The nominees for this year’s Dove Award for Songwriter of the Year, which will be presented at the 40th Annual GMA Dove Awards on April 23, were announced this week The nominees are (above, L-R) Steven Curtis Chapman, Natalie Grant, Brandon Heath, Jason Ingram and Tony Wood. The recipient of the Dove Award for Songwriter of the Year will be named during the awards show on April 23 at the Grand Ole Opry House in Nashville. The show is scheduled for live broadcast on the Gospel Music Channel, and tickets are now on sale to the public at the GMA office by calling 615-242-0303.

“Perhaps no other genre relies on the message in the lyrics more than gospel music, so songwriters deserve special honor at the Dove Awards,” GMA President and CEO John W. Styll said. “We congratulate each of these deserving writers for crafting music that has inspired and moved us in the past year.”

In addition to other songs they have written, each songwriter is nominated in the Song of the Year category. Chapman penned “Cinderella,” while Grant wrote “I Will Not Be Moved.” Heath and Ingram co-wrote “Give Me Your Eyes” and Wood co-wrote two Song of the Year nominees – “Empty Me” (with Chris Sligh and Clint Lagerberg) and “I’m Not Letting Go”(with Francesca Battistelli). Click here for a complete list of this year’s nominees.

The 40th Annual GMA Dove Awards, gospel music’s biggest night of the year, featuring artists from every style of gospel/Christian music coming together for a night of music and celebration, will be broadcast nationwide live on Gospel Music Channel from 8-10 p.m. (ET/PT) on Thursday, April 23, 2009.

Click here for more on the 40th Annual GMA Dove Awards