Mormon LitCrit: Help Us Get It Right?

Right now, Jonathan Langford and I are collaborating on a volume tentatively titled “The Latter-Day Saint Family Encyclopedia,” which will be published this fall by Thunder Bay Press and sold fairly widely. As you might imagine, we’re taking advantage of the opportunity to write a good, meaty entry on Mormon literature, and I’ve included Jonathan’s draft below. May we invite you all to review the following text and, in this post’s comment section, let us know any clarifications or enhancements that come to mind. We can’t let this entry get any longer, but we can certainly refine what’s here. Thanks in advance for your help!

Literature, Mormon

Literature represents an important way of expressing and exploring ideas, emotions, and experiences, both on an individual level and as a community. From the earliest days of the restored Church, Latter-day Saints have expressed their thoughts and feelings in literary form.In 1888, future apostle Orson F. Whitney delivered an address in which he predicted, “We will yet have Miltons and Shakespeares of our own. . . . In God’s name and by his help we will build up a literature whose top shall touch heaven.” Along similar lines, in 1977 President Spencer W. Kimball wrote, “the full story of Mormonism has never yet been written nor painted nor sculpted nor spoken. It remains for inspired hearts and talented fingers yet to reveal themselves.” Such calls for high-quality literature represent an ongoing challenge that Latter-day Saints writers are eager to meet.

Biography, autobiography, and personal writing: Latter-day Saints have a rich tradition of nonfiction narratives that capture personal experience. Within scripture, both the early sections of the Book of Mormon and Joseph Smith—History represent examples of spiritual autobiography. Many of the early converts to the Church, pioneers crossing the Plains, and settlers in Utah and surrounding areas captured their experiences and emotions vividly through journals and personal histories that qualify not only as historical accounts but also as engaging literature. While journals and narratives by Church leaders such as William Clayton and Parley P. Pratt help to illuminate prominent events, accounts by ordinary members such as Annie Clark Tanner and Mary Goble Pay are no less valuable for the way they vividly capture ordinary life. [Author’s note: I have not read Annie Clark Tanner and Mary Goble Pay and thus do not know for sure if “vividness” is one of their characteristics. If it is not, I would welcome other examples to plug in here.]

This strong tradition has continued down to modern times. Church leaders continue to encourage members to keep journals and write personal and family histories, noting that such accounts may become like scripture to their descendants. Well-researched and finely crafted biographies have been published regarding many Church members, particularly Church leaders during the early days and down to modern times. Official LDS Church magazines such as the Ensign regularly publish first-person narratives of faith-promoting experiences and insights gained from enduring the trials of life. More literary and nuanced personal essays are regularly published in independent LDS-oriented periodicals such as Dialogue, Sunstone, BYU Studies, Exponent II, Irreantum, and Segullah. Such essays often focus on the experience of living a gospel-informed life and insights related to gospel truth. The explosion of the Internet has led to the phenomenon of personal and family websites and blogs, which have been embraced by many Latter-day Saints as a way of expressing and sharing elements of their personal and family life. [Author’s note: With respect to biographies, autobiographies, personal narratives, and personal essays, I’m inclined not to try to name any specific writers, on the grounds that there are so many that it would be impossible to do justice to the field. However, I’m open to anyone who might want to make a case for some particular authors and/or works rising to the top in these fields in a way that should be mentioned here.] The tone of such writing ranges from scholarly to humorous (see Humor).

Novels and short stories: Like many American religious leaders of the time, early LDS Church leaders were often distrustful of fiction and counseled members to avoid reading it. By the late 1880s, however, Church leaders such as Orson F. Whitney were calling for a “home literature” written by faithful Latter-day Saints that would fill the hunger for fiction while still remaining true to LDS themes and values. The result was a flowering of novels and short stories, most notably including Susa Young Gates; B. H. Roberts; and Nephi Anderson, author of Added Upon, a widely read story that follows characters from premortal life through mortality to the Millennium in a pattern that influenced later works such as the late twentieth century musicals Saturday’s Warrior and My Turn on Earth.

