This Week in Mormon Literature, May 7th 2011

This weekend is the LDStorymaker Conference, the Mormon fiction authors’ event of the year, in Salt Lake City. Workshops, panel sessions, and pitch meetings are reportedly going at lively pace. The Whitney Awards banquet will be held tomorrow. There are several new books this week, including two New York Times bestselling authors, and interesting things in film and theater. Sorry to post this a day late. Please send any suggestions or announcements to mormonlit AT gmail DOT com.

Whitney Awards

First some last minute Whitney Award discussions. Shelah, Mara, and Emily M. at Seagullah are going through the field, picking their favorites. Theirs have always been my favorite pre-Whitney posts. This first post featured their favorites in YA General, Speculative Fiction, Mystery, and Romance. Their favorite book overall was Kristen Chandler’s Wolves, Boys, and Other Things That Might Kill Me, which they recommended for Best Novel, Best Novel by a New Author, and Best YA General. In their second post they discuss the General, Historical, and YA Speculative categories, and make general comments about the 2010 crop of nominees.  I was interested in Emily’s comment that the 2010 field did not have any of the surprise picks from tiny publishers or self-publishing that earlier years have had.

LDS Publisher is doing her own poll of people’s favorite Whitney Awards finalists.

Other Awards

Brad R. Torgerson won first place in the novelette category in the Analog Science Fiction and Fact magazine reader’s poll for “Outbound,” which appeared in the November 2010 issue.  Eric James Stone tied for third place for his short story “Rejiggering the Thingamajig”.

Heather Moore’s novel Alma the Younger won 2011 Best of State in Literary Arts for Fiction. A couple of years ago her novel Abinadi won the same award.

Columns, news, and events

BYU emeritus faculty member Richard Cracroft has authored the book review column Book Nook in the alumni BYU Magazine (formerly BYU Today) for 20 years. In it he recommends books authored by BYU alumni or faculty.  Cracroft announced that his Spring 2011 column will be his next-to-last, as reported by Kent Larson at A Motley Vision. The magazine editors have indicated that they intend to drop the feature after Cracroft’s last column. In the latest column he writes lovely recommendations of George Handley’s Home Waters: A Year of Recompenses on the Provo River, Darin L. Cozzens’ Light of the New Day and Other Stories, and Jeremy Grimshaw’s The Island of Bali is Littered with Prayers, among others.

Rachael Renee Anderson shares the “Top 10 Things I love about CFI” at the Cedar Fort authors’ blog Writing Fortress.

Last week’s “10 Memorable Depictions of Mormons in Pop Culture” nearly ignored creations by active Mormons themselves.  In reply, Scott Hales at The Low-Tech World created his own 10 Memorable Depictions of Mormons by Mormons in Mormon Pop Culture.

Howard Tayler wrote a post, Meme in Monoculture, in which he posits a theory about why there are so many Mormons writing genre fiction. He says it has nothing to do with Mormon doctrine or mindsets, but rather that Utah Mormon culture is such a monoculture that once a meme like genre fiction writing is established, it can spread through the culture like wildfire. Eric James Stone replied with his own post, Thoughts on Mormon Writing Speculative Fiction, in which he provides a chart showing the great rise in National speculative fiction novels by LDS authors.   

Riffing off of a Walt Whitman quote, Ted Lee at The Religiously Sanctioned Co-Habitation Chronicles writes about the need for Great Audiences in Mormon culture for the creation of great art.

Keepin’ Up with LDS Bookstores is a new blog designed for independent LDS bookstores, with book reviews, industry news, and marketing tips.  

The Utah Festival of Books will be held Saturday, June 4th, 2011 on Brigham Square adjacent to the Wilkinson Center at BYU.  The free event includes author signings, performances, booths, literacy activities, guest speakers, food and more. Among the authors scheduled to appear are Ally Condie, James Dashner, Brandon Mull, Kristen Landon, Doug Thayer, Jessica Day George, Kristin Randle, Aprilynne Pike, Ann Cannon, Rick Walton, Kristen Chandler, Jeff Savage, Ann Dee Ellis, Tracy Hickman, and Dave Wolverton.  

