Deep River Books | 2017 Contest WinndersThe eighth annual Deep River Books Writer’s Contest has just wrapped up, and it wasn’t easy. With all the high-quality entries this year, our judges had trouble choosing the winners. We found the variety of genres among our finalists almost as striking as their quality—we had a delightful range this year, from the grand-prize-winning memoir to the children’s novel that tied for third place. Congratulations to all entrants for your wonderful manuscripts!

Grand Prize

Raised from the Dead: a Muslim Imam Meets Jesus (non-fiction)

Raised from the Dead is the first-person account of Cedric Kanana’s conversion from Islam to the kingdom of Jesus Christ. Born to the first Muslim sheikh in Rwanda and a priestess of a traditional African god, Cedric’s family represented the spiritual mingling common among Folk Muslims around the world. From birth, he was destined to become the next sheikh of his father’s mosque. But as the child of a Hutu and a Tutsi, his family was torn apart by the Rwandan Genocide, and with his mother and siblings he was cast off by his father and left to the streets. In despair, as a nine-year-old he gave himself to drugs and committed to seek vengeance against his father. His course of destruction halted when he entered an Islamic school, turning all his energies from crime and vengeance to the pursuit of Islam and soon becoming one of the youngest imams in East Africa—and an aggressive apologist against Christians. His efforts came to a sudden end when Jesus entered and liberated him, declaring his redemption and that he must no longer deny him. Empowered to share the love of Jesus, he became a witness throughout East Africa. Baptized with the name Cedric, he now leads a parish in Kigali and preaches the good news of Jesus throughout East Africa and as a partner with Ravi Zacharias Ministries.

Second Place

Callum’s Compass (fiction)

With the death of her brother, Kat believes she is unworthy of love from anyone—even God. When a good friend elicits a promise that she will stop living in the past, then leaves her clues to a real-life treasure hunt, Kat embarks on an adventure chock-full of danger. To find the treasure, Kat will have to survive wild animals—and even wilder men. Can she rely on Ryan, the handsome wildlife officer assigned to protect her . . . without falling in love?

Ryan swore off love when his fiancée was murdered, but feelings long buried rise to the surface around Kat. He volunteers to help with her treasure hunt, vowing to keep her safe. Together they venture deep into caves and tunnels . . . and even deeper into the depths of their unplumbed hearts.

Romance, mystery, adventure, and suspense are brilliantly intertwined in this deeply moving story.

Third Place (tie)

Passing Lincoln (fiction)

When her great-grandson returns the five-dollar bill she gives him, Dolores is ready to give up hope. She wants to believe God can reach him, but she doesn’t know how.

Desperately, she puts her gift in the offering plate on Sunday morning and prays, “God, if you’re really there, you can use my money to save one of those kids. I don’t want to be selfish. It doesn’t have to be my Little Chet. Whoever it is, God, I pray you use my gift to help them see Jesus.”

From wallet to purse to dumpster to pocket, her gift travels all over Beulah, Indiana, in a modern-day speculation of what God can do with a widow’s two coins.

Third Place (tie)

Step Up to the Plate, Jacob Stone! (fiction)

Baseball means everything to Jacob Stone, but during the summer of ’05, he’s realizing there are far more important things in life than just America’s favorite pastime.

Twelve-year-old Jacob is struggling to connect with his divorced father, while preparing to play baseball in the Southeast Alabama Junior Regionals. Jacob is also trying to run from Big Billy—a pestering neighborhood bully—and get to know a cute home-schooled girl named Cindy. As these relationships are tested, so is his relationship with his mother. It’s up to Jacob—he can allow these struggles to bring him down or he can rise above them through faith and the help of his family and friends.

In the end, can Jacob help his team win the Regionals Championship? More importantly, will he step up to the plate—becoming the young man he longs to be—and find reconciliation with his father?

Throughout this fun adventure, filled with baseball and bullies, humor and suspense, family and courage, there is a much deeper meaning that will challenge your own faith and give you the hope you’ve been looking for. While this Juvenile Fiction story is targeted primarily toward young boys, it speaks to the child’s heart in each of us.

Certificate of Merit Winners

Silent Simon by Laura Arciniega

The Throne by Chris Williams

The. Now. God. by Valorie Miller

Don Roberto’s Daughter by Richard Connor Roe

So Little Left by Gloria Lebien

The Tooth Fairy and the Search for the Meaning of Life by Don Williams

Let Me Titus You by Millie Triff