10th 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. An anthology of contest finalists over the contest’s first five years is available here. We are now accepting submission for our tenth annual contest. 

Submission details: 

Submissions for the Tenth Annual Mormon Lit Blitz writing contest are due on 30 April 2021 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 a 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. All finalists will later be published in a print anthology, and their authors will become eligible for our new book development program.

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.

As a writer, you retain the right to republish your piece in your own collections or other venues. By submitting, authors give us nonexclusive rights to publish their work electronically and in a future print anthology (with an anthology copy as payment). 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.

Stay in touch: 

For updates about the 2021 contest and other Mormon Lit Lab news, follow the Mormon Lit Blitz Facebook page or sign up for our email list.

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.

Thank you for your interest in Mormon Literature!

Giving Birth to Books: A Call for Proposals

In Nauvoo, women like Ann Carling, Vienna Jacques, and Patty Bartlett Sessions were called to an important work: serving as midwives for the Latter-day Saints gathering from different backgrounds to build new communities and a new identity together. As the Saints crossed the Plains and settled in the West, midwives and others cared for the needs of Zion’s mothers and regularly met in council to discuss women’s and maternal health. Though many converts had left networks of family and community to settle among the Saints, pioneer women were not alone in the work of giving birth.

At the Mormon Lit Lab, we take inspiration from our forebears in the faith. Though a book hardly has the same value as a baby, we recognize that opportunities for support and counsel and ease any creative process. Over the past nine years, we’ve created opportunities for dozens writers to create short work that reflects their identity as Latter-day Saints or plays with Mormon themes and heritage in some way through the Mormon Lit Blitz contest. We’ve connected contest finalists with thousands of readers, who have seen new possibilities for Mormon literature in their work. At the release party for The Mormon Lit Blitz: The First Five Years, we made an announcement about a next step in our group’s work as literary midwives. We are launching a new program to support past Mormon Lit Blitz finalists who want to develop a book.  

Our literary midwife program will consist of three main elements:
1. Each accepted writer will attend a group orientation and get a one-on-one follow up planning session with an experienced Mormon Lit Lab advisor, culminating in approval of a process and budget plan.
2. We will match writers with a sponsor or sponsors who provide a small budget, typically up to $1000, to cover costs associated with the book’s production and promotion. Grants will be dispersed in stages, according to the pre-approved plan.
3. We will hold a series of online council meetings to provide guidance on different elements of writing, publishing, and promotion. Attendance at each will be optional, based on writers’ plan and sense of their own needs.

Writers interested in publishing under the Mormon Lit Lab brand (along with our test crop of Grace Like WaterSong of Names, and the Mormon Lit Blitz anthology) will have that option at the end of the development process. Publishing with us is not, however, a requirement. Writers who are accepted into a given year’s development class retain all rights to their work and are free to submit their book to other publishers. Our interest is helping books come into being.  

Through March 31, 2021, we will be accepting book proposals to be considered for inclusion in our inaugural development class. Only past finalists from a contest sponsored by the Mormon Lit Lab are eligible to apply. Book proposals should consist of brief responses to the following four prompts:
1. Tell us about the book you’d like to write.
2. What does this book offer to Latter-day Saint readers or others interested in Mormon ideas, imagery, and experience?
3. What parts of the writing, publication, or promotion process are you most interested in getting help with?
4. What is your anticipated timeline for completing the manuscript?
If they have already started a manuscript, writers may also attach a sample. 

If you are interested in making a small contribution to support our general book development efforts, you can make a monthly contribution on our Patreon account or send a one-time donation by PayPal to everydaymormonwriter@gmail.com. If you are interested in making a larger contribution and would like the chance to be matched to a project you feel strongly about, please reach out to us via email or Facebook message

Anthology Online Release Party

If you haven’t already seen, we wanted to share the good news. Our Kickstarter ended today, after funding early–and passing both of our stretch goals!

We plan to start shipping the books from the printer in the next couple days, to both contributors and Kickstarter backers. For those in the U.S., at least, books should arrive before Christmas. Fingers crossed for the rest…though it might be Three Kings’ Day.

