By Tonya Whitaker
Inside The Pew

PLANO, Texas – The world of many residents in New Orleans’ Lower Ninth Ward changed Aug. 29, 2005, when Hurricane Katrina slammed into the Crescent City. From the unnerving stories of destruction birthed tales of perseverance and survival.

Author Lynette Norris Wilkinson – a former resident of the Ninth Ward – put the retrospective into words. Now, her retrospective book, UNTOLD: The New Orleans 9th Ward You Never Knew, is nominated to receive the prestigious Henri Christian Literary Award.

UNTOLD is told through the eyes of 16 Hurricane Katrina survivors, all of who once lived in the Lower Ninth Ward. The commentators, who range in age from 8 to 80, share their faith, struggle, history, and love of community in a work that sheds light on a dark time in American history.

“While many books have been written about Hurricane Katrina, very few focus on the Lower Ninth Ward,” said Wilkinson, a resident of the Dallas suburb of Plano. “If you want to know the real story behind the faces and images you saw during Hurricane Katrina, you will want to read UNTOLD.”

The author said proceeds from her God-inspired book will be donated to an organization helping residents recover.

Awards will be presented at the 2012 Christian Literary Awards, Nov. 3 in the Grand Amphitheater at Mount Olive Church, 300 Chisholm Place, in Plano. The VIP reception and red carpet begin at 4 p.m.; the award celebration begins at 6 p.m. Ticket information is available at The event is sponsored by Joy & Company.

The Henri will be presented to authors in nine categories representing faith-based books under the genre of Christian literature.

As a nominee for the award, UNTOLD is also eligible to earn the Reader’s Choice award. Fans can show their support and vote for UNTOLD at Simply log in, click 2012 Awards, select Reader’s Choice, and cast your vote for UNTOLD in the non-fiction category.

The Henri award nomination is the latest in a string of accolades for UNTOLD. The book was named 2010 Book of the Year by the Sankofa Literary Society and a finalist in the African American category of the 2011 Next Generation Indie Book Awards. The video/book trailer for UNTOLD was also a finalist in the African American Literature Book Club 2010 Best Book Trailer of the Year contest. In addition, UNTOLD received film credit in an upcoming National Geographic documentary on natural disasters, titled “Forecast Disaster: Deadly Floods.” The episode airs on the National Geographic channel on Thursday, Oct. 11 at 4 p.m. CST.

To purchase copies of UNTOLD: The New Orleans 9th Ward You Never Knew, read excerpts of the book, view interviews with the author, or book the author for speaking engagements, visit

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