2016 Contest Winners This was an incredibly close contest. Each of these entries is exceptional and it was difficult for our judges to determine the final winner. Award of merit winners will be announced tomorrow. Grand Prize: SHARON BOLLUM 40 Churches in 40 Weeks: A Humble Look Inside the Christian Community In the US Non-Fiction What are the hallmarks of a truly healthy church and the red flags of an unhealthy one? What obstacles do our mainstream Christian churches face? The author takes a team across the US—from Barstow, CA to Wilmington, NC along Interstate 40—interviewing pastors and leaders of churches of all different sizes and denominations. They investigate the current health and reputation of the Church by listening attentively to the hearts of ministers, church members, and even folks on the street. 1st Runner-Up MEGAN COX Outlaw Biblical Fiction This well-imagined first-person account of Onesimus humanizes his struggles and triumphs as Philemon’s slave. In an attempt to change his destiny, Onesimus flees to Rome. But the weight of his past keeps him from true freedom. His interaction with Paul of Tarsus and Tychicus of Ephesus, as well as his journey to finding romantic love and friendship, will finally lead to the inevitable—a dangerous decision to return home and confront with faith whatever fate God has in store. 2nd Runner-Up (tie) NANETTE KIRSCH Denial: Abuse, Addiction and a Life Derailed Non-Fiction Based on a true story. Until his tragic death, David successfully hid his self-destruction behind the shell of an idyllic fairy-tale life. Readers follow David’s poignant, heart-breaking journey from a childhood of innocence into serial sexual abuse that leads to an adult life plagued by pornography, prostitution, substance abuse, and depression. This rare, candid story can help other survivors and their loved ones make crucial connections between denial of childhood sexual abuse and the seemingly inexplicable behaviors and addictions that derail so many victims’ adult lives and isolate them from relational intimacy with others and with God. 2nd Runner-Up (tie) MELISSA FERGUSON The Seen Ones Speculative Fiction Practical, quiet undergrad June Pearson just wants her diploma and maybe to make a friend or two. But after she displays a random act of kindness to an elderly stranger, the mysterious woman pronounces her “The One” and disappears into the crowd. Now two groups on campus—one faith-driven, the other wild, beautiful, and just shy of celebrity status—are vying for her friendship. As more and more bizarre occurrences surround her, June must choose what she really believes and who she will trust. Could the wrong choice cost her life…and her soul? After all, she is The One.