From the Worldwide Faith News archives www.wfn.org
[PCUSANEWS] Washington novelist wins Angell Award
PCUSA NEWS <PCUSA.NEWS@ecunet.org>
Mon, 19 Apr 2004 15:07:40 -0500
Note #8203 from PCUSA NEWS to PRESBYNEWS:
April 19, 2004
Washington novelist wins Angell Award
Slim tells the story of an African community's response to AIDS
by Jerry L. Van Marter
LOUISVILLE - A novelist from Port Townsend, WA, has won the 2004 Jim Angell
Award for the best first book by a Presbyterian.
Ruth Linnea Whitney will receive the award from the Presbyterian
Writers Guild during its annual General Assembly luncheon in Richmond, VA, on
July 1. She is being honored for her novel, Slim, published by Southern
Methodist University Press.
The story, drawn from the author's experiences in Zaire and Malawi, is
set in the fictional African country of Zandu in 1985. It focuses especially
on two characters - Pia McLeod, a Scottish Presbyterian doctor, and Alinofe,
a 6-year-old African boy - and how they are affected by the HIV/AIDS pandemic
and their community's response to it.
"Slim" is a slang term for HIV/AIDS.
The Rev. James Chatham, chair of the Angell Award committee,
described Whitney's novel as "both tragic and beautiful, depicting the
cross-currents of self-interest set in motion by the disease, the disregard
and fierce denial of which human communities everywhere are capable, but also
of the quiet virtue born of personal commitment."
Chatham said the award judges said Slim "is a really good story, well
formulated, well told," that "invites the reader into intimate relationship
with the characters."
"The story is woven like a complex African coiffure, braids braided
into other braids, and at the end the reader sees the whole picture," Chatham
said. "There is great respect shown for indigenous people; their values,
their mind set, their ways of looking at the world are honored throughout.
Even villains are treated with a measure of respect."
He said Whitney "appreciates and questions both Christian faith and
traditional African piety, comparing the two, taking each seriously, and
placing neither in a superior place."
The judges expressed admiration for four other submissions:
*The Postmodern Parish: New Ministry for a New Era, by the Rev. Jim Kitchens,
pastor of Second Presbyterian Church in Nashville, TN, published by the Alban
*Feed My Lambs: A History of Presbyterian Homes and Family Services Inc., by
Mary Jo Shannon of Roanoke, VA, published by Presbyterian Homes and Family
*Wednesdays with Barry, by the Rev. Terry Amann, pastor of First Presbyerian
Church in Creston, IA, published by Vantage Press.
*God's Vision, Our Calling, by the Rev. Janice Catron, the Bible-study writer
for HORIZONS, the magazine of Presbyterian Women, published by Geneva Press.
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