by Jerry L. Van Marter
LOUISVILLE (PNS) The Presbyterian Writers Guild has selected the Rev. Robert John Andrews, a pastor in Danville, Pa., to receive its prestigious Presbyterian Publishing Corporation First Book Award for 2014 for his novel set in the Civil War, Nathaniel’s Call.
Andrews’ book ― self-published in 2012 ― was selected from among 17 entries in a variety of genres to receive the biennial award, given in Presbyterian Church (U.S.A.) General Assembly years to the best first book by a Presbyterian writer during the past two years. The PPC First Book Award winner is recognized at the Presbyterian Writers Guild’s General Assembly luncheon, which this year will be Thursday, June 19 in Detroit.
Jane Hines of Nashville ― retired director of communications for the Synod of Living Waters and chair of the PPC First Book Award Committee ― said, “Several genres are represented in the 17 books we received (teen science fiction, memoirs, poetry, young adult fiction, novels, journals, dissertation re-writes). We were just looking for the best writing in any category and found it in Nathaniel’s Call.”
As a Nashville-based committee comprised of Southerners, Hines added, “we don’t think it will be a best-seller in Vicksburg and Richmond, but we see Nathaniel’s Call as a splendid example of the art of writing.”
Andrews has been the pastor of Grove Presbyterian Church in Danville, Pa., since 1989. He has theology degrees from Princeton and Pittsburgh Theological Seminaries and was ordained in 1978. He and his wife, Elaine, have three children. He has been moderator of Northumberland Presbytery and writes a weekly column for the Danville News.
Other notable entries in the Presbyterian Writers Guild’s PPC First Book Award competition:
- Second place: Tuesday’s Muse, a book of poetry illustrated with black-and-white photographs, written by J. Todd Jenkins, pastor of First Presbyterian Church, Fayetteville, Tenn. Self-published in 2013
- Third place (tie): Something Greater: Culture, Family and Community as Living Story by Jean Choy Tate. Published by Pickwick Publications in 2013; and Chasing the Divine in the Holy Land, by Ruth Everhart. Published by Wm. B. Eerdmans in 2012.
- Fourth place (tie): Take My Hand, a Theological Memoir by Andrew Taylor-Troutman. Published by Resource Publications in 2012, and Learning From My Father, by David Lawther Johnson. Published by Wm.B. Eerdmans in 2012.
- Honorable mention to Matthew A. Rich for A Week From Next Tuesday, published in 2013 by Wipf and Stock; Neal D. Presa for Here I Am Lord, Send Me (Ritual and Narrative for a Theology of Presbyterial Ordination in the Reformed Tradition),published in 2012 by Wipf and Stock in 2012; and MaryAnn McKibben Dana forSabbath In the Suburbs, published by Chalice Press in 2012.
“The ‘Class of 2012-2013’ is full of writing talent,” Hines said, “and they all deserve Honorable Mention.”