In the meantime, we really wish there were a way for us to gather writers and readers together from the many cities, countries, and continents in which you live into one physical room to celebrate, but the constraints of space and a pandemic make that impossible.

A Zoom call is hardly the same, but we’d love to see your faces, hear a sample reading to represent each of the seven contests in the book, and take time for your questions and comments. We’ll be gathering virtually at 7 pm MST on Thursday, December 10. We’re asking people to RSVP: you can pick up the call link on the RSVP form. (The form even has a “maybe” button, so if you might be able to attend, still RSVP.)

Look forward to seeing some of you, sharing with you, and hopefully hearing a little about your favorite Lit Blitz pieces or memories!

-Nicole and James Goldberg, Mormon Lit Blitz editors

Anthology Kickstarter!

Yesterday, we launched a Kickstarter campaign for the anthology of finalists from the first five years of the Mormon Lit Blitz and related themed contests. Eric Jepson, who has work in the book, reminded me today to put up a post here. Between the time I started and the time I went to copy the link, the campaign reached its funding goal!

That means you can now pre-order a copy knowing we’ll be sending it out in early December. You can also help us reach our first stretch goal: funding enough to get started on a second anthology next year, covering 2017-2021.

Thank you to everyone who contributed. It means a lot to us to know these stories will be finding a good home on your shelves. We’ve loved all the work that’s come out of the contest and are glad to have it in print. These pieces stand the test of time.

Palabras de Mormón contest winners in El Pregonero de Deseret

This summer, we published English translations alongside original Spanish texts for the top three stories in the Palabras de Mormón contest, which we co-sponsored with the Cofradía de Letras Mormonas. All the winners, including several unpublished honorable mentions, were just released in the beautifully designed fall issue of El Pregonero de Deseret.  Take a look!

2020 Mormon Lit Blitz Winners: Audience Choice and Judge’s Choice

This year’s contest will stand out in our memories. The year when the Church marked the 200th anniversary of the First Vision has turned out to be one where we also wrestle more than usual with the weight of mortality. By the time the call for entries went up, we were well into a pandemic with a high death toll and no end in sight. Between the writing and the contest itself, racist violence in the United States drew sustained international attention to the cause of racial justice. There was a lot for readers to reflect on as they read the finalists.

And this year, many of the finalists in the contest spoke to the things we were thinking about: sickness and death, closed temples and quiet moments, Joseph Smith and the Book of Mormon, Black experience and our call to discipleship across difference.

Thanks to support from our patrons, we’ll be awarding two prizes this year. There will be a $100 prize for the 1st place winner of the Audience Choice Award, and an additional $100 prize for the winner of the Judge’s Choice Award.

Audience Choice Award

We had over 300 people vote in the contest. Every single finalist had many voters choose it as their first, second, third, fourth place choices. With some help from Excel, we’ve tabulated people’s preferences.

The four audience favorite finalists this year were:

4th place: “Perfection is a Fullness” by Jeanine Bee

3rd place: “Part Heaven” by Madison Beckstrand

2nd place: “In the Locker Room at the Temple” by Darlene Young


and for 1st place, an essay from Cape Verde:

O Nosso Cão Stromberg” (“Our Dog Stromberg“) by César Augusto Medina Fortes

Spotlight on César:

César Augusto Medina Fortes was born in the city of Mindelo, on São Vicente island in Cape Verde. He graduated as a teacher with a degree in comprehensive basic education from the Pedagogical Institute of Mindelo, and a degree in educational sciences and praxis from Jean Piaget de Mindelo University; he did postgraduate work in youth and adult education at the Federal University of Paraíba, Brazil; he also holds a Masters in Pedagogical Supervision and Evaluation from the University of Cape Verde (UNICV).

He was a primary school teacher for nine years, taught secondary education for seven years, and since 2017 he had been a coordinator for social action for the Ministry of Education in São Vicente. He has enjoyed writing since high school, and one of his favorite hobbies is writing the stories of his family.