While home literature continued to be produced, the 1930s and 1940s saw the rise of a group of writers sometimes known as Mormonism’s “lost generation.” These writers achieved artistic success in addressing Mormon themes and experience, sometimes for a national audience, but at the cost of alienation from their own LDS faith and community. Major writers from this group include Virginia Sorensen, Samuel W. Taylor, Vardis Fisher, and Maureen Whipple, whose novel The Giant Joshua is sometimes considered the finest Mormon novel, at least among those dealing with the pioneer experience. An important more recent writer in this same tradition is Levi Peterson, author of The Backslider and numerous short stories.

A significant development in home literature was the decision in the late 1970s by Deseret Book to start publishing fiction. Early offerings included historical young adult novels by Dean Hughes and romances by Shirley Sealy. Covenant Communications and Bookcraft soon followed, with historical novels, retold stories from the scriptures, young adult fiction, and romances representing the vast bulk of the fiction they published. Particularly noteworthy was the multivolume series The Work and the Glory, by Gerald Lund, which covered the fictitious Steed family from 1827 through the westward migration to Utah. Other popular authors in the home literature tradition have included Chris Heimerdinger, Rachel Ann Nunes, Anita Stansfield, Jack Weyland, and Blaine and Brenton Yorgason, among many others. [Author’s Note: Please suggest additions or revisions to this list to represent names “everyone should know” in this category.] Short fiction in the home literature style continued to be published by the Church magazines up through __; however, by __ the Church magazines were no longer publishing fiction. [Author’s Note: Dates to be inserted. Can someone verify that the Friend no longer publishes fiction stories?]

Alongside the continuing home literature tradition, the last several decades of the twentieth century witnessed an increasing number of works by writers who combined the techniques of literary fiction with a fundamentally faithful stance toward LDS doctrine and experience. Particularly noteworthy among these “faithful realists” have been Douglas Thayer, Donald R. Marshall, Margaret Young, Orson Scott Card (in his novel Saints), and Todd Robert Petersen. [Author’s Note: Please suggest additions or revisions to this list to represent names “everyone should know” in this category.] Works by these and other writers in this category have typically been published by small regional presses or university presses, and despite critical acclaim, they are often not widely read, compared to titles from the home literature tradition.

Recent years have also seen an increasing number of LDS writers who have achieved success in the national market with stories that typically feature little in the way of overt LDS connections, though they may incorporate themes that resonate with LDS beliefs. In the area of science fiction and fantasy, Orson Scott Card, Dave Wolverton/Farland, Tracy Hickman, and Brandon Sanderson are among the best-known examples, with Stephenie Meyer achieving perhaps the greatest commercial success of any LDS author to date with her Twilight vampire series. Other successful mainstream authors who are LDS include Anne Perry, who writes historical mysteries; Richard Paul Evans, author of The Christmas Box; and Shannon Hale, a writer of young adult fiction. [Author’s note: Please suggest other LDS authors whose success in the mainstream market warrants inclusion here.]

Drama and cinema: Since the early days of the Church, theatrical performance has been a valued part of LDS community life. Brigham Young stated, “Upon the stage of a theater can be represented in character, evil and its consequences, good and its happy results and rewards; the weakness and the follies of man, the magnanimity of virtue and the greatness of truth.” However, a significant body of original dramatic works dealing with LDS themes and character did not begin to develop until the later part of the twentieth century (see Drama and Motion Pictures).

First performed in 1974, Saturday’s Warrior, by Doug Stewart and Lex de Azevedo, was the first in a series of highly popular musicals dealing with explicitly LDS themes and written for an LDS market. Other noteworthy examples included Starchild, also by Stewart and de Azevedo, and My Turn on Earth, by Carol Lynn Pearson.

Stage theater in a more serious vein has been fostered on university campuses, particularly Brigham Young University, and in various (usually short-lived) local and regional theaters. Noteworthy authors of serious stage drama have included Thomas Rogers (Huebener, Fire In The Bones), Eric Samuelsen (Gadianton, Family), Tim Slover (Joyful Noise, Hancock County), Scott Bronson (Stones, Dial Tones), Melissa Larson (Angels Unaware, Happy Little Secrets) Orson Scott Card (Stone Tables, Father, Mother, Mother, and Mom ), and Robert Elliot (Fires of the Mind).

