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.
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.