2021 Mormon Lit Blitz Voting Results

We really enjoyed this year’s Mormon Lit Blitz–and are looking forward to compiling all the finalists in a second print anthology next year. Votes for our audience choice prize are in an we’re pleased to announce the results:

3rd place (tie):
Not of Necessity” by Jeanine Bee
Sacrament in Solitude” by Marianne Hales Harding

2nd place:
Final Exam” by Jared Forsyth

1st place:
Unfit Mother of the Year” by Susan Law Corpany

Congratulation to the winners! Thanks, as well, to all of you who support the contest by reading and voting each year.

Stay tuned over the next two weeks as we spotlight the different writers involved in our book mentoring program. We hope you’ll also consider entering our fall “Saints, Spells, and Spaceships” speculative fiction contest.

Mormon Lit Blitz Voting Instructions

It’s that time of year again–just a week left 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 and choose your favorite four. Then cast your vote here.

The finalists are:
116 Pages” by Merrijane Rice
Unfit Mother of the Year” by Susan Law Corpany
Final Exam” by Jared Forsyth
Reformed Egyptian” by Lee Allred
Oh, a Dove” by Aiko Tokuzawa
We Must Overcome” by Jonathon Penny
The Lord’s Multiform Prayer” by Gabriel González Núñez
Not of Necessity” by Jeanine Bee
Golden Plate Controversy Erupts with ‘Mormon Storm’” by Devin Galloway
Weight of Souls” by Selina Forsyth
Sacrament in Solitude” by Marianne Hales Harding
Perspective” by Jonathon Penny

Voting is open from Monday, June 14th until the end of the day on Saturday, June 19th. The winner of the $100 Grand Prize will be announced on Monday, June 21st.

We’ll also select one voter at random to win a copy of our anthology, Mormon Lit Blitz: The First Five Years

Next Contest

This fall, past Mormon Lit Blitz finalist Jeanna Mason Stay will be guest-editing a special contest, “Saints, Spells, and Spaceships,” for speculative flash fiction with a compelling Mormon angle. See the complete rules here.

Book Mentoring Project

We love what people do with 1,000 words. If you enjoy the kind of literature you’ve read in the Mormon Lit Blitz, though, we hope you’ll also consider donating $5, $10, or $20 to support the eight authors currently in our book mentoring program.

 

“We Must Overcome” by Jonathon Penny

"We Must Overcome"

our ignorance of otherness;
our cocksure, credulous belief
that what we know is true,
though what we know is marginal
and stranger to the truth;
our inbred heritage of hate;
our ingrown condescension of
a pale, performing love;
                         our
privilege, that makes us weak
and willing masters of the world,
and which we grip both-handed
while we censure or deny it with
a cock-crow vehemence and
without shame;
              our blame;
                        our
parrying of blame;
                  our sheep
and common shame;
                 our
tendency to shun the same;
our difference, left lovely on
display but given no more heft
than iris-colour or a taste for
salt or other spice;
                     our Christ-
kill terror of our sibling souls.

We must overcome (we must!)
the farthing fear in all of us.

Mormon Lit Lab: Book Mentoring Program

Book Mentoring Program: Mormon Lit LabOver the past 10 years, the Mormon Lit Blitz contest has published more than a hundred unique works of Mormon microliterature—short essays, stories, and poetry that stretch our sense of what literature can accomplish in a community of faith.

We’re excited to take the next step. This year, we’re mentoring four prose writers  and four poets as they develop books. We’ve already brought together a volunteer team of people with expertise in writing, editing, publishing, and advertising to provide monthly classes and personal consultations. We also aim to raise a $1,000 to $2,000 budget in support of each project. Even a small budget can help make someone’s dream project a reality.

To help bring these new titles into the world, make a tax-deductible one-time or monthly donation to the Mormon Lit Lab today. Whether you are able to contribute $20 or $100, any and every contribution will make a real difference.

