“116 Pages” by Merrijane Rice

I know how you felt, Martin,
niggled in turn by hope and fear,
longing to be part of something great
and ready to suffer or sacrifice—
yet still bartering for some guarantee.

I’ve also craved approval, respect,
a little kindness from the world.
I’ve offered mankind my evidences,
half-turned and ready to run
at first sign of smirk,

and I have failed to do
what I knew was right
because I wouldn’t relinquish
what I wanted even though
it was never mine to begin with.

So I don’t wonder at your faults
now held up as warning
to future generations of saints,
but at your persistence:

how you returned and returned
hat in hand, abashed witness
to a Father’s infinite mercy.

Mormon Lit Blitz 2021 Finalists

From 31 May through 12 June, we’ll post the finalists in this year’s Mormon Lit Blitz here on lit.mormonartist.net. Join us for a daily poem, essay, or short story and vote for your favorites at the end. Here are the twelve pieces you can look forward to:

31 May: “116 Pages” by Merrijane Rice
1 June: “Unfit Mother of the Year” by Susan Law Corpany
2 June: “Final Exam” by Jared Forsyth
3 June: “Reformed Egyptian” by Lee Allred
4 June: “Oh, a Dove” by Aiko Tokuzawa
5 June: “We Must Overcome” by Jonathon Penny 

7 June: “Padrenuestro multiforme” by Gabriel González Núñez
8 June: “Not of Necessity” by Jeanine Bee
9 June: “Golden Plate Controversy Erupts with ‘Mormon Storm’” by Devin Galloway
10 June: “Weight of Souls” by Selina Forsyth
11 June: “Sacrament in Solitude” by Marianne Hales Harding
12 June: “Perspective” by Jonathon Penny

Congratulations to the finalists! We are thankful for what you do each year to engage our imaginations and widen our sense of what is possible in Mormon Literature.

Two Reminders

At the Mormon Lit Lab, we are interested in developing writers as well as sharing their work. On June 12, the last day of this year’s Lit Blitz, Sandra Tayler will be teaching her phenomenal class on making room in your life for creativity from 10:00 to 11:30 a.m. MDT. Anyone who has ever submitted a piece to the Mormon Lit Blitz is invited to attend free of charge via Zoom: RSVP here to register.

We’ve also selected our first class of eight writers who will be developing a full-length Mormon Lit book project. If you’d like to be a part of bringing new literary visions into the world, you can choose a project to contribute towards here. Donations to the Mormon Lit Lab are tax-deductible.

Thank you for your investment of time, attention, energy, and resources to help explore our tradition through art.

Mormon Lit Blitz 10th Anniversary Announcement + 2021 Longlist

It’s easy to count the ways that 2020 was a hard year: pandemic, quarantine, economic instability, civil unrest. Looking back, it’s just as easy for us to count the way it was a strong year for the Mormon Lit Lab: our amazing board completed and launched a successful Kickstarter for an anthology of the first five years of the Mormon Lit Blitz (available as print or ebook here), we partnered with the Cofradía de Letras Mormonas to sponsor a Spanish-language Mormon literature contest, and we introduced the Mormon Lit Lab book mentoring project to help new full-length works by past finalists come to life.

We are so happy with the community that’s developed around this work. 2021 marks ten years of the Mormon Lit Blitz–a project launched with vision of bringing short works for and by Latter-day Saints to a larger reading public. When the Lit Blitz was introduced in 2011, online literary publishing was still a new field. Many wondered about its legitimacy. Since then, Mormon Lit Blitz has been recognized as one of the most lively spaces for Mormon literature in the last decade. Stories written for the contest–including many that were not chosen as finalists–have since appeared in other online and print publications. Thanks to support from donors, we’ve also been able to expand our global reach and our support for writers and become an important venue for Mormon writing in languages other than English. Thanks to everyone who goes out on a limb to write pieces to submit, people have gotten new chances to experience the diversity of imagination within our religious tradition. 

