Fourteen-year-old Cameron Presson of Thompson Station, TN, claimed first prize in the 2012 New Christian Books Summer Writing Contest. He entered a modern Jonah story entitled “In the Belly of a Jail” about a 16-year-old arrested for driving while intoxicated, who surrendered his life to Christ after being incarcerated.
“I think all the entries are beautifully creative work. All these writers should be encouraged to keep writing,” remarked one of the judges, Katherine Harms. She is author of Oceans of Love, a book with 30 days of meditations on God’s love built on texts relating to oceans and water.
Second place went to 11-year-old Victoria Rifa of Yakima, Washington, for her wail tale, Double Trouble, involving squabbling twins who turned to God after an earthquake.
Third place went to 14-year-old Maisie Lay of Marshall, IL, for her story, “To Learn Responsibility,” about a girl who was sent to military school for a day after leaving her baby brother alone.
Receiving Honorable Mention Awards were Nathan and Daniel Bae, of Irvine, CA, and Stephen Gordon, Tampa, FL.
New Christian Books, an online magazine serving the Christian reading and writing communities, sought modern Jonah stories from 10 to 14 year olds for its summer contest held in conjunction with the John 3:16 Marketing Network. The network is a group of Christian authors who have bonded to share the gospel of Jesus Christ.
"It was my goal to teach and reinforce the lesson of Jonah: there is price to pay when you disobey,” says the magazine’s publisher Cheryl Rogers, “while at the same time introducing the magazine and the work of Christian authors to new readers.”
Rogers has penned a number of ebooks, including the short story collection Just Like Jonah Wail Tales that inspired the contest. The ebook involves characters who land in a whale of trouble for making the wrong choices, but who seek God and are restored.
The judging was done by a panel of Christian authors including Harms and Acacia Beumer, author of Launch Out Into the Deep; Lisa Lickel, author of First Children of Farmington to be released later this year; Diane Tatum, author Gold Earrings; Cheryl Rogers and her son David Rogers, a 13-year-old Williams Middle School student in Tampa, FL, as junior judge.
The contest was sponsored by Samantha Ryan Chandler, author of A Love Story: How God Pursued Me and Found Me, An Impossibly True Story; Linda Yezak, author of Give the Lady a Ride; Jairus King, author of Men's Ministry Handbook for Christians; Mike Lynch, author of After the Cross; Tom Blubaugh, author of Night of the Cossack; and Sana Edoja, author of Knowing God.
The winners received cash and other prizes, including books by Christian authors Acacia Beumer, Laura Davis, Lorilyn Roberts, the founder of the John 3:16 Marketing Network; and Cheryl Rogers.