Nominees sought for best Presbyterian writer

Presbyterian Writers Guild will honor winner at online awards ceremony in August 2022

by Emily Enders Odom, President, Presbyterian Writers Guild | Special to Presbyterian News Service

The daughters of longtime Presbyterian missionaries, Caroline and Jane Kurtz will be formally honored for their 2020 Presbyterian Writers Guild awards during an online ceremony Aug. 8, 2022. (Contributed photo)

LOUISVILLE — The Presbyterian Writers Guild (PWG) is accepting nominations for its 2022 David Steele Distinguished Writer (DSDW) Award.

The award is given biennially in even-numbered years to recognize the cumulative work and influence — regardless of genre or subject matter — of a Presbyterian Church (U.S.A.) writer.

Because the 225th General Assembly (2022) will be a hybrid gathering, at which former function sponsors such as the PWG will not be able to offer their traditional luncheons or other in-person events, the DSDW Award will instead be presented along with the Presbyterian Publishing Corporation (PPC) First Book Award and other Guild business in a digital setting at 7 p.m. Eastern Time on Monday, Aug. 8, 2022.

The online ceremony will also allow the two most recent PWG award winners, sisters Jane and Caroline Kurtz, to be honored belatedly for their respective achievements, since the worldwide pandemic upended plans for an in-person General Assembly in 2020.

Jane and Caroline Kurtz, daughters of former Presbyterian mission workers Harold and Polly Kurtz, who served in Ethiopia from 1955 to 1977, were the recipients of the 2020 DSDW and PPC First Book Awards respectively. Relegated to receiving their plaques via the U.S. Postal Service rather than in person, they missed their opportunity to thank the Guild for the honor.

A video of a young reader with one of the Ready Set Go books created by Caroline and Jane Kurtz.

“August 8 is a long way in the future, but I look forward to the celebration,” wrote Jane Kurtz in an email.

Previous DSDW Award winners include the late Eugene H. Peterson, translator of “The Message; The Christian Century editor/publisher John M. Buchanan; former Presbyterian News Service director, the late Marj Carpenter; former Presbyterians Today editor Eva Stimson; children’s author Kathleen Bostrom; “Sabbath in the Suburbs” author MaryAnn McKibben Dana; novelists Doris Betts and Katherine Paterson; the late poet Ann Weems; former Kansas City Star columnist, Bill Tammeus; the late African-American religious historian Gayraud Wilmore; the late Jim Atwood, author and nationally-recognized voice on the subject of gun violence prevention; essayists Kathleen Norris and Frederick Buechner; and journalists Gustav Niebuhr and the late Vic Jameson.

The award is named for R. David Steele, a Presbyterian pastor best known for his whimsical books of poetry and thought-provoking column, “Tuesday Morning,” in the Presbyterian Outlook.

Nominations for the award should include the writer’s PC(USA) affiliation, list of published work, and a 100-word essay describing why the nominee is deserving of the award. Contact information for both the nominator and the nominee must be included with each submission. Nominees must be active members of a PC(USA) congregation or PC(USA) teaching elders.

All nominations should be sent to the Rev. Emily Odom, PWG president and chair of the DSDW Award Selection Committee, by email or by U.S. mail to 2336 Strathmoor Blvd., Louisville, Kentucky 40205.

Other members of the selection committee are the Rev. Dr. Jill Duffield, senior pastor of First Presbyterian Church in Greensboro, North Carolina, and the former editor of the Presbyterian Outlook; and the Rev. Todd Jenkins, pastor of First Presbyterian Church, Greeneville, Tenn.

Nominations must be emailed or postmarked by Feb. 15, 2022. Winners will be announced in spring 2022.

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