9th Annual Mormon Lit Blitz Finalists and Schedule

On Monday, we announced the long list of 24 semi-finalists in this year’s Mormon Lit Blitz.

A publication schedule of the 12 finalists is as follows:

Monday June 8: “Resurrection by Easter 2020” by Selina Forsyth
Tuesday June 9: “Perfection is a Fullness” by Jeanine Bee
Wednesday June 10: “Orpheus Sings to Mary and Martha” by Emily Harris Adams
Thursday June 11: “Family Tree” by Merrijane Rice
Friday June 12: “Three Generations of Sonder” by Chanel Earl
Saturday June 13: “Airplanes that Crashed: A Book of Mormon Coloring Book” by Jared Forsyth

Monday June 15: “Final Report” by Mattathias Westwood
Tuesday June 16: “Portal Friends” by Annaliese Lemmon
Wednesday June 17: “Part Heaven” by Madison Beckstrand
Thursday June 18: “O Nosso Cao Stromberg” by Cesar Fortes
Friday June 19: “In the Locker Room at the Temple” by Darlene Young
Saturday June 20: “Brother and Sister” by Scott Hales

We hope you’ll join us on this website to read this year’s finalists and vote on your favorites! 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.

9th Annual Mormon Lit Blitz Long List

It’s been a busy spring for us. We’re currently working toward the release of a print and electronic anthology featuring the finalists from the first five years of the Mormon Lit Blitz. We partnered with the Confradia de Letras Mormonas to sponsor a Spanish-language Mormon literature contest. And, of course, from June 8-June 20th, we’ll publish 12 finalists in the 2020 Mormon Lit Blitz.

We are grateful for the members of the Lit Blitz community who have been consistently submitting their pieces since the first contest in 2012, and we welcome all of the new voices who submitted for the first time this year.

Every year after receiving submissions, we review every entry blindly (without author names) and rank them based on literary merit, how the piece will interact with our audience, and originality and/or experimentation. Getting down to 12 finalists is really difficult. As we thoughtfully select pieces that add to the vision of the Mormon Lit Blitz, we traditionally publish a long list of 24 or so pieces that stood out to us before whittling the list down to the 12 finalists.

This year’s long list (alphabetized by author’s last name) includes a wide range of pieces, including poetry and flash fiction, our first-ever coloring book, and even a short play:

“Crematory Services” Emily Harris Adams
“Orpheus Sings to Mary and Martha” Emily Harris Adams
“I’ve never had the pleasure” Madison Beckstrand
“Part Heaven” Madison Beckstrand
“Perfection is a Fullness” Jeanine Bee
“The Dance” Kathy Cowley
“Three Generations of Sonder” Chanel Earl
“Airplanes that Crashed: A Book of Mormon Coloring Book” Jared Forsyth
“Earthquake” Selina Forsyth
“Resurrection by Easter 2020” Selina Forsyth
“O Nosso Cao Stromberg” Cesar Fortes
“Brother and Sister” Scott Hales
“Classifieds: Used Car, High Mileage” Marianne Hales Harding
“Lucky Wounds” Eric Jepson
“Portal Friends” Annaliese Lemmon
“Drowning in the Great Salt Lake” Kristin Perkins
“Perspective” Katherine Gee Perrone
“Author and Finisher” Merrijane Rice
“Family Tree” Merrijane Rice
“Give Me Alice Springs” Jeanna Mason Stay
“Push” Jeanna Mason Stay
“Final Report” Mattathias Westwood
“Gethsemane” Darlene Young
“In the Locker Room at the Temple” Darlene Young

Congratulations to all the semi-finalists! We’ll announce the finalists here on Friday, May 29. 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.

9th Annual Mormon Lit Blitz Call for Submissions

Since 2012, the annual Mormon Lit Blitz contest has encouraged people to use Latter-day Saint ideas, values, beliefs, or imagery in very short stories, essays, poems, or other forms of writing.

