2018 Mormon Lit Blitz Winners

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. This year, we also want to thank the core group of supporters who have pledged a monthly contribution to the Mormon Lit Lab Patreon account: we’ve almost reached the funding goal to add a second contest this fall!

To wrap up this contest, we’ve counted votes and after a historically tight race the top four stories are:

4. “Missionary Weekly Report for 28 March-3 April, Mumbai 1st Branch, Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints” by Mattathias Westwood

3. “Three Dogs in the Afterlife” by Luisa Perkins

2. “Beneath the Visiting Moon” by Lee Allred

and…

1. “A Perfect Voice” by Katherine Cowley

Congratulations!

We’d also like to recognize the winner of this year’s special “Judge’s Choice” Award, chosen by literary scholar and longtime Mormon Literature teacher Kylie Turley: “Proof That Sister Greeley Is a Witch (Even Though Mormons Don’t Believe in Witches)” by William Morris. You can read the complete citation, with honorable mentions of other finalists, here.

We hope many of you will join us this fall/winter for our next contest, with a theme to be selected by patrons of the Mormon Lit Lab, and next spring/summer for the 8th Annual Mormon Lit Blitz.

2018 Mormon Lit Blitz: Judge’s Choice Award

To celebrate the 7th anniversary of the Mormon Lit Blitz, we decided to fund an additional $100 “Judge’s Choice” award, with a winner selected by Kylie Turley, a scholar of Mormon Literary history and a longtime teacher of Mormon Literature classes at Brigham Young University’s Provo campus. Turley’s award selection and citation follows: 

In a set of Mormon Literary Blitz finalists, William Morris’s “Proof that Sister Greeley Is a Witch” stands out. Though all of the finalists developed their works from compelling and dramatic ideas; and some had especially unique diction and used powerfully vivid imagery (“Beneath the Visiting Moon”); while others developed intriguing plots that grabbed the readers’ attentions (“Counsel” and “Scrubbing Jesus’ Toilets”) or closed powerfully (“Joseph and Emma Grow Old Together”) or moved through interesting plot twists (“After the Fast”); and yet still others conveyed powerful emotion in a non-sentimental way (“The Last Swing”), Morris was able to do all of those things in his short 10-step list while creating a strong sense of character within an LDS context.

Morris developed his idea in a creative manner: his use of a sort of “top 10” list incorporates both humor and serious moments, uses imagery and sensory description to not only tell a story, but also to develop his character. For example, Heidi’s sense of comedic timing is matched by her clever turn of phrase and wise insights. After listing gradually lengthening numbered reasons why Sister Greeley is strange, Heidi suddenly announces in reason number eight that “Sister Greeley has a wart on the side of her nose.” Heidi claims that she should have told the reader this important detail earlier, “but it seemed rude to point it out right away.” The length of the reason matches the lengths of the first two reasons, which not only supports Heidi’s argument, but also provides an abrupt and pert contrast to the lengthy run-on sentence in reason number seven. By writing in this manner, Morris masterfully reveals Heidi through her diction and thought processes, even as Heidi is revealing Sister Greeley through her astute observations and glib commentary. Despite the brevity required by the contest, readers finish the list understanding Sister Greeley and Heidi. Sister Greeley, from Heidi’s perspective, is a “witch”—but readers understand Heidi well enough by the last sentence to know that this bright and feisty young Mormon girl may not always be saying exactly what she means. Heidi tells us that “she didn’t know exactly what [Sister Greeley] meant” when she insists that Heidi—like her mother–is “one of these sisters” and demands that Heidi promise that she “won’t let them drive [her] away” from the church. Heidi says she doesn’t understand, but she concludes reason number ten with a series of shrewd contradictory statements that let readers know she understands exactly what is going on: Heidi tells readers that she is now sure that Sister Greeley is a “Mormon witch,” even though “Mormons don’t believe in witches” and she, Heidi, just promised Sister Greeley to remain in the church and to be “one of those sisters”—thus promising to be a “Mormon witch” herself. William Morris’s “Proof That Sister Greeley Is a Witch (Even Though Mormons Don’t Believe in Witches)” is well worth the few minutes it takes to read it. And who knows? Readers may discover a few LDS witches in their own wards now that they have read Heidi’s observations. Hopefully Morris will provide Heidi’s next list, so readers know what to do with the Sister Greeleys of the world—but, if he does not, I’d suggest Heidi’s approach: Brigham tea and a nice chat (reason #10).