The quality and success of Richard Dutcher’s 2000 movie God’s Army about a group of young LDS missionaries marked the beginning of a spate of LDS-themed movies, most notably including Brigham City and States of Grace, also by Dutcher; The Other Side of Heaven, directed by Mitch Davis; and The Singles Ward, directed by Kurt Hale. However, Mormon cinema has thus far failed to live up to the promise of commercially viable movies directed to the Mormon market.

Poetry: Early converts to the Church were inspired to create poetry in response to the truths of the restoration, leading—in cases such as William W. Phelps, Parley P. Pratt, and Eliza R. Snow—to works that have taken their place among the best-loved LDS hymns. The outpouring of poetry—much of it sentimental and didactic, but some of high literary value—has continued from that time to the present. Both Church magazines and independent LDS-oriented periodicals regularly carry Mormon poetry, and single-author poetry anthology collections have also appeared.

Starting in the later twentieth century, LDS poets began to write in less traditional forms and styles. Noteworthy modern poets have included Clinton F. Larson, who also influenced later Mormon poets through his teaching and criticism; Carol Lynn Pearson; Emma Lou Thayne; Lance Larson; Dennis Clark; Susan Elizabeth Howe; Michael Collings; and Kimberly Johnson, among many others. [Author’s Note: Please suggest additions or revisions to this list to represent names “everyone should know” in this category.] Important recent collections of Mormon poetry include Harvest: Contemporary Mormon Poetry (published in 1989, edited by Eugene England and Dennis Clark) and Discoveries: Two Centuries of Poems by Mormon Women (published in 2004, edited by by Sheree Maxwell Bench and Susan Elizabeth Howe).

Literary criticism: Mormon literary criticism includes both the analysis of literature by, for, and about Latter-day Saints and exploration of perspectives on literature that incorporate an LDS view of life and eternity. It also extends to efforts to understand scripture by interpreting its literary dimensions (see Book of Mormon Scholarship: Literary Interpretation).

Movement toward a formalized critical discussion of Mormon literature began in the 1970s with the publication of the anthology A Believing People: Literature of the Latter-day Saints (edited by Richard Cracroft and Neal Lambert), establishment of the Association for Mormon Letters (AML), and the creation of the first classes in Mormon literature at BYU. [Author’s note: Can someone verify that the last of these occurred in the 1970s?] Essays of literary criticism regularly appear in Dialogue, BYU Studies, and Irreantum, and at events such as the annual AML conference and the Sunstone symposium, while awards by the AML and (more recently) the Whitney Awards attempt to celebrate the best in Mormon literature in a variety of genres. Noteworthy voices in Mormon literary criticism have included Richard Cracroft, Eugene England, Michael Austin, Bruce Jorgensen, Benson Parkinson, and Gideon Burton, among many others. BYU also now hosts the Mormon Literature and Creative Arts database, an important critical resource that seeks to comprehensively list literary writings and associated artistic works by and about Mormons.

In recent years, the Internet has became an important venue for discussing Mormon literature. For more than a decade starting in the mid-1990s, AML-List, an online email list sponsored by the AML, hosted often vigorous and stimulating discussions related to Mormon literature. More recently, blogs such as A Motley Vision and numerous personal blogs posting book reviews by individual Latter-day Saints have helped to fill the desire for members of the Church both with and without formal scholarly credentials to talk about Mormon literature.

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43 Responses to Mormon LitCrit: Help Us Get It Right?

  1. Might I suggest Lee Nelson for the Home lit crew of the 80′s etc.

  2. Moriah Jovan says:

    National: Brenda Novak. Christine Feehan.

  3. Katya says:

    I believe it’s "Lance Larsen," with an "e."

