Lifetime Achievement in Publishing Award Presented to Les Stobbe
In honor of 60 years of service to Christian publishing, the Blue Ridge Mountains Christian Writers Institute presented literary agent and former publisher Les Stobbe with their Lifetime Achievement Award on May 23. Fifteen presenters described his impact on their life as a writer, agent, publisher via video, audio, and written messages. Duo MCs were Austin Boyd, a client of Stobbe for 11 years, and Sally Apokedak, who joined him as agent three years ago.
Stobbe got his start in publishing as founding editor of the weekly Mennonite Observer in Winnipeg, Canada, in 1955, where he also served as book buyer for the Christian Press Bookstore. In 1960 he became selling floor supervisor of the Moody Bookstore at the Institute. Six months later Kenneth Taylor asked him to spend half his time as manuscript review editor for Moody Press. Robert Walker appointed him editor of Christian Bookseller in 1962. He left to help a friend expand his business magazines reach in Canada in a focused attempt to capture Canadian media for Christ. But in 1970 Moody Press called and asked him to become editorial director. Early in that career he wrote curriculum for middlers in African American churches for Urban Ministries.
He left for Christian Herald Association in 1978 to become vice-president of Books and Book Clubs. When the book program was sold, he joined Here’s Life Publishers as editorial director, becoming president in 1985. When Campus Crusade for Christ sold it to Thomas Nelson in 1992, Stobbe joined Scripture Press as managing editor of its curriculum division and editor of adult curriculum. He also served as editor of the Christian Education Journal. During this time he embarked on his current role as literary agent at the pleading of a group of writers. When Scripture Press sold itself to David C. Cook Ministries God led Stobbe to Evangelistic Association of New England as vice-president of marketing and communications, while building his agent role evenings and weekends. The dot-com bust dried up foundation funds in 2001, so Stobbe became editorial director of Christian Writers Guild, writing curriculum for both apprentice and journeyman courses. A stint as journalist in residence at Gordon College followed, retiring to full-time work as agent in 2004, living in Tryon, NC in the foothills of the Blue Ridge Mountains.
Stobbe has led writing workshops and given keynote addresses at writers conferences since 1963 in the US and Canada, the Far East in the Philippines and Singapore, Germany, Wales, Pakistan and Afghanistan.
As writer, Stobbe has written more than 700 articles and 14 books, plus numerous study guides for books by leading authors. For ten years he wrote a Bible study column for boys for Christian Service Brigade. As churchman he was a lay supply preacher, Sunday school teacher, and elder.
The Blue Ridge Mountains Christian Writers Institute in Ridgecrest, NC has served writers for more than 30 years, with more than 400 in attendance at this year’s conference in the Blue Ridge foothills. Edie Melson, an active writer and author consultant on social media, is the new director, following eight years of leadership by Aldon Gansky, a prolific writer.