The Conference on Christianity & Literature has announced that A Subversive Gospel: Flannery O’Connor and the Reimagining of Beauty, Goodness, and Truth by Michael Mears Bruner was chosen as the 2020 CCL Book of the Year for literary criticism. 

“Bruner breaks new ground in O’Connor studies by discussing in detail the influence of Friedrich von Hügel upon her work,” said Gregory Maillet, professor of English at Crandall University and former coeditor of Christianity and Literature. “Seeing O’Connor’s work as an expression of the many subversive elements of the Christian gospel, Bruner’s critical approach helps us understand how O’Connor asks us to reimagine what beauty, goodness, and truth might mean in the modern world.”

In A Subversive Gospel, Bruner explores O’Connor’s theological aesthetic and argues that she reveals what discipleship to Christ entails by subverting the traditional understandings of beauty, truth, and goodness through her fiction.

David McNutt, associate editor at IVP Academic and the editor for the Studies in Theology and the Arts series said, “We are grateful that the Conference on Christianity & Literature has recognized Michael Bruner’s excellent book on Flannery O’Connor, A Subversive Gospel, with its 2020 Book of the Year award for literary criticism. Like both Flannery O’Connor and Dr. Bruner, IVP Academic seeks to bring thoughtful and creative Christian resources to bear upon a range of issues, including the relationship between faith and the arts, which is reflected in our Studies in Theology and the Arts series. We look forward to continuing to contribute to that conversation.” 

The Conference on Christianity & Literature has recognized the book of the year since 1979, in the categories of original literary art, literary criticism, and biography. Past recipients of the award include prominent authors like Flannery O’Connor and Madeleine L’Engle. In January 2020 the Conference on Christianity & Literature will honor A Subversive Gospel as part of the CCL luncheon during the annual MLA conference in Seattle.

For a complete list of IVP award winners visit