We are still accepting submissions for our Spanish-language contest, created in cooperation with the Confradia de Letres Mormonas. We are also now accepting submissions for our regular annual Mormon Lit Blitz contest.


Details: 

Submissions for the Ninth Annual Mormon Lit Blitz writing contest are due by the morning of 18 May 2020 to everydaymormonwriter@gmail.com. Submitted works may be in any genre so long as they are under 1,000 words and designed to resonate in some way with an Latter-day Saint audience. Previously published material and simultaneous submissions are acceptable. Up to three submissions are allowed per author.

Finalists will be posted on the Mormon Artist magazine website (lit.mormonartist.net) in June. At the conclusion of the Lit Blitz, readers will vote for their favorite pieces, and a $100 prize will be given to the audience choice winner.

For updates about the 2020 contest, follow the Mormon Lit Blitz Facebook page.

To facilitate the judging process, we prefer to receive submissions as .doc, .docx, or .pdf attachments with the author’s name and contact information in the body of the email but not included in the attached text. Please email submissions and any questions you may have to everydaymormonwriter@gmail.com.

By submitting, authors give us nonexclusive rights to publish their work electronically. As stated above, previously published work is fine if you still have the rights to the piece and if it meets the above contest requirements.

If you would like to support our efforts to create space for Mormon literary work, please consider making a monthly donation pledge on our Patreon account.

Mormon Lit Blitz Pandemic Reading

Reading recommendations list selected by Mattathias Singh Goldberg Westwood

Meetinghouses and temples all around the world are closed. General conference next week will be attended in person only by the speakers for each given session. These are unusual times for worship around the world, as community leaders try to buy medical professionals some time to understand the novel coronavirus and prepare hospitals to meet needs as well as they can.

Even with meetings canceled, though, this is no time to go on spiritual cruise control. Strange times raise important questions. We may not be able to meet as wards, but we need chances for reflection and worship as much as ever.

At the Mormon Lit Blitz, we’ve been inviting writers to think about Mormon life and possible Mormon futures since 2012. Like the oil in the parable of the ten virgins, we’re finding that past years’ writing has prepared us to process our present situation.

Here are some pieces, organized by topic, you might find it useful to read over the next few weeks.

Imagining the Church Facing Times of Crisis

Several Mormon Lit Blitz finalists have imagined how the Church might face major crises.

In Jonathon Penny’s “A Voice Not Crying In the Wilderness,” a zombie outbreak makes worship more restrained and reflective:
https://lit.mormonartist.net/2014/11/a-voice-not-crying-in-the-wilderness-by-jonathon-penny/

Katherine Cowley’s “Waiting” explores what it means to have life go on when the world is going crazy:
https://lit.mormonartist.net/2016/02/waiting/
Anneke Garcia’s “Oaxaca” asks us to imagine how outside stresses can be catalysts for reflection and growth:
Food
At a time when many of are eating our food storage, fasting for global solutions, or simply shopping for the next things to eat, here are two pieces about food:
Marilyn’s Nielson’s “In Bulk” takes on the shock of shopping for many in a culture where that’s no longer a norm:
https://lit.mormonartist.net/2012/02/day-one-marilyn-nielson/
Wm Morris’s “After the Fast” imagines what it might mean to break a fast after 40 days and nights:
After the Fast https://lit.mormonartist.net/2018/06/after-the-fast-by-wm-morris/

Service and Stress

In times of crises, people are looking for ways to serve. 