  4. Margaret says:

    Under "faithful realists," I’d go through the table of contents of _Dispensation_ and add at least a few of those names–those with good publication histories who are also believing Mormons. Surely Angela Hallstrom qualifies. Also, I like to have my maiden name included: Margaret Blair Young.

  5. J. Scott Bronson says:

    Please put a J. in front of Scott Bronson. Thank you. And Melissa I think puts a Leilani in the middle of her byline. Also, Angels Unaware has a different title, and I’m pretty sure the other play listed for her is Little Happy Secrets.

  6. Katya says:

    As a follow-up to Scott’s post, here is information from Melissa Leilani Larson’s website where she mentions "Little Happy Secrets" and refers to the Joan of Arc play as "Martyr’s Crossing" (although, to be fair, I think it was most recently produced under the "Angels" title).

    http://web.me.com/mel_leilani/Melissa_Leilani_Larson/Plays.html

  7. Lisa Torcasso Downing says:

    Well, I’m a lot more anal retentive than my fellow commenters. I copy and pasted the doc into Word and will send you, Chris, my edit. I see bothersome repetition and sentences that are convoluted and never seem to end. Plus some piddly stuff. But its impressive that you’ve got so much info into this word count. Still, it can be cleaned up some… As always, take all I say with a grain of salt.

  8. Thanks to Scott and Katya for their corrections on my behalf. One nit-picky thing: the apostrophe in "Martyrs’ Crossing" should be plural. Thank you!

    Since you mention LDS novelists working in the mainstream, it might be valuable to do the same with filmmakers and actors. These could include Ryan Little (Saints and Soldiers; Forever Strong) and Jared Hess (Napoleon Dynamite; Nacho Libre), just to name a couple. Also, Christian Vuissa might be worthy of mention, as he has been making a steady stream of LDS themed films, as well as founding and running the annual LDS Film Festival.

  9. Wm Morris says:

    I agree about Vuissa and the LDS Film Festival. So much so that I think you could axe the AMV mention to get it in. Not that I don’t want the publicity, but the LDS Film Festival is a cultural force in a way that AMV isn’t.

  10. Eric "C" Heaps says:

    Other possible additions to the list of playwrights are James Arrington and Mahonri Stewart. Susan Elizabeth Howe could also be included for drama for "Burdens of Earth" although she is included under poetry.

  11. Ed Snow says:

    Robert Kirby, Elouise Bell, Ann Edwards Cannon and Calvin Grondahl for Mormon humor.

  12. We do have a separate entry planned for Motion Pictures. It may be that some of the more detailed information about filmmaking and acting sense can be channeled into that article.

  13. Oops. I have no idea why that word "sense" was in my last comment. (Is there a way to edit our comments once they’re up?)

  14. Might I suggest "Goodbye, Walter"? (Mapletree, 2005). It’s my story, intertwined with the journey of a gentleman named Walter, and how his physical battle with cancer helps along my spiritual rebirth as a Latter-day Saint.

  15. Joan Sowards says:

    I would like to see Bertha Kleinman added to the poetry section, and Jeanette Rallison added to the national market section.

  16. Th. says:

    .

    I don’t know when this is coming out, but there are a few major anthologies in the works, without which this will immediately feel dated. Specifically, I mean your [i]Dispensations[/i] (for fiction), your rumored drama anthology, and [i]The Best of Mormonism[/i] which is supposed to be coming out yearly now.

    This is also as good a place as any to announce that Peculiar Pages is coming out with a major new poetry anthology early next year.

    This is enough current anthological activity to warrant mention, in my opinion.

    (And, speaking of poetry, you might consider RA Christmas and Neil Aitkin.)

  17. Terry Deighton says:

    Janette Rallison is a YA mainstream author who has written numerous novels for teens (mostly girls).

  18. Janette Rallison (sp) has sold over 100,000 novels nationally of her YA clean fiction novels. Aprilynn Pike’s book "Wings" is on the New Yord Best Seller’s list for 2009. James Dashner and J. Scott Savage are rising fast. Don’t forget them please.