The 2011 Children’s Book Festival, held at Provo City Library, continues through today, May 7th. The Festival features a host of activities for children and their families, with crafts, games, giveaways, and prizes.  Twenty authors and illustrators are participating in the festival.

A feature story about Anita Stansfield at the Mormon Times. Titled Best-selling LDS author on overcoming low self-esteem, it is an excerpt from the book Women of Character: Profiles of 100 Prominent LDS Women, by Susan Easton Black and Mary Jane Woodger.

New books

Hard Magic, by Larry Correia. Baen. A “diesel punk” fantasy. Book 1 of the Grimnoir Chronicles. The protagonist is a war hero, private eye, and ex-con. He has the magical talent of being able to alter the force of gravity on things. Correia’s first two novels, published in 2009 and 2010, are unabashedly B-movie, male fantasies, with lots of gunplay and un-PC humor. Those novels resulted in his being nominated for the prestigious John W. Campbell Award for Best New Writer last week. This book is the first of four Correia novels that Baen is publishing in 2011. The book is being released simultaneously in hardcover and trade paperback. It is Correia’s first book to be released in hardcover.

Arizona Guy, by Raymond Spitzer. WiDo Publishing. Mystery. High school band director moves to Ajo, Arizona, gets involved in a mystery. Has a couple of Mormon characters, but the main character is not Mormon. Debut novel.

Double Deceit by Stephanie Humphreys. Walnut Springs. Romantic thriller. A widow finds new romance, but her post comes back to haunt her. Second novel.

Illusions, by Aprilynne Pike. HarperTeen. Paranormal romance. 3rd in the Wings series, about a girl who discovers she is a fairy, and the world of fantastic creatures. Titled Wild in the UK edition.

Hotel Angeline: A Novel in 36 Voices. OpenRoad Media, A collaborative novel written by 36 authors, including Jamie Ford, in front of a live viewing audience over one week.


Beyonders-A World Without Heroes, by Brandon Mull. Karen Hamilton, for the AML. Favorable.

Light of the New Day and Other Stories, by Darin Cozzens. Dallas Robbins, for the AML. Very favorable. “At first, I was too easily tempted to believe I was going to find the similar rural characters that inhabit the world of Levi Peterson, who in my mind seems to tower over the contemporary Mormon short story. But as I read, I was pleasantly dispelled of the notion quickly, finding a different but no less interesting voice that recounts life in the West, attuned to capturing an unembellished authenticity, whether tragic, triumphant, or just treading along . . . By the time I was halfway through the collection, it occurred to me that Cozzens is carving out a fictional universe, but on a different scale that is analogous to Williams Faulkner’s Yoknapatawpha County. Main characters in one story will show up later as side characters in another tale, providing the reader the sense of a community developed over time.”

Vengeance, by Clair M. Poulson. Jennie Hansen, Meridian Magazine. Fairly positive.

Journey of Honor, by Jaclyn M. Hawkes. Bloggin’ ‘Bout Books. C-. Rookie mistakes and poor character development. “it’s just a little too blah, a little too cliche, a little too forgettable for my tastes.”

Mark of Royalty, by Jennifer Clark and Stephonie Williams. Melissa DeMoux at Mormon Times. Favorable.

Illusions, by Aprilynne Pike. Kirkus Reviews. Mixed. “The third in this four-leaf series wilts at the outset, with prose more clichéd than its predecessors, but perks up in the second half . . . Fans will revel in the idealized characterizations, breathless abstinence romance, lurking danger and newly explicit Arthurian parallels.”


Mormon Artist magazine Issue #15 is now available. It includes interviews with author Gerald Lund, French playwright and director Jean-Francois Demeyere (great international find!), and Italian comic actor and filmmaker Marco Lui.

