Redeemer Represents at The Word Guild Gala
Professor emertia Dr. Deborah Bowen and alumna Elise Arsenault were honoured at the annual Word Guild Gala in June.
3 min. read
July 17, 2019

Redeemer was well represented at the Word Awards Gala, an annual awards ceremony celebrating Canadian writers who are Christian. The Word Guild, a national Christian writing association, offers the Word Awards in nine categories for published writing and five for unpublished. The finalists were announced at the gala held on June 14th in Hamilton.  

Professor emerita Dr. Deborah Bowen received The Leslie K. Tarr Lifetime Achievement Award, which recognizes a major career contribution to Christian writing and publishing in Canada. 

The Word Guild shared the following about Dr. Bowen’s excellence in writing and contributions to the development of Christian writing and writers in Canada: 

Dr. Bowen is known and loved by students for her concern with reading contemporary literature from a Christian perspective and her belief that God is at work in literature even where the divine is not immediately obvious there. She is also the author of two books on literature and postmodernity, and dozens of articles and academic presentations on contemporary British and Canadian fiction and poetry, often with an emphasis on environmental and ecological themes.

Bowen has been a credible Christian voice in secular academic settings — and a respected academic in Christian circles. This has allowed her to help the church examine some of its own blind spots, through literature, and to call it to greater engagement with the outside world. At the same time, she has critiqued a swath of contemporary literature from a faith-based perspective in such a thoughtful way that people from other backgrounds are compelled to pay attention. 

In addition to her academic work, she has also given many public lectures to Christian audiences about the importance of writing, creativity and literature.

Bowen’s excellent teaching at Redeemer has contributed to the development of a number of successful Christian writers, including Angela Reitsma Bick and Brent van Staalduinen. Her teaching has also influenced many Christian students who have developed successful non-literary careers in areas such as law, television, book publishing, graphic design, public policy and much more. 

Dr. Bowen accepted her award with a speech in which she explained the drive behind her career of research and teaching: “God gave us words to be creative with; I want to help students do that imaginatively. God gave us words to be truthful with; I want to help students recognize the nuances of their words and those of others. God gave us words to think with; I want to help students to think carefully and precisely, not taken in by jargon or claptrap, whether secular or Christian, in what George Orwell called the soft snow of sloppy language.”

Elise Arsenault, a 2019 grad and one of Dr. Bowen’s research students for the Poetry and Ecology Project, won the Fresh Ink Award in the University/College category for her non-fiction piece “Companion”.

Honours both well deserved!


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