If you would like to designate a specific project as the preferred beneficiary of your gift, you may do so. The writers and projects are:

PROSE

Book Mentoring Program Prose (Mormon Lit Lab)

Luisa Perkins

Mid-Century Murder is the first novel in a mystery series featuring Annette Van Doren, a 54-year-old recently widowed Latter-day Saint. Through Annette’s employment at a business specializing in historic real estate, each mystery will involve different houses and architectural styles. At the same time, the book will explore how a Mormon woman redefines herself after years when her energy was far more focused on family needs.

Target draft completion date: Fall 2021

Luisa’s Mormon Lit Blitz pieces:

César Fortes

César Fortes has been the most popular Portuguese-language writer in the Mormon Lit Blitz. He is working on a collection of autobiographical short stories featuring Mormon experience in his family and ward in Cape Verde. These slice-of-life stories, at turns humorous and poignant, give a strong sense of place and community while raising important spiritual and social questions.

Target draft completion date: Fall 2021

César’s Mormon Lit Blitz pieces:

William Morris

The Courtship of Elder Cannon is a short literary novel about a recently widowed member of the Seventy and a U of U literature professor who are set up on a blind date in 2009 in the wake of scrutiny over the Church’s involvement in California’s Proposition 8. Told through conversations, journal entries, talks, emails, scriptural commentaries, and so on, the novel explores how Mormon conceptions of grief, eternal marriage, and personal revelation impact Elder Cannon’s relationships with the woman he courts, his family, her family, and his identity as a husband, father, and church leader.

Target draft completion date: Summer 2021

William’s Mormon Lit Blitz pieces:

Gabriel González

El periplo de Melitón González Trejo [The Quest of Melitón González Trejo] is a historical novel steeped in magical realism. Based on the life of the primary translator of the Book of Mormon into Spanish, it recounts his travels from Spain to the Philippines to Utah to Mexico during the second half of the 19th century. As an immigrant and translator himself, the author will explore the sense of gain and loss that comes with immigration and crossing boundaries.

Target draft completion date: Late 2023

Gabriel’s Mormon Lit Blitz pieces:

POETRY

Marianne Hales Harding

Halfway to Heaven: Poems Crafted in Utah’s Wild Places is a poetic trail guide. Written on hikes in Utah and linked to specific trails, the work lends itself to being read in the space where it was written. Framed by her grandfather’s work as a landscape photographer of Utah’s Grand Circle of National Parks, this book is a tribute to the land and an exploration of how the land has mixed into Mormon consciousness and seeped into our sense of self.

Target draft completion date: Fall 2022

Marianne’s Mormon Lit Blitz pieces:

Jared Forsyth

How does our view of God relate to our views of money? In a collection of poems about money and religion, Jared Forsyth explores individual attitudes and shared financial structures, looking at both our shortcomings and the possibilities we have to exercise discipleship in our own finances and in our society.

Target draft completion date: Spring 2022

Jared’s Mormon Lit Blitz pieces:

Scott Hales

Scott Hales’ Hemingway in Paradise and Other Mormon Poems is a poetry collection about lives and afterlives. Exhibiting the same wry humor and unique Mormon perspective that made his The Garden of Enid: Adventures of a Weird Mormon Girl a beloved webcomic, Hales invites readers to join him at the crossroads of fact and fantasy, memory and invention, and life and death. Hemingway in Paradise is a deep dive into a Latter-day Saint imagination, moving freely from playful engagements with Church history and doctrine to poignant meditations on the everyday incidents and occurrences of Mormon experience.

Target draft completion date: Summer 2021

Scott’s Mormon Lit Blitz pieces:

Selina Forsyth

Selina Forsyth is currently pursuing a PhD in social work. She’s interviewing Latter-day Saint social workers and writing a collection that mixes nonfiction with poetry to explore the principles in Matthew 25:31-46. What insights can social workers give us into Christ’s call to feed the hungry, clothe the naked, and visit the prisoner?

Target draft completion date: End of 2022

Selina’s Mormon Lit Blitz pieces:

Please note that, while we want to help every  project reach completion, the Mormon Lit Lab does not guarantee the success of proposed projects. Funds will be disbursed to writers for use on approved book-related expenses. In the event that a book project stops progressing, we reserve the right to shift its budget to support other projects. Donations are not refundable. 


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!

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.