Omega Writers

Getting to the heart of CALEB

I remember my first CALEB Awards night well. One of my books had been shortlisted. A children’s novel with Christian themes. It was the first time any of my books had received any acclaim or attention apart from what I mustered up myself. I was terrified, excited and so terribly nervous. I remember smiling at the other shortlisted authors present at the Awards night. I remember wanting desperately to win, but also feeling strangely in awe of my fellow writers.

When it came time for the awards to be read out, my book didn’t win. I was terribly disappointed, I’ll be honest. But I barely had a chance to feel it. Because the thrill of celebrating each other’s work swept through the evening. People congratulated me. They congratulated the winner. We congratulated each other and simply celebrated the pursuit of excellence in faith inspired writing. It was something unique and special about CALEB.

I’ve entered other books in CALEB since then. Some of my books have won. Others haven’t. But that same essence of celebration and encouragement has permeated every award night I’ve been at (and even the one’s I haven’t!)

You see, the heart of CALEB isn’t just about awards for books published or unpublished. It’s also about lifting each other up as writers emerging, growing and developing. It’s about seeking to build each other up, pushing us on to a higher level of excellence, a deeper connection with our readers a more faithful walk with Christ as we seek to write words that can change the world.

Although being shortlisted or winning an award for a book completed is a real boost, the truth is that our books wouldn’t be anywhere if it wasn’t for the encouragement of other writers on the journey. I remember clearly, the faithful and gentle support I’ve received from writers like Jo-Anne Berthelson or Rosanne Hawke. Support that has kept me going when rejections pile up and discouragement settles in. And I wouldn’t be where I am now if it wasn’t for the cheer squad of the Children’s Omega Writers group, backing me in when I’ve taken risks and tried something new. And that’s what the CALEB Encouragement awards are all about.

This year there are TWO kinds of awards being offered. Firstly, there is an Encouragement Award designed to lift up an author who you believe needs or deserves an extra boost. It’s a way of saying ‘keep going!’ or ‘you’ve got what it takes as a writer, we believe in what you have to offer’.

The second award is one that recognises a writer who has gone out of their way to encourage other writers. It may be someone who has backed you in, or someone you’ve watched getting behind other writers with little or no reward for themselves.

Encouragement is the heart of CALEB. Lifting each other up. Nominations are now open for the 2021 CALEB Encouragement Awards. Go here for more details.

Penny Reeve is the President of Omega Writers, and a children’s and YA author.