This past Saturday, December 8th, the Enoch Pratt Free Library's Central Branch was host to the 2nd Annual Christian Literary Festival. The festival is a labor of love to founder Lynn Pinder, who could be found sitting at the registration table and collecting hygiene items for the homeless and women in-need. Talk to her for just a few minutes and you will get the impression she wants you to have. "What's that?" you ask. Well, that this is no normal literary festival. She is fully persuaded that this is a tool for Christian ministry.
The Christian Literary Festival was born out of Christian Authors on Tour (CAOT) a group that she formed five years ago after writing her first book, Psalms of the Daughter, a Christian book of poems and short stories. Pinder says she formed the group so that she would have a way of fellowshipping with other Christian authors. So after sending out a few emails, the woman of God received a tremendous response and the rest is history in the making.
CAOT includes authors from around the country-many of them from Maryland, D.C., and Virginia. The festival has come to symbolize the end of the group's touring year. This year's festival included helpful panel discussions like tips on how to get your book reviewed. Attendees also had the chance yo ask questions about the process of publishing and promoting a book. Another panel explored the validity of Christian fiction. The authors seemed to agree that it explores topics not normally focused on in the church. They also agreed that these books are not meant to be helps to the Bible, recognizing that the word of God stands on its own. Nonetheless, they are enjoyable reads.
Writers do draw inspiration from their own lives, which quite frankly, might be more interesting than fiction. Real testimonies, like the author of How Could My Husband Be Gay? is probably one of the best examples of an issue that is a definite factor in some churches; however, it is not a highly addressed topic. Authors Ondrea L. Davis and J'son M. Lee wrote the book, and for Davis-one of the festival's panel members-the book is a testimony of victory, coming from someone who came out of that experience.
Other experiences extolled the worthiness of a life of praise. Author, Pastor Kevin Wayne Johnson spoke about this in his book Give God the Glory. The man of God was vibrant as he recalled the fact that he has been an author for 11 years. He told the audience that he is still as excited today as he was when he published his first book. Walking what he talks about in his book, Pastor Johnson gave glory to Jesus, saying that when he sits down to write, God does all the work.
The festival covered the gamut of genres, and shows the promise of getting bigger and better. Pinder takes the time to review each submitted proposal for books entered into the literary festival. She says she has only had to turn away a handful of books that simply weren't right for the festival's audience. However, when asked if she examines the fruit of the author in relationship to the Christian message they are relating, Pinder makes it clear that God, not her, is the judge of those kinds of matters.
Next year Christian Authors on Tour will have a less demanding schedule, only making three tour stops. You can find out where to catch up with them by going to the CAOT website. Christian Author's on Tour also has a BlogTalk Radio show featuring in-depth interviews with Christian authors. Click here to listen to current and archived shows.
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