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)

By UCA News reporter

Feb 20 2023

‘The Jesuit: Finding God in All Things’ commemorates canonization of St. Francis Xavier, St. Ignatius Loyola 500 years ago.

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, clinched 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 500th 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 Eric Francis Tinsay 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 Desmond Kon.

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.

Desmond Kon was born in 1971. He studied sociology and mass communication at the National University of Singapore, and later received his theology masters from Harvard University and a creative writing masters from the University of Notre Dame.

Kon is a former journalist who 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 (Creative Writing & Publishing) at Nanyang Technological University of Singapore.

ric Valles was born in 1968. He obtained a BS in Business Management from Ateneo de Manila University and an MA in English from the University of the Philippines. He received his PhD in English, with a specialization in creative writing, from Nanyang Technological University in Singapore.

A former journalist, Valles has authored and edited a wide range of literary titles including poetry collections. – UCA News