I watched a rerun on TV of the movie A Man Called Peter the other day, and the words of his sermons touched my heart as much as they did the first time I saw the movie. If you haven’t seen the film, it’s the story of a young immigrant who came to America and became one of the greatest preachers of his time. Not only did he become pastor of New York Avenue Presbyterian Church in Washington, he also became the Chaplain of the Senate. Although the movie was about his life and death, I also was interested in his wife Catherine’s life.
Catherine Marshall (1914-1983) distinguished herself during her lifetime as a multi-published author of inspirational fiction. The New York Times described her as America’s Most Inspirational Author. In her lifetime she wrote or edited over 30 books which have sold over 16 million copies.
When her husband died in 1949, Catherine was the mother of a nine-year-old boy, and she needed a means of support. She started writing and penned A Man Called Peter, the story of her husband’s life, and also published a book of his sermons. Her most famous book, however, was Christy which she wrote in 1967. This book was based on her mother’s experiences when she traveled to Appalachia to teach impoverished children. The book is reported to have sold over 10 million copies and to have been read by over 30 million people.
In the spring of 1999, a dozen publishers saw the need for an annual award to recognize authors and genres of Christian fiction. Catherine Marshall’s contributions to inspirational fiction came to mind, and by the summer The Christy Award had been born. The award was designed to nurture and encourage creativity, bring a new awareness to the choices in fiction available, and to provide recognition to authors who may not have reached best seller status.
This year’s awards ceremony was held in Atlanta on July 11. Celebrated screenwriter and director Randall Wallace was the keynote speaker, and Christy Award winner author Liz Curtis Higgs was the emcee for the event that gave awards in nine categories.
Check out the list of winners and nominees here. You’ll see some of your favorite authors on the list.
Which of the nominated books was your favorite read this year? Let us know which ones you enjoyed.