Best-selling author and religion expert Phyllis Tickle died Sept. 22 at her home near Memphis, TN. She was diagnosed with stage four lung cancer in May and recently entered hospice.

Tickle was the founding editor of Publisher Weekly’s religion department and served as a consultant and advisor to several publishers. She also authored nearly 40 books, including “The Divine House” series and The Great Emergence.

Tickle is survived by her daughters Nora Katherine Cannon, Mary Gammon Ballard, Laura Lee Palermo, Rebecca Rutledge Tickle; by her sons John Crockett Tickle, II, and Samuel Milton Tickle, Jr.; by seven grandchildren and three great-grandsons. She was preceded in death by her husband, Dr. Samuel M. Tickle Sr., and their son, Philip Wade Alexander Tickle.

Tickle’s wish was that, in lieu of flowers, gifts be sent to Paraclete Press to help fund the Phyllis A. Tickle Award in Poetry, an award to be given every other year, beginning in 2016, to an unpublished poet to provide for the publication of the recipient’s first book of poems.

A memorial service is being planned.