The bio in Portuguese:

César Augusto Medina Fortes Natural da cidade de Mindelo, ilha de São Vicente, Cabo Verde. Formado como professor de Educação Básica Integral pelo Instituto Pedagógico de Mindelo, Licenciado em Ciências da Educação e Práxis Educativa pela Universalidade Jean Piaget de Mindelo; pós-graduado em Educação de Jovens e Adultos pela Universidade Federal de Paraíba, Brasil; mestrando em Supervisão Pedagógica e Avaliação pela Universidade de Cabo Verde (UNICV). Foi professor do Ensino Primário durante nove anos, lecionou por sete anos no Ensino Secundário e desde 2017 é coordenador de ação social na delegação do Ministério de Educação em São Vicente. Gosta de escrever desde o tempo que andaandava no liceu. Um dos meus passatempos preferido é escrever a história da nossa família.

Judge’s Choice Award

This year, we invited Katherine Cowley to select the recipient of the Judge’s Choice award. Katherine Cowley is a past winner of the Mormon Lit Blitz and of Segullah’s annual writing contest. She is currently leading the team creating an anthology of the first five years of finalists in the Mormon Lit Blitz. Her debut novel, The Secret Life of Miss Mary Bennet, will be released in Spring 2021.

The Judge’s Choice Award goes to:

Part Heaven” by Madison Beckstrand

The following is a brief citation that Katherine Cowley provided for the award:

Madison Beckstrand’s poem, “Part Heaven,” is both brilliantly written and timely. The poem takes a simple moment–a black woman having her hair done by her mother–and uses this moment to expand our understanding of history, culture, race, family, sacred ordinances, and the very nature of God. The poem does not shy from struggle, and addresses the black pain not just experienced in broader society, but in our religious communities (“Divine wrath smells like chemical straighteners–stings like compliments from strangers”). Intrinsic in this experience is the weight of memory, and “the many that bled…for the future.” The imagery of blood has extra significance in light of the current worldwide protests over the killing of George Floyd and the treatment of blacks in the United States and worldwide. The poem also explores the importance of physical moments: touch is used to minister to others as the Savior did, to perform sacred ordinances, to give blessings, and to style hair. The final stanza paints a beautiful picture of divinity, and the way that the act of having a mother do your hair can be a window to understanding the nature of God.

Spotlight on Madison Beckstrand:

Madison Beckstrand is a writer and university student majoring in English Education. She loves writing, sewing, creating, and uses her talents to connect with her family and community. Madison is involved with her local chapter of Black Lives Matter, The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-Day Saints’ Genesis group, and the Humanity Sews project. She plans to write much more and is only encouraged by everyone’s support.


Please join us in congratulating César Augusto Medina Fortes and Madison Beckstrand on their awards in this year’s contest.

We hope you’ll join us in August to read the top three finalists in the Spanish-language “Palabras de Mormon” contest, co-sponsored by the Cofradía de Letras Mormonas and the Mormon Lit Lab. And stayed tuned for updates on our forthcoming anthology and future publishing projects.

-Nicole and James Goldberg, Editors

2020 Mormon Lit Blitz Voting

Voting Instructions

Time to vote in the 2020 Mormon Lit Blitz!

To vote, take a look at each of the twelve (very short) finalists and rank your top four in the form below by the end of the day on Saturday, June 26th. You must enter four ranked favorites in order to submit a vote. We’ll announce the winner on Monday, June 29th.

The finalists are:

Resurrection by Easter 2020” by Selina Forsyth
Perfection is a Fullness” by Jeanine Bee
Orpheus Sings to Mary and Martha” by Emily Harris Adams
Family Tree” by Merrijane Rice
Three Generations of Sonder” by Chanel Earl
Airplanes that Crashed: A Book of Mormon Coloring Book” by Jared Forsyth
Final Report” by Mattathias Westwood
Portal Friends” by Annaliese Lemmon
Part Heaven” by Madison Beckstrand
O Nosso Cão Stromberg” (“Our Dog Stromberg“) by César Augusto Medina Fortes
In the Locker Room at the Temple” by Darlene Young
Brother and Sister” by Scott Hales


While you’re here, you might be interested in some updates:

Palabras de Mormon Contest Winners

This year, we also supported the Cofradía de Letras Mormonas in running a Spanish-language contest for Mormon Literature. Winners will appear in the July issue of their periodical, El Pregonero de Deseret. English translations of the top three pieces will be published on this website in August.