As we read through the wide range of submissions for each year’s contest, it’s always difficult to decide which twelve pieces to feature as contest finalists. This year, to celebrate our tenth anniversary, we decided to offer a gift to anyone who has ever submitted to the Mormon Lit Blitz or our other contests. As part of our book mentoring program, creative consultant Sandra Tayler will be teaching her phenomenal class on making room in your life for creativity on 12 June from 10:00 to 11:30 a.m. MDT. She’s agreed to extend an invitation for the class  to anyone who’s ever made time to write a contest submission for us. Our board members still talk about insights we gained from the class: RSVP here if you’d like to attend.  

The class will be held at the conclusion of the 2021 Mormon Lit Blitz, which will run from May 31 through June 12. Finalists and the publication schedule for this year’s contest will be posted on Monday, May 24.

Longlist -- The 10th Annual Mormon Lit Blitz. by Mormon Lit Lab.

This year’s long list (alphabetized by author’s last name) of our top twenty-four submissions includes a wide range of pieces, including poetry, flash fiction, short essay, and an excerpt from a graphic novel:

“Reformed Egyptian” by Lee Allred
“All the Togetherness” by Lisa Hains Barker
“Not of Necessity” by Jeanine Bee
“Ausente” by Rosa María Cantero
“Unfit Mother of the Year” by Susan Law Corpany
“Final Exam” by Jared Forsyth
“Language Lessons” by Selina Forsyth
“Weight of Souls” by Selina Forsyth
“Golden Plate Controversy Erupts with ‘Mormon Storm’” by Devin Galloway
“Padrenuestro multiforme” by Gabriel González Núñez
“Mary and Martha Comment in Sunday School” by Marianne Hales Harding
Sacrament in Solitude” by Marianne Hales Harding
“Gift to Be Healed” by Annaliese Lemmon
“Hugging Death” by Jean Knight Pace
“Cheerio Church” by Lehua Parker
“Perspective” by Jonathon Penny
“We Must Overcome” by Jonathon Penny
“The Least of These” by Luisa Perkins
“Colibrí” by Leticia Teresa Pontoni
“116 Pages” by Merrijane Rice
“Oracle of Questions” by Sandra Tayler
“Oh, a Dove” by Aiko Tokuzawa
“Midwife on the Wild Frontier” by Melissa Tyler & Luciana Maruca
“Colors of Eden” by Rachel Unklesbay

Congratulations to all the semi-finalists!

Thank you again for all your support as readers and writers. To keep up with the Lit Blitz and other Mormon Lit Lab projects, you can also follow our Facebook page or sign up for our email list. And if you’re able to support our projects financially, we hope you’ll consider donating to a book project or making a monthly pledge of support for the Mormon Lit Lab.

Mormon Lit Lab: Book Mentoring Program

Book Mentoring Program: Mormon Lit LabOver the past 10 years, the Mormon Lit Blitz contest has published more than a hundred unique works of Mormon microliterature—short essays, stories, and poetry that stretch our sense of what literature can accomplish in a community of faith.

We’re excited to take the next step. This year, we’re mentoring four prose writers  and four poets as they develop books. We’ve already brought together a volunteer team of people with expertise in writing, editing, publishing, and advertising to provide monthly classes and personal consultations. We also aim to raise a $1,000 to $2,000 budget in support of each project. Even a small budget can help make someone’s dream project a reality.

To help bring these new titles into the world, make a tax-deductible one-time or monthly donation to the Mormon Lit Lab today. Whether you are able to contribute $20 or $100, any and every contribution will make a real difference.

If you would like to designate a specific project as the preferred beneficiary of your gift, you may do so. The writers and projects are:


Book Mentoring Program Prose (Mormon Lit Lab)

Luisa Perkins

Mid-Century Murder is the first novel in a mystery series featuring Annette Van Doren, a 54-year-old recently widowed Latter-day Saint. Through Annette’s employment at a business specializing in historic real estate, each mystery will involve different houses and architectural styles. At the same time, the book will explore how a Mormon woman redefines herself after years when her energy was far more focused on family needs.

