The e-anthology, “The Jesuit: Finding God in All Things,” has clinched the top prize at the 2023 Illumination Christian Book Awards under the category of Digital Media.
Another e-anthology, “A Given Grace: An Anthology of Christian Poems,” also received the gold medal for the same category the year before.
This double win makes it the world’s first-ever for any writer to receive the Illumination Christian Book Gold Award (Digital Media) twice in consecutive years. Both anthologies are edited by Singapore-based writers Desmond Francis Xavier Kon Zhicheng-Mingdé and Eric Francis Tinsay Valles.
“The Illumination Prize is a great affirmation that I am most grateful for. It is also a goad to write better, try to inspire others, and give witness to God’s tender mercies,” said Valles.
“It totally made my day, receiving news that ‘The Jesuit’ won this award,” he added.
Desmond Francis Xavier Kon Zhicheng-Mingdé said he shares the award “with the many eminent contributing authors whose luminous work grace these pages.”
“Literary awards are always a wonderful surprise; yet, they usually best serve us when they humble us to do more of such edifying, gratifying work,” he added.
“For a project like ‘The Jesuit,’ the love that emanates is a much grander love, that great love both Eric and I have for God,” he said.
“The Jesuit” is an e-anthology exclusively created to commemorate the Quadricentennial Canonization of St. Francis Xavier and St. Ignatius of Loyola in 2022.
“A Given Grace” is also an e-anthology, specially produced to commemorate the Philippine Quincentennial and Singapore Bicentennial of Catholicism in 2021, and was exhibited at the Catholic200SG Festival.
Desmond Francis Xavier Kon Zhicheng-Mingdé is the author of an epistolary novel, a quasi-memoir, two lyric essay monographs, four hybrid works, nine poetry collections, and a guided creative journal. The former journalist has edited over twenty-five titles.
Trained in publishing at Stanford University, Desmond studied sociology and mass communication at the National University of Singapore, and later received his theology masters from Harvard University and creative writing masters from the University of Notre Dame.
Eric Francis Tinsay Valles draws inspiration from all the places that he has called home.
He has authored the poetry collections “A World in Transit and After the Fall: dirges among ruins.”
A former journalist, he has co-edited “A Given Grace, Get Lucky,” “Sg Poems 2015-2016,” “Atelier of Healing,” “Anima Methodi,” and “The Nature of Poetry.”
With a BS in Business Management from Ateneo de Manila University and an MA in English from the University of the Philippines, Eric received his PhD in English, with a specialization in Creative Writing, from Nanyang Technological University.
The US-based Illumination Book Awards are designed to “shine a light” on the best of new books written and published with a Christian worldview.
Award categories range from Bible Study and Devotional to family-oriented subjects, such as Education and Children’s Picture Book.
Previous Illumination Book Award winners include titles authored by Pope Francis, Henri Nouwen, and Dorothy Day, among many distinguished others.
Prominent publishers represented and recognized include Penguin Random House, Intervarsity Press, Tommy Nelson, Zondervan, ZonderKidz, Loyola Press, Orbis Books, Forefront Books, Herald Press, Kregel Publications, Church Publishing Incorporated, WaterBrook, Westminster John Knox Press, and Stanford University Press.