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.


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:

Katherine Cowley’s “Waiting” explores what it means to have life go on when the world is going crazy:
Anneke Garcia’s “Oaxaca” asks us to imagine how outside stresses can be catalysts for reflection and growth:
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:
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:
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:


Laura Hilton Craner’s “The Primary Temple Trip” works both ward and temple into a single classic short short story:

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:

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:


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:

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


And finally, Annalisa Lemmon’s “Death, Disability, or other Circumstance” is a story about dealing with disorienting change:

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


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.

“My Vacation on the Island of Santo Antão” by César Augusto Medina Fortes

Translated by Katherine Cowley. Read the original Portuguese version here

School ended on the tenth day of June. This brought us much happiness, for our vacation had officially begun. Our destination was Santo Antão.

We left our house very early, and we went to the docks of São Vicente. We caught master Custódio’s taxi, a Mercedes-Benz, white, with a little plastic dog on the dashboard that shook his head with the movement of the car. The car was brand new. Every newlywed couple requested it as their ride. As you can imagine, I was very happy to ride in the best-looking car on the island. During the trip to the docks, I could not sit still, watching as Mr. Custódio spun the wheel and took the turns. It was something incredible.

When we arrived at Porto Grande, a crowd waited in line to enter the ferry boat to Porto Novo. The sea was a little rough. Even so, there we went. The “ferry boat” was famous for making even the suitcases sick. There were people who became nauseous simply from hearing the name of the ship, and this was the case for Ti Jona. The boat rose and fell on the waves, and we weren’t certain it would return to the surface again. People were shouting, “There are no trees in the sea! There is nothing to hold onto, nothing for us to climb when the ship sinks!”

But we children were excited to arrive on Santo Antão. After an hour of turbulent travel, we arrived. The docks at Porto Novo had a hellish heat and there was nowhere to hide from the scorching sun. There were so many people that it created quite a bustle. Some were leaving and others were preparing to enter the boat in the direction of São Vicente. The docks were small for so many people and so many cars. Holding tight to our luggage, we walked in the direction of the truck that would take us to Chã de Igreja. A 1958 Bedford, of a green color, belonging to master Cuca, was already waiting for us. There we began the car trip that would last some three hours. On the docks, we saw people selling “sucrinha”—little milk candies—in the shape of a cone, as well as quince, apple, cheese, and many other traditional items from the island. The fumes from the truck threatened to make us sick once again. The adults sat in the seats and us kids sat in the truck bed with our suitcases. We left the docks, taking the turn to the main road.

We began the ascent to the Corda region.

As soon as we reached the Delgadinho mountain ridge, silence immediately overtook everyone in the truck. In that place we feared the cliffs on both sides of the road. We closed our eyes and we only breathed after we had traversed the most dangerous section. As we went through a brook, Old Bedford drove slowly, for he had to pass over rocks; it would be a long time before we reached Chã de Igreja.

Chã de Igreja is a small and beautiful village, which appears like a city in miniature. It is a land of polite people, with clean and orderly streets, a lot of sugar cane growing all around, high coconut trees, and the smell of mango everywhere. In the center of the village is a beautiful church, which gives its name to the village of Chã de Igreja.

We arrived at the house of my grandmother Ludovina, who we sometimes called “Vinha” or “Vine.” All of our family members came out to greet us and to help with the suitcases. Fátima was combing the hair of “Ti Tuda.” It was a happiness that encompasses everything. We hugged everyone. It seemed that our entire family was in Chã de Igreja. Our breakfast had fried cassava, mint tea, cachupa stew, and omelets. The smell was irresistible.

My grandmother’s house had many animals. On the next day, early in the morning, I picked up a brass mug and called over my oldest cousin, Aldevino, and asked him for a special favor. “Aldevino, could you please bring me a little bit of the donkey’s milk?”