Mormon Lit Blitz Anthology

Thanks to encouragement from our patrons, we’ve also been working on a print and ebook anthology of finalists from the Mormon Lit Blitz and related contests (Four Centuries of Mormon Stories, Meeting of the Myths) from the contest’s first five years. We anticipate launching a Kickstarter later this summer as we prepare for print. Stay tuned for details.

New Program for Alumni

Finally, we’ve been working on a program to support past Mormon Lit Blitz finalist writers who are interested in developing a book-length work for publication. Details are forthcoming, but if you’ve been a finalist in any of our contests, this is advance notice that we’ll be inviting people to submit book proposals this fall.

Congratulations once again to all this year’s finalists. If you’re interested in additional updates, you can follow us on Facebook or sign up for our email list.

“In the Locker Room at the Temple” by Darlene Young

First, in goes the coat
and her oldest’s failure to get a job.
With the black shoes go
her husband’s sarcasm this morning;
with her scarf goes her own.
The blouse carries the lesson
she hasn’t prepared,
the dirty bathroom tile,
and the dying tree in the backyard.
Her teenager’s refusal to get up
and all of those tardies
hang from her skirt like tassels.
gathered in the folds of her half-slip
with tentacles like clammy drier lint:
all the ways she is a terrible mother.

Her white stockings, hope
that there is another page,
another day, a horizon somewhere,
stay on her calves, enduring.

She stands a moment, shivering.

silky slip washing down her
like good enough.
Dress of standing straight
and facing forward.
Slippers of small things,
little graces, daily manna
that can’t be hoarded
but can be found
unlooked for,
just in time.
She takes up her packet of
God’s daughter
and steps out into the light.

“O Nosso Cão Stromberg” by César Augusto Medina Fortes

Read the English translation here.

“O Nosso Cão Stromberg”

by César Augusto Medina Fortes

Eu desde sempre gostei de cães. Em 1983, meu tio João Miranda chegou em casa com um cão da raça “Dogue Alemão”. Um cão alto, forte, bonito mas muito desajeitado. Era preciso arranjá-lo um nome. Foi aí que o tio Miranda, um grande adepto do Benfica, se lembrou de colocá-lo o nome de “Stromberg” em homenagem ao grande jogador sueco, o Glenn Stromberg, que tinha acabado de chegar ao Benfica F.C. e que tinha dado muitas alegrias ao clube naquela época. Stromberg, o jogador, também era forte, loiro e alto, daí o nome cair como uma luva ao cão. O cão, Stromberg, também dava muita alegria para mim e para o meu primo Sílvio, filho de tio Miranda e da minha tia Rosa.

Lembro-me que o tio Miranda certo dia nos disse:

– “Stromberg só fica aqui em casa se vocês se comprometerem a cuidar dele, de dá-lo de comer, de beber e limpar o terraço, quando ele fizer as suas necessidades.”

É claro que ele ouviu um duplo “sim” da nossa parte. Até acrescentamos mais:

– “Comprometemos em dá-lo banho na praia da Laginha todos os domingos, não se preocupe”. E isso, já na nossa esperteza de irmos para o mar a cada domingo sem ser fiscalizados pelos adultos.

Íamos com o cão para todos os sítios. Stromberg era o nosso fiel companheiro e guarda. Ninguém ousava meter-se connosco porque estalávamos o cão para cima dele. Sentíamos seguros ao lado do Stromberg. Quem via o cão grande e forte a ladrar, fugia logo de medo. Só não sabiam, que por trás daquele cão enorme e forte, existia uma alma doce, gentil e brincalhão. Não me lembro se alguma vez, o Stromberg tenha mordido alguém. E assim Stromberg foi crescendo connosco.

