The Jenkins Christian Writers Guild awarded a 60-year-old registered nurse, Jan Watson, from Lexington, KY, as the winner of the “Operation First Novel” Contest. Watson was offered $50,000 and a contract with Tyndale House to publish her winning manuscript Troublesome Creek next summer.
Winners were announced on Monday night during an exclusive dinner at the CBA (Christian Booksellers Association) International convention in Atlanta, GA.
Based in Colorado, the Christian Writers Guild (CWG) “Operation First Novel” contest was founded by Jerry B. Jenkins, author of 150 publications including the Left Behind series. The competition is held nationwide to discover budding Christian novelists.
Among three finalists, Watson was awarded the winner during the trip to the convention. The other finalists were Thomas Pawlik, a project analyst from Kenosha, WI, and Katherine Harms, a software consultant from Baltimore, MD.
Contestants submitted novels from the historical genre. Jan’s novel received praise from the judges, who described it as a charming historical story set in the late 1800s. The novel tells of a native Kentucky girl undergoing a complete lifestyle change from living in country to living in the city.
“Jan stood out as the winner because she has such great storytelling ability,” said Becky Nesbitt, Tyndale acquisitions director for fiction. “She hooked me from the first sentence with her character description and story tension.”
“Operation First Novel” was the first writer’s competition sponsored by the Christian Writers Guild since it was purchased by the best-selling evangelical novelist Jerry Jenkins in 2001. Jenkins, who served as the final judge along with editors from Tyndale and CWG, was pleased with the volume and of quality submissions.
“I was thrilled with the response from nearly 300 would-be novelists, and I’m hoping the top three will be published,” says Jenkins. “I’m eager to see reader response to Jan Watson’s Troublesome Creek, an evocative novel.”