Lee Allred’s “Beneath the Visiting Moon” explores isolation and ministering:
Wm Morris’s “The Joys of Onsite Apartment Management” reflects on the mundane nature of most service–and the inspiration that comes with it:
https://lit.mormonartist.net/2015/05/the-joys-of-onsite-apartment-building-management-by-william-morris/
 
Church and Temple
A time when temples and meetinghouses are closed might be the perfect time to reflect on what they mean to us.
Jonathon’s Penny’s “Yahweh: Prologue to the Temple” does the hard work of trying to capture what the temple does in language:

https://lit.mormonartist.net/2014/06/yawheh-prologue-to-the-temple/

Laura Hilton Craner’s “The Primary Temple Trip” works both ward and temple into a single classic short short story:
https://lit.mormonartist.net/2014/06/the-primary-temple-trip/

Kelli Swofford Nielsen’s “The Back Row” points out what we might be missing when we lose the chance to sit in the back of the chapel:
https://lit.mormonartist.net/2016/06/the-back-row-by-kelli-swofford-nielsen/

Social Not-Distancing

Along the same lines, a period of social distancing might be a good time to think about what it’s like to be around a lot of people: 

Cesar Medina Fortes “A Sunday at Laginha” reminisces about spending time with all the neighborhood kids:
Melody Burris’s “Something Practical” is a comic love letter to ward gatherings and their unexpected delights:

https://lit.mormonartist.net/2016/01/something-practical/

For those separated from close loved ones, Merrijane Rice’s “Mother” may feel timely:

Coping with Absurdity
As humans, we respond to the overall feeling of strangeness in a time of disruption as much as to any specific event or concern. We’re all trying to find ways to cope with the absurd.

Wm Morris’s “Last Tuesday” is about strange happenings:
https://lit.mormonartist.net/2016/06/last-tuesday-by-william-morris/

Emily Harris Adams’ “Second Coming” deals with the space between hope and trouble:

https://lit.mormonartist.net/2012/02/day-four-emily-harris-adams/

And finally, Annalisa Lemmon’s “Death, Disability, or other Circumstance” is a story about dealing with disorienting change:
https://lit.mormonartist.net/2015/05/disability-death-or-other-circumstance-by-annaliese-lemmon/

Enjoy the reading! If you’re so inclined, join the legacy by submitting to this year’s Mormon Lit Blitz or by making a monthly donation pledge on our Patreon account.

Book of Mormon Creative Reading List

As we study the Book of Mormon this year, many people will turn to commentaries and scholarly works for additional insight. It’s a good time for those: from the Maxwell Institute’s new 12-part The Book of Mormon: Brief Theological Introductions series to four new Book of Mormon-related titles forthcoming at BCC Press in January alone, there’s plenty of new material to consider.

At the Mormon Lit Lab, of course, we also feel strongly about the power of literature to invite our imaginations into conversation with scripture.

Over the past eight years, a handful of Mormon Lit Blitz finalists have drawn inspiration and imagery from the Book of Mormon. At a glance, we noticed:
“Remnant” by Sarah Dunster
“New Rhythm” by Tanya Hanamaikai
“Daughters of Ishmael” by Annaliese Lemmon
“Rumors of Wars” by Zachary Lunn
“Curelom Riders” by Annaliese Lemmon
“Slippery” by Stephen Carter
“Living Scriptures” by Scott Hales

We’d also encourage you to take time this year to try out a poetry collection or novel inspired by the Book of Mormon. Some options include:
Estampas del Libro de Mormón by Gabriel González Núñez 
Psalm and Selah: A Poetic Journey Through the Book of Mormon by Mark Bennion
The Book of Laman and The Book of Abish by Mettie Ivie Harrison
The Nephiad by Michael R. Collings
“Book of Mormon Story” by James Goldberg (in Out of the Mount: 19 from New Play Project)
Daughters of Jared, Alma the Youngerand Ammon by H. B. Moore
“Gift of the King’s Jeweler” by Steven Peck (in Wandering Realities: Mormonism Short Fiction)

We’d love to take time at different points during the year to share more short works inspired by the Book of Mormon. If you have a poem, short story, or essay under 1,000 words you’d like to share, please submit by email to everydaymormonwriter@gmail.com with “Book of Mormon Lit” in the subject line and we’ll consider it for online publication.

Happy reading–and writing!

-Mormon Lit Lab

2019 Mormon Lit Blitz Winner

As always, we owe thanks to all the writers who submitted to this year’s Mormon Lit Blitz and to the many readers who read the finalists, shared them on social media, and cast votes in the contest. Special thanks go to the core of supporters who have pledged a monthly contribution on the Mormon Lit Lab Patreon page: their support has been vital to our expanding efforts to support writers.