As one of the “boys of Soncente” and in my holy ignorance, I thought that all the animals gave milk, even the donkey. But off went Aldevino and he returned with a mug full of milk. I drank the milk until all I was left with was a foam mustache. Our vacation was beginning in the best way.

Months passed, and October drew to a close. Vacations were over. It was time to return to São Vicente. On the eve of our departure, we stayed up late, talking about what a wonderful vacation we had had. The next day, our friends from Chã de Igreja came to send us off. When the car was about to round the corner, we turned to face what we had left, and with lumps in our throats and our eyes close to tears, and our hands raised high, we said goodbye to our grandma Ludovina, our beloved “Vine.” With a sad face, she waved to us until the car disappeared down the street.

Inside the truck the smoke fumes were intense. After a few minutes on the road, we fell asleep. When we arrived at the docks of Porto Novo, the heat made it seem as if the ground had caught fire. There was a mess all over the dock with negotiations over a shipment of vegetables. We realized that we were to go on the same boat as before, and we began to feel sick. Some of us even threw up, yet even still we were thrilled to return to São Vicente after such a great vacation.

What I did not know was that my mother had taken us on this “marvelous vacation” with the intention of abandoning us with our grandmother and then moving to Italy, because life on São Vicente was not easy. Many years later, she told us the whole story, explaining that she gave up her trip because during the day we laughed with joy, and at night, she shed tears of sadness at having to leave her children behind, to be raised by other people. She had already purchased the ticket for the journey, but she felt compassion for us and did not travel. She set aside her dream of a better life for both the harsh realities and the joys of living with her children. I believe that she did not regret the decision she made that day. Even now, we still thank our mother for this wise decision.

That was the best vacation of our childhood.

“As minhas férias na ilha de Santo Antão,” César Augusto Medina Fortes

Read the English translation here

As aulas terminaram no dia 10 de Junho. E para a nossa alegria, as férias tinham começado. Santo Antão seria o nosso destino.

Saímos de casa bem cedinho, e fomos para o cais de São Vicente. Apanhamos o táxi de nhô Custódio, um Mercedes-Benz, branco, com um cãozinho de plástico no tablier, que mexia cabeça à medida que o carro andava. Era novinho em folha. Todos solicitavam para transportar os noivos. Como podem imaginar, eu estava muito feliz por andar no carro mais bonito da ilha. Durante o trajeto para o caís, eu não parava quieto, observando como nhô Custódio girava o volante e trocava a mudança. Era algo admirável.

Quando chegamos no Porto Grande, tinha uma multidão esperando na fila para entrar no ferry boat “Porto Novo”. O mar estava um pouco revolto. Mesmo assim lá fomos nós. O “ferry boat”, tinha fama que fazia enjoar até as malas. Tinha gente, que só de ouvir o nome do barco já ficava enjoada, como é o caso da Ti Jona. O barco subia e descia as ondas, sem termos certeza se voltava para a superfície outra vez. Pessoas gritavam: “Mar não tem árvores, vamos afundar.”

Mas nós crianças, estávamos animadas para chegar à Santo Antão. Depois de uma hora de viagem turbulenta, chegamos em Santo Antão. O cais de Porto Novo tinha um calor infernal e não tinha nenhum sítio para se esconder do sol abrasador. Era tanta gente que a azáfama era grande. Uns descendo e outros preparavam-se para entrar no barco em direção à São Vicente. O cais era pequeno para tanta gente e tantos carros. Segurando as nossas tralhas, caminhamos em direção ao camião que nos levaria à Chã de Igreja. O Bedford de 1958, de cor verde, que pertencia à nhe Cuca, já estava a nossa espera. Lá iniciamos a viagem de carro que demoraria umas três horas. No cais, víamos pessoas a vender “sucrinha” em forma de cone, marmelo, maçã, queijo e muitas outras coisas tradicionais da ilha. O carro fazia muito fumo que prometia fazer-nos enjoar mais uma vez. Os adultos sentaram nas cadeiras e nós, as crianças sentámos no fundo da caixa, juntamente com as malas. Saímos do cais, fizemos a curva e entramos na estrada principal.

