A monthly letter from Orbis Books Publisher, Robert Ellsberg

Robert Ellsberg

For those who do not stay up all night, sitting by the phone, on the evening of the Catholic Press Association Awards, I am happy to share the results.  This year Orbis Books won 14 Awards  (four First Places!) including our now-traditional award for best catalog (Spring 2016, no doubt a future collector’s item). Here are the other award winners:


Scripture (popular): Dianne Bergant, A New Heaven, a New Earth: The Bible and Catholicity

Catholic Social Teaching: Charles Curran, Tradition and Church Reform: Perspectives on Catholic Moral Teaching

Science & Religion: Mary Evelyn Tucker and John Grim, eds., Living Cosmology

Faithful Citizenship:  Kevin Ahern, et al., Public Theology and the Global Common Good


Spirituality (cloth): Pope Francis, I Believe

Theology: Brad Hinze, Prophetic Obedience: Ecclesiology for a Dialogical Church

Gender: Elizabeth Johnson, ed., The Strength of Her Witness: Jesus Christ in the Global Voices of Women

Immigration: Bishop Ricardo Ramirez, Power from the Margin: The Emergence of the Latino in the Church and in Society


Immigration: Agnes Brazal and M.T. Davila, eds., Living with(out) Borders: Catholic Theological Ethics on the Migration of Peoples


Spirituality (softcover): John Neafsey, Act Justly, Love Tenderly: Lifelong Lessons in Conscience and Living

Scripture (popular): William O'Malley, Being There: The Parables of Jesus in a Different Voice

Gender: Diana Hayes, No Crystal Stair: Womanist Spirituality

Pope Francis: Clemens Sedmak, Church of the Poor: Pope Francis and the Transformation of Orthodoxy.

This month also brought another prize for Jim Forest’s The Root of War is Fear: Thomas Merton’s Advice to Peacemakershis fourth of the year, this time a coveted “Louie Award” from the International Thomas Merton Society for the best Merton book of the past two years.

We also extend our congratulations to Margaret Farley (Changing the Questions) for winning the Ann O’Hara Graff Award from the Catholic Theological Society of America for her accomplishments on behalf of women and the church, and to Dana Robert (Gospel Bearers, Gender Barriers) for receiving a Lifetime Achievement from the American Society of Missiology.

Finally, with sorrowful but gratitude hearts, we note the death of Maryknoll Father Fr. Miguel d’Escoto. He will be remembered largely for his service as Foreign Minister in the revolutionary Sandinista government in Nicaragua—a position that brought him into conflict with the Vatican. But we remember him also as the visionary founder of Orbis Books. In 1970, as director of Maryknoll’s Office of Social Communications, Fr. Miguel saw the need for a new kind of publishing venture—dedicated to amplifying theological voices from what was then called the Third World. Now, three years shy of our 50th anniversary, we see how much fruit his vision has borne. Several years ago, he expressed his pride in Orbis and shared his secret for success: "Everything I have accomplished," he said, "has come from being able to dream big dreams, and then finding people who would share those dreams."

With thanks to our wonderful authors, to those who read our books, and all who share our dreams.

Robert Ellsberg

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