Target draft completion date: Fall 2021

Luisa’s Mormon Lit Blitz pieces:

César Fortes

César Fortes has been the most popular Portuguese-language writer in the Mormon Lit Blitz. He is working on a collection of autobiographical short stories featuring Mormon experience in his family and ward in Cape Verde. These slice-of-life stories, at turns humorous and poignant, give a strong sense of place and community while raising important spiritual and social questions.

Target draft completion date: Fall 2021

César’s Mormon Lit Blitz pieces:

William Morris

The Courtship of Elder Cannon is a short literary novel about a recently widowed member of the Seventy and a U of U literature professor who are set up on a blind date in 2009 in the wake of scrutiny over the Church’s involvement in California’s Proposition 8. Told through conversations, journal entries, talks, emails, scriptural commentaries, and so on, the novel explores how Mormon conceptions of grief, eternal marriage, and personal revelation impact Elder Cannon’s relationships with the woman he courts, his family, her family, and his identity as a husband, father, and church leader.

Target draft completion date: Summer 2021

William’s Mormon Lit Blitz pieces:

Gabriel González

El periplo de Melitón González Trejo [The Quest of Melitón González Trejo] is a historical novel steeped in magical realism. Based on the life of the primary translator of the Book of Mormon into Spanish, it recounts his travels from Spain to the Philippines to Utah to Mexico during the second half of the 19th century. As an immigrant and translator himself, the author will explore the sense of gain and loss that comes with immigration and crossing boundaries.

Target draft completion date: Late 2023

Gabriel’s Mormon Lit Blitz pieces:


Marianne Hales Harding

Halfway to Heaven: Poems Crafted in Utah’s Wild Places is a poetic trail guide. Written on hikes in Utah and linked to specific trails, the work lends itself to being read in the space where it was written. Framed by her grandfather’s work as a landscape photographer of Utah’s Grand Circle of National Parks, this book is a tribute to the land and an exploration of how the land has mixed into Mormon consciousness and seeped into our sense of self.

Target draft completion date: Fall 2022

Marianne’s Mormon Lit Blitz pieces:

Jared Forsyth

How does our view of God relate to our views of money? In a collection of poems about money and religion, Jared Forsyth explores individual attitudes and shared financial structures, looking at both our shortcomings and the possibilities we have to exercise discipleship in our own finances and in our society.

Target draft completion date: Spring 2022

Jared’s Mormon Lit Blitz pieces:

Scott Hales

Scott Hales’ Hemingway in Paradise and Other Mormon Poems is a poetry collection about lives and afterlives. Exhibiting the same wry humor and unique Mormon perspective that made his The Garden of Enid: Adventures of a Weird Mormon Girl a beloved webcomic, Hales invites readers to join him at the crossroads of fact and fantasy, memory and invention, and life and death. Hemingway in Paradise is a deep dive into a Latter-day Saint imagination, moving freely from playful engagements with Church history and doctrine to poignant meditations on the everyday incidents and occurrences of Mormon experience.

Target draft completion date: Summer 2021

Scott’s Mormon Lit Blitz pieces:

Selina Forsyth

Selina Forsyth is currently pursuing a PhD in social work. She’s interviewing Latter-day Saint social workers and writing a collection that mixes nonfiction with poetry to explore the principles in Matthew 25:31-46. What insights can social workers give us into Christ’s call to feed the hungry, clothe the naked, and visit the prisoner?

Target draft completion date: End of 2022

Selina’s Mormon Lit Blitz pieces:

Please note that, while we want to help every  project reach completion, the Mormon Lit Lab does not guarantee the success of proposed projects. Funds will be disbursed to writers for use on approved book-related expenses. In the event that a book project stops progressing, we reserve the right to shift its budget to support other projects. Donations are not refundable.