Leading Edge Issue #61, their 30th Anniversary issue, will soon be released. Leading Edge is a student-run speculative fiction magazine based at BYU. The new issue includes the stories We Blazed, by Dave Wolverton, Charybdis, by Dan Wells, Sanderson’s Second Law, by Brian Sanderson, Mimicry, by Maggie Slater, Mercury Dawn, by John O’Neill, The Golden Bones of Grandma Bo, by Melinda Selmys , Sketchbook, by Brian Brinlee.

The Provo Orem Word, May 2011, has a food theme. It includes the short story “Not Delicious”, by Chadd VanZanten, three poems, and reviews by Eric Samuelsen of The King’s Speech and a Hale Center Theater production, and by Marilee Clark of a M. F. K. Fisher book.


LDS filmmaker Stephen Frandsen is working on a documentary film about LDS singles called Duck Beach, which will focus on the annual gathering of singles at a beach in North Carolina. There are interviews of Fradsen by his cousin Rosalynde Welch at Times and Seasons and Theric Jepson at A Motley Vision, and Fradsen pens his own introductory post at By Common Consent.  You can see the explanatory video and help fund the project at its Kickstarter page. You can also see Fradsen’s earlier short film, One Way Ticket, a six-minute piece about a LDS single man going to meet the woman he met on-line, with a surprise twist near the end.

Interview with Daryn Tufts about his romantic comedy “My Girlfriend’s Boyfriend” at Salt Lake Magazine. 


The Broadway musical The Book of Mormon got 14 Tony Award nominations, the most of any play.

Mormon commentators Jana Riess and John Dehlin discuss The Book of Mormon on the NPR program On Point. Also appearing were co-creator Robert Lopez and New York Times theater critic Ben Brantley.  


New York Times Bestseller lists, May 8th   

Hardcover Fiction

#25  MILES TO GO, by Richard Paul Evans (3rd week) ↓.  Down from #19.

Trade Fiction Paperback

#12. HOTEL ON THE CORNER OF BITTER AND SWEET, by Jamie Ford (48th week) ↓. Will this book ever let up?  Down from from #9 on the paperback list, and down to #33, from #29, on the Combined Hardcover and Paperback Fiction list.

Children’s Chapter Books


#6.  A WORLD WITHOUT HEROES, by Brandon Mull (6th week) ↑.Up from #7.

Deseret Book LDS Fiction Bestsellers this week

1 Shadows of Brierley, Vol. 1: The Wanderer by Anita Stansfield

2 Blackberry Crumbleby Josi S. Kilpack  ↓

3 The Silence of God by Gale Sears

4 The Walk, Book 2: Miles to Go by Richard Paul Evans

5 The List by Melanie Jacobson  ↑

6 Captive Heart by Michele Paige Holmes  ↔

7 The Great and Terrible Six-Volume Set  by Chris Stewart

8 Vengeance by Clair M. Poulson  ↔

9 The Undaunted: The Miracle of the Hole-in-the-Rock Pioneers  by Gerald N. Lund

10 Borrowed Light  by Carla Kelly

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2 Responses to This Week in Mormon Literature, May 7th 2011

  1. Jonathan Langford says:

    Lots of interesting stuff. I find myself wanting to spend hours exploring the links and news items you’ve posted (but probably can’t, due to the need to work on my own writing, work projects, house cleaning, etc….)

    Thanks again for compiling this!

  2. The 2010 Whitney Award winners are:

    General fiction–BAND OF SISTERS by Annette Lyon
    Historical fiction–TRESPASS by Sandra Grey
    Romance fiction–CROSS MY HEART by Julie Wright
    Mystery/Suspense fiction–COLD AS ICE by Stephanie Black
    Speculative fiction–THE WAY OF KINGS by Brandon Sanderson
    Youth fiction–speculative–MATCHED by Ally Condie
    Youth fiction–general–THE HEALING SPIRIT by Kimberley Griffiths Little
    Best novel by a new author–PARANORMALCY by Kiersten White
    Best novel (tie)–MR. MONSTER by Dan Wells and THE WAY OF KINGS by Brandon Sanderson
    Oustanding achievement award–Rick Walton
    Lifetime achievement award–Susan Evans McCloud

    Congratulations to all of the winners!

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