The Family Fiction-sponsored Reader's Choice Award 2011 named Tessa Afshar New Author of the Year for her novel Pearl in the Sand. Before relocating to the United States, she was born in Iran, lived there for fourteen years, and attended an English boarding school. In her twenties, she converted to Christianity, which changed the path of her life permanently. Tessa earned her MDiv from Yale Divinity School, where she also served as cochair of the Evangelical Fellowship. Since then, she has dedicated her life to Christian service.