For those following the story, back in March I let you all know about a literary prize for those who write about faith in Canada. Then, in September, I was overjoyed to tell you that my story had made the shortlist for the Ross and Davis Mitchell Prize.
The story won!
My short story, “Saint 148,” was chosen as the first winner of the Ross and Davis Mitchell Prize at a gala in Toronto on October 30th!
I’m not going to lie to you, I was more than a little shocked.
You see, “Saint 148,” while ultimately an exploration of my own faith-fuelled wrestlings, sits firmly in the realm of science fiction. Science fiction is considered by those in the biz to be “genre fiction” (along with action, mystery, romance, fantasy, etc), and not literary fiction (those things that don’t fit nicely into those other categories). So, a story about a robot taking first place in a literary competition was highly unlikely. I was more excited to be shortlisted at all. I was hoping for a fun trip to Toronto, a nice evening, and maybe a solid second place at best.
Then they called by name.
I’ve only had a few moments in my life that have been completely stunning. The birth of my first-born was one. Seeing my wife come down the aisle at our wedding was another. Getting this announcement was up there.
It’s still surreal.
I’ve had interviews with the media, been approached by complete strangers offering congratulations, and had more people ask when the book will be published than I can shake a stick at.
But it still doesn’t seem real. I’m still the same. My writing is the same (although I do get some guff from my actors about being too protective of my words now…). My mission is the same. I’m still making art for God’s glory and the betterment of humanity.
The award on my wall is nice, but I have to say, it doesn’t feel like I deserve any of it.
You see, God has been mind-blowingly generous to my family this year. To the point of Bri and I just throwing up our hands and saying “Thank You!” because we can’t make any sense of it. Other than our belief that we have a loving, generous God who has chosen this season to remind of of the fact.
But really, everything we’ve done, or “earned,” or won has been God’s doing. From the impetus to write, or the words he gives, to ensuring my story was rejected ten or twelve times in the past two years, to guiding the judges to their decision, God has done the heavy lifting. All I have done is follow His lead.
And I believe that is the artist’s job: to follow God’s lead in creation. We are co-creators, to be sure, but God is the Master, and we are the disciples.
So, thank you for celebrating this wonderful blessing with me. Here’s to another year of awesome creation and the knowledge of God’s unfailing faithfulness to us.