Announcing: Dianne Wilkinson: The Life and Times of a Gospel Songwriter

Dianne Wilkinson: The Life and Times of a Gospel SongwriterMany of you remember our December 2009 interview with legendary songwriter Dianne Wilkinson. Ever since I conducted that interview, I knew that her story needed to be told in book form.

I suggested the idea in May 2011. She said that songwriting kept her so busy that she might never find the time to write an autobiography. (She writes, on average, more than one song per week, and over two-thirds of those songs get recorded!) I knew enough of her story to know what a loss it would be to Gospel Music if it was lost to history, so I offered to do a series of interviews and turn them into a book.

She agreed, and the result is Dianne Wilkinson: The Life and Times of a Gospel Songwriter. It chronicles her life story and the stories behind over 150 of her best-known songs.

In 1974, Wilkinson—already a church pianist and Sunday School teacher—realized that she was still unsaved. Her salvation prompted a period of serious doctrinal and theological study which provided a foundation for her songwriting career.

She began writing songs when touring with her family group in the 1970s. Her career took off in the 1980s, in parallel with the group with whom she became closely associated, the Cathedral Quartet. Songs she wrote for them include “Boundless Love,” “Homeland,” “Jesus Has Risen,” and lead singer Glen Payne’s signature song, “We Shall See Jesus.”

She has become Southern Gospel’s most recognized non-performing songwriter. Virtually every major Southern Gospel artist has recorded her songs. Around fifty of her songs have been charting singles on the industry-standard Singing News monthly radio charts; seven have reached #1. Her songs have also received multiple Dove Awards® nominations, over a dozen Singing News Fan Awards nominations, and multiple Singing News Fan Awards for Song of the Year.

Dianne Wilkinson: The Life and Times of a Gospel Songwriter will be available for physical purchase from Amazon, and for digital purchase for the Amazon Kindle®, the Barnes and Noble Nook™, the Apple iPad® and iPhone®, the Kobo™ e-reader, and several other formats and venues. A book signing is also planned for the National Quartet Convention.

UPDATE: The latest information on how to obtain copies of the book is here: /books

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29 Letters to the Editor

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  1. Awesome…beautiful job on the cover! Can’t wait to see it!

    • Me, either, actually!

      I can’t take credit for the cover, by the way. That was designed by Taylor Garms of Lacheln Designs (; she’s one of the members of The Garms Family (whom you’ve seen commenting around here before).

      • Wow! Great job, Ms. Garms!

      • Thanks, Brian! It was such a great privilege to take part in this awesome project and a delight to design a book cover for one of my heroes. 🙂

        -Taylor for TGF

  2. Terrific, Daniel!!! I will definitely be buying this book! I especially want to read the stories behind her songs. When will it be available?

    • Early next month – by NQC!

      Y’all, my friends in SG, have been asking for years when my next book would come out. I’m so thrilled that it’s an SG title! 🙂

  3. Can’t wait to get one of these! : )

    • I can’t wait for you to read it! AFter working with it for a year and a half, I’m still not tired of the story! Her prose storytelling is every bit as vibrant as her song storytelling! 🙂

      • I’m sure it is! Now your job is to let us know when it becomes available… 😉

      • Not to worry! 🙂

  4. Congratulations on completing an amazing task. I couldn’t imagine trying to write a book.

    Since we’re on the topic…the natural follow on book should be about the Cathedrals. You’ve already done extensive research on their most famous song writer. You have connections with former Cathedrals members. You’re probably bored with nothing to do 😉
    In all seriousness, it seems like a natural follow on for you.

    • Oh, I’ve definitely thought about it! 🙂 Thing is, though, I think that it would take ten years of research or more to have a chance at doing that one justice! 🙂

      • You’re still young…10 years are going to pass anyway. Might as well write a best seller.

      • 🙂

  5. Congratulations, Daniel! I cannot wait to read it.

    Any idea when the book signing at NQC will be? Being completely selfish, I vote for Thursday, Friday, or Saturday. Needless to say, those are the days I’ll be there. LOL

    • I don’t know yet, actually. It depends on when / with whom I make arrangements for hosting it. 🙂

  6. Looks like a great book…..what would swing me to buy depends on how much info is in there on the Cathedrals 🙂

  7. I am excited to read this book. As a personal friend, mentor and co-writer of mine, Mama Di (as I affectionately call her) is the real deal. I am blown away by her creativity, but even more at the knowledge this woman possesses of the Bible. I would put her up against anyone in a debate about the Word of God. She’s a vibrant, brilliant, beautiful woman full of life and committed to keeping a high standard of excellence and Godly lyrics in her music. In all her wonderful and storied history of song-crafting, I’m still certain that her best writing days are ahead as I know God is continuing to pour out ideas to her and she hasn’t let up a bit. She’s a true role model in more than one way for all of us writers, and I hope it’s ok to say I want to be her when I grow up! She already knows that!! LOL She’s truly a class act who deserves this book and many more honors. Thank you for sharing with the world what a whole lot of us writers already know about the legendary Dianne Wilkinson. I am honored to call her a dear friend!

    • Very, very neat! It was an honor to do this!

  8. That is a must read. Will be sure to buy it at NQC!! Congrats Daniel, i know you are proud of this. i would be as well.

    • Thanks, Pat! I’m about as excited as I can be. 🙂

  9. I will be adding this book to my list of things I’ll be getting at the convention. I know it will be very good.

  10. Without question, Dianne is one of, if not the most versatile writer in Gospel Music today. Within the last hour, I have listened to some new song demos from her that include “straight-ahead” Gospel, “inspirational” ballads, and even a couple of songs that would fit into a “high church” Hymnal. She’s is an amazingly gifted writer…and the songs just keep on coming!

    • I think it’s an inspiration to anyone who strives for excellence in a field – whether it’s writing, blogging, singing, or anything else – to look at someone like her, who has somehow shifted into a higher gear each decade!

  11. Will both you and Ms. Dianne be at the book signing?

    • She will certainly be. My plans are a little more up in the air, but I hope to be. I really want it to be about her, not me, though. I’ve released a book before and had my own signings; I really want to be out of the spotlight on this one. It’s not about me! 🙂

  12. Congrats my friend! This is awesome!