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The Word Guild Announces Word Award Winners

Toronto, Ont. – The Word Guild, once again, was pleased to host the annual Word Awards event honouring some of the best in Canadian Christian writing. The evening, which included a formal dinner, was light and lively. And it’s no wonder with such an entertaining group as MC Cheryl Weber, musical guest Steve Bell and the professional and humourous readings by Dennis Hassell and Dagmar Morgan.

Cheryl Weber spoke on how using our small voice and passion can have an impact on the world. She has over 20 years in broadcasting, and is best known as co-host of Full Circle. She passionately advocates for the marginalized, persecuted and sexually exploited, both nationally and internationally. 

There was a real sense of celebration and community among the 150 guests and award winners. Writers, editors and guests gathered at a formal dinner to acknowledge the power of the written word. Honoured writers received awards in various genres and categories including; articles, columns, short stories, poetry and more.

Leonard Hjalmarson won both the Grace Irwin Prize and the Academic book category for his book No Home like Place.  While Sandra Orchard took home an award in both the Romance and Suspense categories for Identity Withheld and Blind Trust. First time winner, Fern Boldt, blossomed with joy as she was recognized for her book Blemished Heart in the Young Adult category.

Angela Reitsma Bick, editor of Christian Courier, won for her Inspirational/Devotional  piece, “Kitchen Sacraments.” Also among the recipients was past Grace Irwin Prize winner, Deb Elkink, who took home the literary prize for her short story, “Thaw.” 

The addition of the gala at the culmination of the conference was a tremendous success. The common comment heard was “This was the most enjoyable event held yet.” 

The Word Guild is so thankful for each of those who entered The Word Awards and shared their stories. As Cheryl Weber stated, “Our words are making a difference.” Congratulations to the Word Award winners. 

You can see the complete list of winners for The Word Guild 2014 Writing Awards below and at



Sponsor: John and Eleanor Irwin

The Grace Irwin Prize, Canada’s largest literary prize for Christian writers, celebrates the best book published in 2013.

Winner: Leonard Hjalmarson of Thunder Bay, Ont. for No Home Like Place (The Urban Loft)

Honourable Mention:

Drew Dyck of Carol Stream, Ill. for Yawning at Tigers (Thomas Nelson)

Karen V. Robichaud of Dartmouth, N.S. for The Unforgiving Sea (Word Alive Press)




Book – Academic

Leonard Hjalmarson of Thunder Bay, Ont. for No Home Like Place (The Urban Loft)

Book – Biblical Studies

J. Richard Middleton of Rochester, N.Y. for A New Heaven and a New Earth (Baker Academic)

Book – Children

Aimee Reid of Hamilton, Ont. for Mama’s Day with Little Gray (Random House Children’s Books)

Book – Christian Living

Drew Dyck of Carol Stream, Ill. for Yawning at Tigers (Thomas Nelson)

Book – Culture

David Peck of Oakville, Ont. for Real Change Is Incremental (BPS Books)

Book – Instructional

David Sherbino of Toronto for Living, Dying, Living Forever (Castle Quay Books)

Book – Life Stories

Deborah L. Willows of Huntsville, Ont. and Steph Beth Nickel of St. Thomas, Ont. for Living Beyond My Circumstances (Castle Quay Books)

Novel – Contemporary

Karen V. Robichaud of Dartmouth, N.S. for The Unforgiving Sea (Word Alive Press) 

Novel – Historical

Erin M. Hatton of Barrie, Ont. for Across the Deep (Word Alive Press)

Novel – Romance

Sandra Orchard of Fenwick, Ont. for Identity Withheld (Harlequin)

Novel – Speculative

Marcia Lee Laycock of Blackfalds, Alta. for The Ambassadors (Helping Hands Press)

Novel – Suspense

Sandra Orchard of Fenwick, Ont. for Blind Trust (Revell)

Novel – Young Adult

Fern Boldt of St. Catharines, Ont. for Blemished Heart (Word Alive Press)


Article – Inspirational/Devotional

Angela Reitsma Bick of Newcastle, Ont. for “Kitchen Sacraments” (Christian Courier)

Article – Long Feature

Jenna Smith of Verdun, Que. for “Being Evangelical in Quebec” (Faith Today)

Article – Personal Experience

Bobbi Junior of Edmonton for “Tell Me about Today” (Demeter Press)

Article – Profile/Human Interest

Jenny Svetec of Hampton, Ont. for “The Truth is – Silencing the Lies of the Bully” (testimony)

Article – Short Feature

Lisa Hall-Wilson of London, Ont. for “When Christians Eat Healthy” (Faith Today)

Article – Short Story

Deb Elkink of Elkwater, Alta. for “Thaw” (Winning Writers)

Column – Series

Doug Koop of Winnipeg for “Going Down Hard” and “Time Well Spent” (Faith Today)

Column – Single

Steve Kennedy of Peterborough, Ont. for “Listening to the Body” (testimony)


Alvin Ens of Abbotsford, B.C.  for “Dormancy” (Prairie Messenger)

Terence L. Bingley Award for Best Song Lyrics

Steve Bell of Winnipeg for “Long Love” (Signpost Music)

In The Beginning

Grand Prize Winner:
Heather Bootsma of Brantford, ON for Fairchild’s Children

Non-fiction short piece runner up:
Aloma Jonker of Milton, ON for “Theodicy – How God is Vindicated”

Fiction short piece runner up:
Andrew Mainprize of Vancouver, BC for “Eumanus the Monk”

Poetry runner up:
Todd Anderson of Waterloo, ON for “Mineralogy”

First three chapter runners up:
Andrea Thom of St.Catharines, ON for Ruth – Redeeming the Darkness

Suzuko Shigemitsu of Edmonton, AB for Diamond for Dwarves

Fresh Ink

University Category:

Grand Prize Winner:
Katie Witten of Ottawa for “Suspension.” (poetry)

Fiction short piece runner up:
Matthew Sketchley of Dartmouth, N.S. for “Heaven’s Call Waiting.” 

Non-fiction short piece runner up:
Ruth Lemont of Wilsonville, Ont. for “Compassion.”

Poetry runner up:
Demi Blizzard of Whitby, Ont. for “The World they were Given.”

High school Category:

Grand Prize Winner:
Emily Courtemanche of Barrie, Ont. for Castle in the Clouds

First Three Chapters runner up:
Shayna Granja of Mitchell, Ont. for Flight 182.

Poetry runner up:
Cameron Delaney of Otonabee, Ont. for “She Dreams.”

The Word Guild is thankful for our sponsors, media partners and families: 

Hit Logic Solution • Hume Media Inc. • Writers’ Coalition • Faith Today • Word Alive Press • 

That’s Life! Communications • Swordfish Audio • InScribe • 100 Huntley Street • testimony (PAOC)

Christian Herald • UCB Canada • Faith FM • HopeStreamRadio • Irwin Family • Bingley Family •

Willner Family


The Word Guild is an association of Canadian writers, editors, speakers, publishers, booksellers, librarians, and other Christian individuals who are invested in or employed in media. From all parts of Canada and many denominational and cultural backgrounds, they are united in their common passion to positively influence individuals, and ultimately Canadian culture, through life-changing words that bring God’s message of hope. 

For more information about The Word Guild, The Word Awards, other awards or other events please visit the contest page or visit and click on Contests & Awards.
To see the media releases in Word or PDF format go to media.