service Award – Rick Barry

“Whether recognized for accomplishments in their field or for service within the industry,” says ACFW CEO Colleen Coble, “these honorees represent all those who devote themselves to the craft of storytelling and ultimately to the One who brings light to our lives and our stories.”

ACFW is a professional organization devoted to the craft of Christian Fiction. ACFW’s mission is to empower Christian novelists by inspiring them to join with God in the creative process, training them in the craft, and educating them in the publishing industry. For more information about ACFW, contact or

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