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.

Two Weeks Left to Submit!

Reminder: 

Submissions for the Eighth Annual Mormon Lit Blitz Writing Contest are due by 31 May 2019 to everydaymormonwriter@gmail.com (*UPDATE* We’ve added a weekend grace period and will consider anything submitted by the end of the day on Monday, 3 June). 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) starting in July. 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 2019 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 the one-time 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.

Past Finalists: 

Interested in this contest? Take a look at past years’ finalists to get a taste of what we’ve featured:

We look forward to reading your entries!

7th Annual Mormon Lit Blitz: Call for Submissions

Mormon culture gets a bad rap. Many outside observers tend to assume we’re too golly-darn nice to produce any great writers, artists, etc. Within the Church, “Mormon culture” often becomes the scapegoat for anything that annoys us, rather than a term for our traditions, values, history, and the creative works that explore them. As a result, relatively few people are looking for the gems that already exist in Mormon literature. Worse yet: very few people are working to develop the next generation of thoughtful and engaging Mormon writers.

In 2012, James Goldberg, Scott Hales, and Nicole Wilkes Goldberg organized the first annual Mormon Lit Blitz as a small and simple way to address these problems. By focusing on very short work, the contest allows skeptical readers an accessible way to look for Mormon literary voices they like. It also allows writers the chance to try out something new in a length that is manageable.

Since its inception, the Mormon Lit Blitz has been the world’s premier contest for Mormon Micro-Literature. As we enter our seventh year, we hope you’ll join our ongoing effort to see and show what writing for Mormon audiences can accomplish.

Details: 

Submissions for The Seventh Annual Mormon Lit Blitz Writing Contest are due by 1 May 2018 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 LDS audience. Previously published material and simultaneous submissions are acceptable. Up to three submissions are allowed per entrant.

Finalists will be posted on the Mormon Artist magazine website (lit.mormonartist.net) starting in late May. This year, they will compete for two prizes. 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. A writer or literary critic will also choose a judge’s choice winner for a second $100 prize.

For updates about the 2018 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 the one-time 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.

Past Finalists: 

Interested in this contest? Take a look at past years’ finalists to get a taste of what we’ve featured:

We look forward to reading your entries!

2017 Mormon Lit Blitz Call for Submissions

The Mormon Lit Blitz is the world’s premier contest for Mormon Micro-Literature. Held annually, the contest gives writers and audiences a chance to see what can be achieved in Mormon flash fiction, poetry, short essays, and so on.

Submissions for The Sixth Annual Mormon Lit Blitz Writing Contest are due by 7 May 2017 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 LDS audience. Previously published material and simultaneous submissions are acceptable. Up to three submissions are allowed per entrant.

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

For updates about the 2017 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 the one-time 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.

Here are links that will get you to previous years’ finalists:

We look forward to reading your entries!