  19. Wendy Jones says:

    For the home lit category: Jennie Hansen, Dean Hughes, Betsy Brannon Green, and Josi Kilpack

    For the national market: Carol Lynch Williams, Jessica Day George, Janette Rallison, and Brandon Mull

  20. Th. says:

    .

    Definitely Dean Hughes and Carol Lynch Williams.

  21. Lisa Tait says:

    On early home literature, thank you for listing Susa Young Gates first. I may be biased, but I think she belongs there. Nephi Anderson definitely belongs. I’m not so sure about BH Roberts. I think "Corianton" was his only attempt at fiction. I could be wrong, but he certainly did not produce nearly as much as half a dozen other people, including several men. I understand why he gets mentioned, because he is a recognizable name, but he really wasn’t that involved. Josephine Spencer was perhaps the most successful (financially) home literature author–and one of the most prolific. Other writers with significant output and reputation included Ellen Jakeman, Julia A. Macdonald ("Cactus"), Lula Greene Richards, and Lu Dalton. If you can only include one, I’d vote for Josephine.

  22. Lisa Torcasso Downing says:

    I’m curious about the inclusion of Mormon film under the category of Mormon Lit. Mormon Art, sure, but lit? I’ve been thinking about it–and I’d bet screenwriters may want to shoot me–but I don’t think of film as literature. I mean, a play, sure, we read them in college lit classrooms. They tend to stand w/o the visual element of stage production. But film scripts? IDK. Film has so many other things that go into its creation beyond the literary, that it seems strange to me. Anyone else see it this way? Is there a way to add a Mormon Cinema entry?

  23. As I mentioned above, there is a Motion Pictures entry planned, which is where a lot of the detail people have added related to film will be included. (There’s also a separate entry on Drama, already drafted, but it focuses largely on dramatic production rather than the writing of plays). It seemed to me, however, that an entry on Mormon Literature needed to at least mention drama–and should at least give a passing nod to the recent movie "burst" as a literary form.

  24. Wm Morris says:

    I’ve taken using the term "narrative art" for this very reason. There are definitely strong literary dimensions to film.

  25. Wm Morris says:

    BTW, I love that I can pretend to be from Romania. Now let’s see if I can get my Gravatar working.

  26. Lisa Torcasso Downing says:

    Sorry. I guess I missed the mention about the film entry. And yes, I like the term "narrative art." But I bet most folks just won’t get film in a lit entry.

  27. Having fiction skip to 1880s misses Parley P. Pratt’s AWESOME piece "A Dialogue Between the Devil and Joseph Smith." It’s inventive, gutsy, provocative, ran in a major national newspaper, and deserves not to be forgotten.

  28. Th. says:

    .

    Amen, James.

    I agree with the above comment on BH Roberts. Without the caveat of <i>why</i> his one work of fiction matters, he doesn’t seem to matter in this context.

    And, fwiw, I think Nephi Anderson deserves his own article. (I assume that’s what the small caps mean?)

  29. Angela H. says:

    I second Lisa Tait that Josephine Spencer would be an important name to include. There’s a great essay about Spencer in the Fall 07/Spring 08 double issue of Irreantum by Kylie Turley that could give you more info about her. And definitely include Brandon Mull for the national market. I also think that Brady Udall must be mentioned.

  30. Robert Blakley says:

    Being involved in the book business for 18 years, (now with a very small book store), I find it interesting that you have not included Roger K. Young or any of his books.

    Since the 1990′s and into current times, he has become one of the most influential LDS writers in the Church, specifically on preparedness and the events of the last days. (At least so said a general authority I personally know.) If you talk to anyone who is into preparedness or last days, chances are they have been influenced by his books.

    Since 1992 he was (and might still be) the #1 selling LDS author on the events of the last days. For a lot of us in the Independent Book Stores group his books were often our number one selling books in all categories for several years. (I understand that he was also for Deseret Book and Seagull their number one author for a couple of years as well.)

    His landmark book, AS A THIEF IN THE NIGHT, sold over 50,000 copies and still sells well. He never advertises, and yet I still have people every month ask for his books. (there are 8 of them). Recently, some of his books have gone out of print, though someone has said he is going to start republishing/reprinting again soon. His fans/readers are legion and as I have traveled across the country, I run into them in almost every ward I have visited.