Iniciamos a subida para a zona de Corda.

Chegámos na zona de Delgadinho e de repente o silêncio tomou conta do camião. O lugar mete medo com os precipícios dos dois lados da estrada. Fechamos os olhos e só respiramos depois de termos atravessado aquela parte perigosa da estrada. Na ribeira, o velho Bedford, ia devagar, pois andava em cima de pedregulhos e iria demorar até chegar em Chã de Igreja.

Chã de Igreja é uma pequena e bela vila, mas que parece uma cidade em miniatura. Terra de pessoas educadas, com ruas limpas e organizadas, com muita cana à volta, altos coqueiros, com um cheiro de manga por todo o lado. No centro da vila existe uma bonita igreja, a qual dá o nome à vila de Chã da Igreja.

Chegámos na casa da minha avó Ludovina “Vinha”. Todos os nossos familiares saíram para cumprimentar-nos e ajudar com as malas. A Fátima estava a pentear o cabelo da “Ti Tuda”. Era uma alegria total. Abraçamos toda a gente. Parecia que a nossa família inteira estava em Chã de Igreja. O pequeno-almoço tinha mandioca frita, chá de hortelã, cachupa guisada e omeletes. O cheiro era irresistível.

A casa da minha avozinha tinha muitos animais. No dia seguinte, de manhã cedo, apanhei uma caneca de latão e chamei o Aldevino, meu primo mais velho e pedi-lhe um favor especial:

– “Ó Aldevino, bô podia trazeme um bocadim de leite de burro, de favor?”

Eu, como “boys de Soncente” e na minha santa ignorância, pensava que todos os animais davam leite, até o burro. Mas lá foi o Aldevino e voltando com a caneca cheia de leite. Bebi o leite todo e até fiquei com um bigode de espuma. As férias estavam a começar da melhor forma.

O mês de Outubro chegou ao fim. As férias terminaram. Era tempo de voltar para São Vicente. E nós, na véspera da partida, ficamos até tarde, a falar das maravilhosas férias que tivemos. No dia seguinte, amigos de Chã de Igreja foram nos despedir. Quando o carro já ia dobrar a esquina, voltamos a cara para trás, com um nó na garganta e quase chorando, com a mão bem alto, fizemos adeus para a nossa avó Ludovina, a nossa querida “Vinha”. Ela, com uma cara triste, ficou a acenar-nos até o carro desaparecer no fim da rua.

Dentro do caminhão o cheiro do fumo era intenso. Já com alguns minutos na estrada, começamos a dormir. Quando chegamos no cais do Porto Novo, tinha um calor que parecia que o chão estava pegando fogo. Era uma confusão em cima do cais com o negócio de verduras. E lembrar que íamos no mesmo barco, começávamos a ficar enjoados. Podíamos até vomitar, mas estávamos muito felizes a caminho de São Vicente depois de termos passado umas boas férias.

Só não sabia eu, que a minha mãe nos tinha levado para essas “maravilhosas férias” com o intuito de deixar-nos com a nossa avó e depois partir para a Itália, porque a vida em São Vicente não estava fácil. Anos mais tarde, ela contou-nos toda a história, explicando que desistiu da viagem porque, enquanto de dia, nós ríamos de alegria, ela, à noite, chorava de tristeza de ter que deixar os filhos para trás, para serem criados por outras pessoas. Ela já tinha até o bilhete de passagem comprado, mas sentiu pena de nós e não viajou. Deixou o sonho de ter uma vida melhor para ter a realidade e a alegria de viver com os filhos. Creio que ela não se arrependeu da decisão que tomou naquele dia. Nós agradecemos a nossa mãe por esta sábia decisão até hoje.

Foram as melhores férias da nossa infância.