One more thing: if readers run out of things to chat about with their Sister Greeley, I’d recommend reading and discussing “Joseph and Emma Grow Old Together” and “Beneath the Visiting Moon.” If they have a bit more time, they could include “Counsel” and “After the Fast” or “The Last Swing” and “Scrubbing Jesus’ Toilets” and “Missionary Weekly Report for 28 March3 April, Mumbai 1st Branch, Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints”—although the reader and his or her Sister Greeley might find that the best idea is to read all the finalists and set up a weekly discussion about LDS authors and LDS writing.

2016 Mormon Lit Blitz Winner + Updates

The Winner

Five years.

We have now held the Mormon Lit Blitz contest for five years. And we’re pleased to report that Mormon literature is alive and well. Over the past five years we’ve published 60 pieces in the Mormon Lit Blitz contests and 17 pieces in our other contests. Each year, we’ve had the opportunity to share new poems, new essays, and new stories that engage with the fundamental question of what it means to be a Mormon.

It was a tight race this year, with the top four places in question throughout the entire week of voting. And now, readers’ four favorite pieces for the 2016 Mormon Lit Blitz: Continue reading 2016 Mormon Lit Blitz Winner + Updates

2014 Mormon Lit Blitz Winner

Lit Blitz Winner

After counting and recounting votes in a tight race for literary impact, we are pleased to announce this year’s top finalists:

Fourth Place: “The Primary Temple Trip” by Laura Hilton Craner

Third Place: “Yahweh: Prologue to the Temple” by Jonathon Penny

Second Place: “Living Scriptures” by Scott Hales

and our Grand Prize winner:

First Place: “Slippery” by Stephen Carter

Thank you again to all who submitted to the contest, who read and shared the finalists, and who emailed in votes. It’s been a lovely time.

Because of the strong submission pool this year, we have decided to compile an eBook anthology of all twenty-four semi-finalists. Watch our Facebook page for details, or email everydaymormonwriter@gmail.com and tell us you want anthology updates.

Next Contest

Can’t wait for the next Lit Blitz? From now through September 30th October 31st, we’ll accept entries for a fall Mix-and-Mash Mythos contest. The rules are simple:

-Entries must be under 2,000 words
-Entries must draw on or sample from Mormon mythos (scriptures, history, hymns, traditions, etc.) AND another mythos (modern pop culture, a scientific model, another culture or religion, etc.)
-All genres are welcome (and bending genres is encouraged). Previously published work is acceptable if the author retains republication rights.
-Works should speak to an audience of religious Latter-day Saints

Send entries to everydaymormonwriter@gmail.com, preferably attached as Word documents or pdfs. Please include author’s contact information in the body of the email, but not in the attachment with the story.

Finalists will be selected in October and published in October or November. A cash prize will be awarded to the winner of an audience vote.

Lit Blitz Winner

Thanks first to our thirteen wonderful finalists–and for you readers, who contributed to the more than 10,000 views of their pieces. Tonight we are pleased to announce voters’ top five selections. They are

5) “Second Coming” by Emily Harris Adams

4) “Red Rock” by Marianne Hales Harding

3) “No Substitute for Chocolate” by Jeanna Mason Stay

2) “In Bulk” by Marilyn Nielsen

and our Grand Prize Winner…

1) “Stillborn” by Merrijane Rice

Congratulations! When we started the Lit Blitz, we knew there was an audience for LDS literary works, but we’ve been impressed and encouraged by how strong and supportive that audience has been. Since we were also impressed by the quality of submissions the contest received, we’ve decided to launch a new online literary venue called Everyday Mormon Writer. This week we’re featuring a poem by Lit Blitz Semi-Finalist Jake Balser and art by Nick Stephens. We will feature one work per week for the next few months as we build up a body of quality work until we are able to publish every weekday. Any works that were submitted to the Lit Blitz will be considered for publication on Everyday Mormon Writer. We also encourage you to submit other short works; details can be found on our Submissions page.

Thanks once again for your interest and support.

Scott Hales
James Goldberg
Nicole Wilkes Goldberg