    On a personal note, His books were originally recommended to me by(then emeritus) Elder DeJaeger. I also understand he was a protege of Cleon Skousen & Reed Benson, son of President Benson.

    Robert B.

  31. Tyler says:

    [i]speaking of poetry, you might consider [...] Neil Aitken.[/i]

    I agree with Th. If you’re interested in current directions in Mormon poetry, Aitken is a must—for his nationally award-winning collection [i]The Lost Country of Sight[/i]. Another who deserves mention in this category of national award winners is Philip White, whose 2007 collection [i]The Clearing[/i] won the Walt McDonald First-Book Series in Poetry. Both are excellent young poets who represent—alongside those we often hear about in Mormon lit circles: Lance Larsen, Susan Howe, Kim Johnson, Michael Collings—something of the strength of recent Mormon poetry, particularly of those who are writing for the national market. You might also include Timothy Liu, who seems to be taking May Swenson’s lead (Swenson may also be a possibility for inclusion) in terms of productivity (Liu put out two books in 2009) and a continued engagement with Mormon culture and themes, even though they’ve personally moved beyond active engagement with the religion. They both come out of the Mormon tradition, after all.

  32. Thanks to everyone for your comments. This simply confirms what I suspected all along: that the field of Mormon Lit is now so big that really it needs a community effort just to try to catch the highlights in a summary. I don’t know how many of these suggestions we’ll be able to incorporate, but I appreciate having them all. (Not at all meaning to cut off the debate–please feel free to continue giving input.)

    Some miscellaneous responses to comments by:
    - Lisa Downing: It would never have occurred to me to include drama but not film (perhaps because of all the film studies stuff I’ve seen in university English and literature departments). How many of the rest of you find it odd to include cinema as part of literature, but not drama? I’m honestly curious here — this raises interesting questions about our notions of "literature."

    - Th.: Yes, the small caps indicate an article. And yes, in an ideal world Nephi Anderson would deserve his own entry — but given the scope and length of what we have to work with, we’re being pretty scanty on entries for individual members, except for (a) presidents of the Church, and (b) a few other selected individuals who played a major role in LDS Church history, mostly from the early days of the Church. Heck, we don’t even have an entry for Bruce R. McConkie!

    - Robert Blakley: From what you’ve said, it sounds like Roger K. Young does not fall primarily into the Mormon Literature category as we’re defining it.

    -

  33. Lisa Torcasso Downing says:

    Yes, you’re right that film is being taught in English classrooms. I wasn’t remembering that. (I’m too far removed from a real English dept in real university.) But those lessons are for the literati. I mean, this is going to the masses (fingers crossed, right?) and I doubt they’ll think Film = Lit. Since there is going to be an entry for film (and drama), why not just give film (and drama) a nod in the lit entry and keep the discussion about literature, the written, non-performed word. The comments here have demonstrated that there is an awful lot to mention that hasn’t been mentioned.

    If your space is limited, cut the film (and drama) since its going to be mentioned in its own entry. Do you expect the film category to discuss the literary movements that opened the door for "smart" narrative in the Mormon realm? Or to recap home lit, for that matter, that began faith affirming narrative since much LDS film mimics it? Hardly. Maybe a nod. Not paragraphs.
    I just think there is soooo much more about novels, poetry, short fiction (and drama) that you could cover if you left the "in depth" film discussion to its own entry.

    But hey, I’m just me in my little corner.

  34. Lisa Torcasso Downing says:

    And truly, I’m really not suggesting the removal of drama. I do think people accept that as literature. But if you’re looking to say more about the written word, this would be a fair way to create that line space.