We’ve tallied the votes and the top pieces are:

4. “The Hills of Heaven” by Scott Hales

3. “Paradisiacal Glory” by Katherine Cowley

2. “The Casting Out of Spirits” by Jeanine Bee

and this year’s winner

1. “The Seven Deadly Housewarmers” by Emily Harris Adams

Congratulations!

We hope you’ll join us for next year’s contest and other events. To keep posted on future contests, we encourage you to sign up for our email list.

Voting for the 2019 Mormon Lit Blitz

The time has come to choose the winner of the Mormon Lit Blitz!

Voting Instructions

As per tradition, the audience chooses our annual Mormon Lit Blitz winner. To vote, look through the pieces, choose your favorite four, and email their titles (rather than author to avoid confusion) in ranked order to everydaymormonwriter@gmail.com.

Voting is open from Monday, July 15th until the end of the day on Saturday, July 20th. The winner of the $100 Grand Prize will be announced on Monday, July 22nd.

“Paradisiacal Glory” by Katherine Cowley
“Before the Healing” by Merrijane Rice
“How Do We Make Sense of What Will Be When We Hold Remnants of What Once Was?” by Steven Peck
“Separation” by Mark Penny
“Un dios en quien confiar” (in Spanish and in English translation) by Gabriel González Núñez
“The Casting Out of Spirits” by Jeanine Bee
“The Seven Deadly Housewarmers” by Emily Harris Adams
“The Investigator” by Jeanine Bee
“The Hills of Heaven” by Scott Hales
“As minhas férias na ilha de Santo Antão” (in Portuguese and in English translation) by César Augusto Medina Fortes
“Remnant” by Sarah Dunster
“Low Tide” by Merrijane Rice

Again: in order to be counted, votes must contain a ranking of the reader’s four favorite pieces, listed by title or keyword from title, and must be emailed to everydaymormonwriter@gmail.com by the end of the day Saturday, July 20th. Voters should have at least skimmed all twelve pieces. We also welcome comments and feedback on the contest in vote emails.

Our Patreon

If you are interested in supporting these contests and other Mormon literature initiatives, please visit our Patreon for Mormon Lit Lab.

“Low Tide” by Merrijane Rice

My father is leaving.
He ebbs and flows—
we call him back,
but each time he slips
a little further.
He is tired, he says, impatient
for his journey home.

I urge on him just one more day
and he laughs.
I suppose he wonders, for what?
Is there any good thing he can teach
that he hasn’t lived for my instruction
every other day of thousands?

Perhaps just this:
How to let go without regret,
to suppress love like the moon
that pulls and wills him always
back to shore.

“Remnant” by Sarah Dunster

“Wo unto them that decree unrighteous decrees…”
-2 Nephi 20

You Scythians, you Legrees
of those whose shoes are sopping
from the Aegean, who drive my fair ones
to capsize in the wasteland, who watch
from hills as reunions crowd the
borders, broken;  who leave the
straightforward gifts unspoken who
say you will give but give only in token
grief will descend on you like  

the shutting of the Red Sea.

You who squander the birthright
of the remnant of my people,
who auction the virginity of my
children in exile, who set fire
to canvas steeples, who drive
women as cattle and men as
soldiers in a forced battle
you will be blown, lukewarm, from
the vein of Him who knows the grains  

on each pair of drowned feet.

You who have seen my gospel and yet
deny succor to the stricken, who dole
soured law and call it remedy, who have
let my flocks be trampled because
you say freedom is not free, you who
draw out the blood of  the bitten; You.
Who bear the vessels of the Lord yet
deny what is written You who
take crusts from the stricken—
On the day you shed your garment,
what color shall your issue be?

I will send him, says He who made them–
Send Him, a rod of indignation…
I will send him against the wiles of
a hypocrite nation.