Mas os anos foram passando e o Stromberg envelheceu. E num triste dia, o tio Miranda deu-nos uma notícia que não queríamos ouvir. Ele nos comunicou que iria mandar abater o Stromberg porque já não queria vê-lo a sofrer até a morte, e se ele tivesse que morrer que fosse longe de casa. Além do mais ele andava a comer algumas galinhas que ele criava no terraço. Nós imploramos, choramos muito para que ele não fizesse tamanha maldade ao Stromberg, mas ele foi irredutível. Numa sexta-feira de manhã, ele mandou chamar o Leandro, que era um senhor, que quando alguém tinha um serviço sujo para fazer, ele estava sempre disposto á fazê-lo em troca de 50$00 ou de um copo de “grogue”. Ele era conhecido como “Leandro matá-cahorro”.

O nome já dizia para o que ele vinha. E assim foi. Meu tio pagou-lhe antecipadamente e ele lá levou o Stromberg, com uma corda ao pescoço, arrastando o coitado do cão para o corredor da morte.

Ele saiu e nós as crianças chorando, fomos atrás dele, pedindo que por favor não matasse o cão, mas ele não nos deu ouvidos. Ficamos nos degraus junto ao portão, vendo o Stromberg sendo levado pelo Leandro que iria enforcá-lo, lá pelos lados da Ribeira de Julião, certamente numa acácia espinheira.

Quando dobraram a última esquina de Ilha de Madeira em direção á ribeira, desconsolados, entramos para casa. Nós, as crianças, ainda com um nó na garganta dissemos para o tio Miranda:

– “Bossê é mau!” E fugimos para o terraço para chorar o nosso cão.

Naquela tarde, eu e o Sílvio fomos para a escola tristes.

A noite, quando cheguei em casa, jantei e fui dormir cedo. Durante a noite eu tive um sonho. No meu sonho, vi Stromberg a caminhar sem energia, vindo na mesma rua que o vimos pela última vez, só que desta vez, ele estava voltando para casa. Parecia cansado, fraco, com fome e com sede e ainda com uma corda ao pescoço. Quando acordei de manhã, contei o sonho para o meu fiel amigo e primo, Sílvio.

No sábado de manhã, ficamos a ver para o fim da rua de “Nhá Tanha d’aga doce”(uma senhora que tinha uma fonte e vendia água), na esperança que o meu sonho se concretizasse mas, nada de Stromberg. No domingo, levantamos bem cedo e mais uma vez, antes de irmos á igreja, fomos para a porta, esperando ver o Stromberg. Nós tínhamos esta esperança porque sabíamos que o Stromberg era forte o suficiente para fazer aquilo. Estava um lindo dia e o sol começou a lançar os seus primeiros raios.

Um domingo ideal para ir à praia da Laginha mas, sem o nosso cão, já não seria a mesma coisa. Mas tal foi o nosso espanto, quando vimos o Stromberg aparecendo exatamente na esquina que o vi, no meu sonho. Vinha cansado, sujo, magro e com a corda com que o Leandro o tinha enforcado. Certamente, o Leandro o içou numa árvore, mas não o esperou morrer. Stromberg mordeu a corda e fugiu. Corremos ao encontro do nosso querido cão que tinha escapado da morte. Ele já sem forças, perto de nós, lambeu-nos a face e caiu de cansaço e de felicidade. Carreguei-o no colo até ao terraço da casa da minha tia Rosa. Demos-lhe comida e água e ele foi dormir como um guerreiro que depois de ter lutado pela vida, durante três dias de caminhada, desde da Ribeira de Julião, conseguiu chegar ao seu castelo, em Ribeira Bote, rua 10, onde nós, os seus queridos amigos, o recebemos com muita pompa, pois ele merecia.

A nossa alegria maior, foi quando o tio Miranda chegou em casa e viu o Stromberg e logo disse:

-“ Caramba pá, o Leandro não serve nem para matar um cão. Mas já que ele conseguiu escapar da morte e andar durante três dias até encontrar o caminho de casa, é um sinal de Deus, portanto, o stromberg fica aqui até o fim dos seus dias.” Nós explodimos de alegria, gritando: “Stromberg, Stromberg, Stromberg”. E assim, Stromberg continuou connosco por muitos e felizes anos de vida.

O cão sem dúvida, é um dos melhores amigos das crianças.