  35. What about non-LDS novels being published by Deseret Book, Covenant, and CFI? There are a growing number that contain no LDS element but are still primarily being marketed in the LDS arena. Not home literature, but regular genre fiction that doesn’t contain a great amount of what some members see as questionable content (sex, swearing, violence). My last five novels fit into this category (Eyes of a Stranger, Saving Madeline, Imprints, etc.), as do a few novels by GG Vandagriff (The Last Waltz) and Josi Kilpack (I believe her cozy mysteries series has no LDS content)–all published by Shadow Mountain, Deseret Book’s national imprint. Jeff Savage wrote a few mysteries (Shandra Covington) with Covenant that I think contained no LDS element. CFI has also published quite a few of these "national" novels that sell mostly in the LDS market. Publishing non-LDS genre fiction seems to be something that Shadow Mountain, at least, seems to be continuing with, for which I’m very grateful.

  36. Rick Walton says:

    I know space is limited, but perhaps the biggest thing that has happened with LDS writers in the past few years is the phenomenal success of writers of books for young readers, especially fantasy. Several NYT bestsellers, 6 and 7 figure advances, many awards. The success has been noted nationally, including spawning a delightful contest in a leading industry blog. Google Editorial Anonymous and look at her 12/25/09 entry.

  37. In the early 90′s fiction category, I started my Alex and Briggie mysteries in the early nineties (Cankered Roots, Of Deadly Descent), but then got ill and nothing more appeared until 2007 when I continued the series with Tangled Roots, Poisoned Pedigree, and Hidden Branch. As Rachel mentioned The Last Waltz is an epic historical published by Shadow Mountain (a bestseller) with no LDS content, as is The Arthurian Omen, a psychological suspense. The majority of my writing from here on will fall into this category.

    Also, Jason Wright deserves a mention, surely. His Wednesday Letters, Christmas Jars, and the book he co-wrote with Glenn Beck Christmas Sweater were all NYT bestsellers.

  38. Th. says:

    .

    As per Andrew Hall’s wrapup this year, Feehan MUST be included.

    Also—thanks for showing up, Rick—Rick Walton needs to be included and his point is well taken: he is hardly the only one doing what he does (though start with him).

  39. Thanks everyone. We have in fact added Rick Walton and Christine Feehan (even prior to this last post).

    The paragraph on contemporary LDS authors in the national market was beyond doubt the one that proved toughest to write, mostly because it’s such a huge universe to try to cover. Our pretty much final (pre-final editing) draft of this paragraph, unless someone can come up with a truly compelling reason otherwise, goes as follows:

    Recent years have also seen an increasing number of LDS writers who have achieved success in the national market with stories that typically feature few overt LDS connections, though they may incorporate themes that resonate with LDS beliefs. In the area of science fiction and fantasy, Orson Scott Card, Dave Wolverton (who also writes as David Farland), Tracy Hickman, Brandon Mull, and Brandon Sanderson are among the best-known examples, with Stephenie Meyer achieving perhaps the greatest commercial success of any LDS author to date with her Twilight vampire series. Other successful mainstream authors who are LDS include Anne Perry, who writes historical mysteries; Anne Wingate (who also writes as Lee Martin and Martha G. Webb), an author of detective fiction; Richard Paul Evans, author of [i]The Christmas Box[/i]; Rick Walton and Carol Lynch Williams, authors of children’s books; Shannon Hale, a writer of young adult fiction; Christine Feehan, a writer of supernatural romances; and Brady Udall, a writer of mainstream literary fiction with LDS characters.

    Back to Jonathan: What’s here is intended only to give a sense of range, while mentioning some of the biggest "success stories" in the national market to date. There’s way more out there…

    And thanks once again to everyone for your input. We know we haven’t done justice to the topic. I only hope we can keep everything that we’ve managed to include. (Our current draft is 1,896 words. For comparison, our Book of Mormon article–the longest so far I think–comes to 1,974 words.)

  40. Moriah Jovan says:

    *ahem* Brenda Novak. (Again.) Very successful in romance and romantic suspense.

  41. Michael shawn Majeed Toronto says:

    We have to live today by what truth we can get today and be ready tomorrow to call it falsehood. ~William James

  42. r4 card says:

    If your space is limited, cut the film (and drama) since its going to be mentioned in its own entry. Do you expect the film category to discuss the literary movements that opened the door for "smart" narrative in the Mormon realm?

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