Writing Contest - LittWorld 2024

Media Associates International is pleased to announce the winners of the LittWorld 2024 writing contest as follows:

Writers from all over the world were invited to submit 800 words in response to: “Describe one of your most memorable experiences in Christian writing or publishing. What was your takeaway from it? Conclude with one piece of advice for a person who is deciding whether or not to go into writing or publishing ministry.”

English-language winners of the LittWorld 2024 writing contest

For his article, Meeting with a book, Bulgarian writer and pastor Daniel Nalbantski has been selected as first-place winner in the LittWorld 2024 writing contest among 75 entries from around the world. Dawn Moran Castro of the Philippines finished a close second with her entry, What are you doing here?

A distinguished panel of judges evaluated the submissions according to their content, creativity, writing quality and overall impact. Prizes for first and second place were $300 and $150, respectively. 

Commenting on Daniel’s award-winning article, contest judge Marlene Legaspi-Munar praised its “fast-paced storytelling full of clear and relevant details. The events in this story seem like a movie plot with several surprises.”

Contest judge Dr. Muthoni Omukhango noted, “This is a heartfelt and inspiring article that effectively communicates the importance of writing and its unexpected influence on others.” 

“Daniel’s storytelling skills explain why this is the third time that he has won the LittWorld writing contest since it began in 2002—a significant feat,” MAI President John Maust said. Daniel’s article was translated from Bulgarian into English by his daughter Biliana Nalbantska. 

Regarding Dawn’s entry, contest judge Marlene Legaspi-Munar said, “The memorable experience shared by the writer is simple yet the reflection is profound. The writer effectively weaves together her personal experience and emotional struggles with the wilderness experience of Elijah.”

About our winning authors

Daniel Nalbantski began his ministry in the Communist era when being a Christian was dangerous and becoming a minister could lead to unimaginable troubles. He was a part of an underground movement involved in translating and publishing Christian books that his wife typed on a typewriter and they secretly distributed among believers. 

After the fall of the Iron Curtain in the early 1990s, Daniel started to write Christian novels and a daily devotional guide that is still reaching readers after 20 years. Today, he is the author of 15 novels and a collection of short stories. Daniel also writes poetry, and loves swimming and hiking. Daniel lives with his wife in Russe, Bulgaria. He is the father of two daughters and has three granddaughters. 

This is the first time our second-prize winner Dawn Moran Castro has competed in an MAI writing competition. Dawn has been a behavioral therapist, communications specialist, discipler, executive assistant, psychometrician, researcher, and Sunday School teacher throughout various seasons of her life. She completed a Masters in Industrial Relations from the University of the Philippines, Diliman. 

Dawn resigned from the Philippine Bible Society to embrace for the present her role as wife and mother. She was born in a refugee camp in Bataan, grew up in Jeddah, and lived in Manila. Today, she lives in Laguna with her husband and two children. She dreams of her very own family library and authoring a book.

Our thanks to our judges

MAI expresses its deep gratitude to the panel of three judges, who invested many hours of painstaking work in reading and evaluating the contest submissions. They are:

Tim Gustafson. He is the Senior Editor and Content Developer for Our Daily Bread Ministries in Grand Rapids, Michigan, USA, where he has served as editor and writer for over 30 years. A regular contributor to the Our Daily Bread devotional, he is the author of the devotional book Brother to Brother

Marlene Legaspi-Munar. Aside from writing devotionals, curriculum materials, and inspirational books, Marlene also translates and edits from her home in the Philippines. She also mentors children and teens through her online writing classes. Find her on Facebook and LinkedIn.

Dr. Muthoni Omukhango. She is a distinguished publisher in Africa, authors’ manager, convener of the African Christian Authors Book Award (ACABA), marketplace minister, and the National Director of CLC Kenya, dedicated to advancing God’s Kingdom through literature.

Spanish-language winners of the LittWorld 2024 writing contest

We are pleased to announce that Karen Suárez of Costa Rica is the winner of the Spanish-language  LittWorld 2024 Writing Contest with her article, Amor en letras (“Love in letters”). The article, Más de lo que pedimos o entendemos (“More than we ask or understand”), by Dr. Jorge Batch of Argentina won second prize.

Karen Suárez is a Spanish teacher and professor of New Testament. She is author of the book, Perfume con gozo (“Fragrance of Joy”) and the short stories Aquel Viernes (“One Friday”), and Celeste y las piedras preciosas (“Celeste and the Precious Stones”).

Jorge Batch is a pastor, surgeon and medical doctor, pastoral counselor and a counselor for the Spanish-language Focus on the Family ministry. He has authored two books: Hábitos saludables para una vida mejor (“Healthy Habits for a Better Life”) and Hábitos saludables para una familia feliz (“Healthy Habits for a Happy Family”).

Our thanks to all participants and our judges 


Forty-five writers from across Latin America participated in the contest, and their articles were evaluated by a distinguished panel of three judges:

Diana González graduated with a literature degree from Bahía Blanca, Argentina, and she earned a doctoral degree in Linguistics in Gottingen, Germany. She has taught Spanish Language and Literature in  universities in Mexico and the United States, and classes in Linguistics in Costa Rica.

Sara Trejo holds a university degree in Communications Sciences from the UNAM in Mexico City. She has worked in the editorial department at Milamex (Latin America Mission of Mexico) for the past 22 years. She and her husband, Marino Hernández, lead the Department of Advanced Education at Horeb Baptist Church in Mexico City.

Dr. Patricia Adrianzén de Vergara is a minister of the Christian and Missionary Alliance Church of Peru, where she has served alongside her husband, Rev. Roger Vergara, for the past 35 years. She holds an undergraduate degree in Literature from the Department of Literature and Human Sciences at the University of San Marcos in Lima, as well as a master’s degree In Theology from the Evangelical University of the Americas in Costa Rica, and a doctoral degree in Theology. She is the director of Verbo Vivo publishing house, author more than 20 books, and editor of other Latin American authors.

Regarding the contest-winning article by Karen Suárez, Dr. Adrianzen said, “It is captivating and motivating. It shares the learning experience of a young writer with a simple and tender literary style.”

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