Author Archives: Scott Hales

Fifteen Things You Should Know Before You Try to Write Mormon Missionary Fiction

You are not the first person to write a Mormon missionary story. In fact, there’s a good chance that your Mormon missionary story has already been written. You stand a better chance of writing a good Mormon missionary story if … Continue reading

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Mormons and American Literature Anthologies: An Exercise in Optimism

In the last forty years, the American literary canon has changed dramatically. If you go back to Norton American literature anthologies from the late 1960s and early 1970s, you’ll notice that most of the writers are white men, a dozen … Continue reading

Posted in Community Voices, Mormon LitCrit | Tagged , , | 11 Comments

Nephi Anderson at the Annual SASS Conference

Next week, the Society for the Advancement of Scandinavian Studies will be holding its annual conference in San Francisco. For this year’s conference, a few of us have put together a panel on Nephi Anderson that focuses on his Scandinavian … Continue reading

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Five Nephi Anderson Novels You Should Read Before You Die

This week I plan to finish my dissertation chapter on Nephi Anderson’s novels. As the current draft climbs to around 65 pages, I realize that trying to encapsulate Anderson’s contribution to Mormon letters in one chapter is a fool’s errand. … Continue reading

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Creating New Historical Narratives; or, Why We Should Be Writing More Mormon Historical Fiction

Mormons have a long history with the historical novel. Early in the twentieth century, for example, writers like Susa Young Gates and Nephi Anderson used the historical novel to create a romanticized version of the Mormon past for post-Manifesto readers … Continue reading

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Read This Book: A Review of Theric Jepson’s Byuck

How do you review a book that can’t hold still? This has been my dilemma this morning. I’ve already tried four or five times to write this review, and each time I’ve written about two hundred words before the inkwells … Continue reading

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Fifty Shades of (Mormon) Gray: A Review of Moriah Jovan’s “Magdalene”

My experience is limited when it comes to romance novels. I remember as a kid always seeing them on the shelves at grocery stores. Their covers were fairly standard: massive pectorals, cleavage, and yards of lush fabric and flowing hair. … Continue reading

Posted in Stuff of Romance | Tagged , , , , , | 9 Comments

Mormon LitCrit: From Imitation to Innovation; or, Why Mormon Writers Should Move Out of the Basement

Cultural texts do not exist independent of one another, but in an interdependent relationship we call the tradition. New texts rely on the tradition of older texts, and older texts depend on new texts to keep the tradition vibrant and relevant. … Continue reading

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Mormon Literature and the Anxiety of “Passing”

In literature, a character’s ability to move unnoticed from one social group to another, often more privileged group is called “passing.” In Disney’s Mulan, for example, the title character “passes” for a man so that she can take her aging … Continue reading

Posted in Mormon LitCrit, Storytelling and Community | Tagged , , , , , , , | 15 Comments

Literature and the Challenge of The Mormon People

Matthew Bowman’s The Mormon People: The Making of an American Faith, published earlier this year by Random House, is possibly the best overview of Mormon history that I’ve read. Written for scholars and general readers alike, the book situates Mormonism … Continue reading

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