Diversity in fiction, particularly in Christian fiction, is one of my passions and I love being a contributor to Diversity Between the Pages, a blog started with just that topic in mind! To be honest, it’s not an issue I had personally thought about much until I became exposed to more diversity in my own life. Then, the gap became all the more noticeable. It’s an issue that doesn’t have quick answers but must continue to be discussed until real change is reflected on the bookshelf.
That’s why I am delighted today to host Dr. Theon Hill as he chats with The Christy Award™ team about this important topic!
All you readers and writers who have questions about what diversity in Christian fiction might look like…meet Dr. Theon Hill! He’s an Assistant Professor of Communication at Wheaton College and studies the intersections of race, religion, and politics in American culture. His work has appeared in numerous scholarly journals and edited collections along with popular outlets like Christianity Today. More relevantly to all of us, he’s going to be speaking at The Art of Writing Conference that precedes the Christy Award gala on November 8th.
Take a look at his session description:
Colorful Stories: The Burden and Opportunity of Diversity in Christian Fiction: An increasingly diverse society challenges publishers and authors of Christian fiction to become more diverse in the stories they tell; yet, this reality also brings unparalleled opportunity to expand into new markets, build bridges between communities, and bring a Christian worldview to one of the most contentious issues of our time.
We get a sneak peek at what he’s going to be talking about—and why—in the Q&A below. Enjoy!
Q: Why do you feel like this is an important topic for Christian authors to consider?
A: The topic of diversity within Christian fiction is important in this period of increased polarization because fiction allows us to step into the shoes of another and see life from a new perspective. It equips us to be more empathetic in our assessment and engagement with people and cultures different than our own. In this sense, fiction holds the potential to prepare us for the diverse communities to which God has called us to inhabit.
Q: Tell me one takeaway that you hope anyone in the audience will come away with after hearing you speak.
A: My prayer is that my dear brothers and sisters will walk away from the session not only with a greater sense of the importance of diversity, but also practical ideas on how to pursue the goal of increasing the diversity found within Christian fiction publishing.
Q: Just for fun, give me a few books (fiction or nonfiction) that you could re-read over and over again?
A: Books: Pilgrims Progress (John Bunyan), Their Eyes Were Watching God (Zora Neale Hurston), Fences (August Wilson).
Thank you, Dr. Hill! I’m even more excited now to attend his session than I already was! And while we’re talking about the Art of Writing conference…
Yes, oh keenest of readers, that would be yours truly up there between Dr. Hill & my beloved Cynthia Ruchti. Encouraging authors is another of my passions, and I’m so incredibly honored to have the opportunity to speak with Cynthia to authors about how to dodge traps of discouragement. ♥
And guess what?!?
We’d love to see you at the upcoming Art of Writing Conference and Christy Awards! You can find out more about the event below, or if you’re already convinced, you can register here.
About the Art of Writing Conference: The Art of Writing is designed to bring Christian creatives and publishing curators together for a half day of intensive seminars that celebrate the creative life, provide practical tips for overcoming challenges in a rapidly-changing industry, and answer questions authors are asking.
The speakers represent a wide range of roles and areas of expertise. Andrew Peterson, young adult writer and founder of the Rabbit Room, will give advice on how to create and benefit from a vibrant creative community, while Wheaton College professor Theon Hill, Ph.D. will present a survey of the obstacles and opportunities of diversity in Christian fiction. Authors will receive encouragement for the ups and downs of the writing life from blogger Carrie Schmidt and author, agent, and ACFW public relations liaison Cynthia Ruchti. Finally, a panel of representatives from major ECPA publishers will share insider information on where the genre has been, where it’s going, and the exciting changes they see in today’s market for writers. Learn more about the speakers and sessions here.
About the Christy Awards: The Christy Award™ is designed to nurture and encourage creativity and quality in the writing and publishing of fiction written from a Christian worldview and showcase the diversity of genres. The award is named for Catherine Marshall’s enduring bestselling novel, Christy, published in 1967 and inspiring a continuing book series and a CBS television series starring Kellie Martin. The novel will be re-released in 2017 in a 50th anniversary legacy edition by Gilead Publishing in partnership with Kregel Publications.
Hosted by award-winning author and radio host Chris Fabry, this year’s celebration gala dinner will feature New York Times bestselling author Karen Kingsbury as well as musician and writer Andrew Peterson. You can view the finalist list here.
Christy Award Celebration Blog Tour
Monday, October 9: Top Ten Writing Industry Issues at Seekerville
Tuesday, October 10: Give Us Your Best Questions at By the Book
Wednesday, October 11: Interview with Dr. Theon Hill at Reading is My Superpower
Thursday, October 12: Celebrating the Christy Awards…With a Giveaway! at Bethany House Fiction
Friday, October 13: Quiz: Pick Your Gala Dress at Dani Pettrey’s blog
Saturday, October 14: Eight Reasons to Come to The Art of Writing at The Power of Words
Sunday, October 15: Interview with Carrie Schmidt at Bookworm Mama
Monday, October 16: Interview with Cynthia Ruchti at Just Commonly
Tuesday, October 17: Christy Nominee Bingo and Giveaway at Faithfully Bookish
Wednesday, October 18: The Unofficial Readers’ Choice Cover Awards at Singing Librarian Books