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Singapore Catholic editors win US literary award

'The Jesuit: Finding God in All Things' commemorates canonization of St. Francis Xavier, St. Ignatius Loyola 400 years ago
Singapore-based Catholic editors Desmond Francis Xavier Kon Zhicheng-Mingdé (left) and Eric Francis Tinsay Valles won top prize at the 2023 Illumination Christian Book Awards under the category of Digital Media

Singapore-based Catholic editors Desmond Francis Xavier Kon Zhicheng-Mingdé (left) and Eric Francis Tinsay Valles won top prize at the 2023 Illumination Christian Book Awards under the category of Digital Media. (Photo supplied)

Published: February 20, 2023 06:26 AM GMT
Updated: February 20, 2023 08:36 AM GMT

Two Singapore-based Catholic editors clinched the top award for the second consecutive year from a US-based group that honors the best titles written and published with a Christian worldview.

The e-anthology, The Jesuit: Finding God in All Things, bagged the Gold Award at the 2023 Illumination Christian Book Awards under the category of Digital Media, says a Feb. 18 press release by the editors.

Desmond Francis Xavier Kon Zhicheng-Mingdé and Eric Francis Tinsay Valles edited the book exclusively composed to commemorate the 400th anniversary of the canonization of St. Francis Xavier and St. Ignatius of Loyola in 2022.

The 250-page book features articles from 21 eminent authors from around the world.

The writer-editor duo won the Gold Award for another e-anthology, A Given Grace: An Anthology of Christian Poems, last year by the Michigan-based organization. The book commemorates five centuries of Catholicism in the Philippines and 200 years of Catholicism in Singapore in 2021.

The Illumination Book Awards are designed to “shine a light” on the best of new Christian books. Award categories range from Bible Study and Devotional to family-oriented subjects like Education and Children’s Picture Books.

The editors said the recognition inspires them.

“The Illumination Prize is a great affirmation that I am most grateful for. It is also an incentive 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. Eric and I share this with the many eminent contributing authors whose luminous work grace these pages,” said Zhicheng-Mingdé.

He said their writings reflect their great love for God.

“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. 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 added.

Zhicheng-Mingdé was born in 1971. He studied sociology and mass communication at the National University of Singapore and later received his theology master's from Harvard University and another master's in creative writing from the University of Notre Dame.

He has written and edited over 25 titles including a novel, a quasi-memoir, two lyric essay monographs and nine poetry collections. He is a senior lecturer on creative writing and publishing at Nanyang Technological University of Singapore.

Valles was born in 1968. He obtained a graduation in Business Management from Ateneo de Manila University and a master's in English from the University of the Philippines. He received his doctorate in English, with a specialization in creative writing, from Nanyang Technological University in Singapore.

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