Lifetime Achievement Awards: Orson Scott Card and Susan Elizabeth Howe

The Association for Mormon Letters will present two lifetime achievement awards at the AML Conference on April 22, held at Utah Valley University (CB101A) at 12:45-1:30pm. Orson Scott Card will be presented with the Smith-Pettit Foundation Award for Outstanding Contribution to Mormon Letters, and Susan Elizabeth Howe will be presented with the Association for Mormon Letters Lifetime Achievement Award. Both authors will be attending the conference in person. Panel discussion about both authors’ careers will also be held in the afternoon after the award ceremony.

Award citations will be read at the conference and published soon thereafter. For now, here are previously written biographies of the two authors. Card’s is adapted from his own Hatrack River website. Howe’s is adapted from a biography published on the Poetry Foundation website.

Orson Scott Card

Best known for his science fiction novels Ender’s Game and Ender’s Shadow, Orson Scott Card has written in many other forms and genres. Beginning with dozens of plays and musical comedies produced in the 1960s and 70s (including many Mormon and scriptural themed plays), Card’s first published fiction appeared in 1977 — the short story “Gert Fram” in the July issue of The Ensign, and the novelet version of “Ender’s Game” in the August issue of Analog.

While Card’s early science fiction stories and novels were earning attention (Card won the John W. Campbell Award for best new writer from the World Science Fiction Convention in 1978), he supported his family primarily by writing scripts for audiotapes produced by Living Scriptures of Ogden, Utah.

Later, in the mid-1980s, he wrote the screenplays for animated children’s videos from the New Testament and Book of Mormon, while the novel version of Ender’s Game and its sequel Speaker for the Dead were winning the Hugo and Nebula awards.

Card’s writing ranges from traditional sci-fi (The Memory of EarthPastwatch: The Redemption of Christopher Columbus) to biblical novels (Stone Tables; Rachel & Leah), from contemporary fantasies (Magic Street; Enchantment; Lost Boys) to books on writing (Characters and Viewpoint; How to Write Science Fiction and Fantasy). His “Tales of Alvin Maker” series (beginning with Seventh Son) reinvented medieval fantasy in an American frontier setting.

Card’s first collection of poetry, An Open Book, appeared in 2004, and that same year, in Los Angeles, he directed a production of Posing As People, three one-acts adapted by other writers from short stories by Card.

His most recent series, the young adult Pathfinder series and the fantasy Mithermages series are taking readers in new directions.

Card offers writing workshops from time to time, and recently committed himself to a longterm relationship with Southern Virginia University, where he teaches writing and literature. His “Hatrack River” website also offers free writing workshops, for both adults and younger writers.

Card has won the AML Novel Award three times, for A Women of Destiny (AKA Saints, 1984), Xenocide (1991), and Lost Boys (1992). Two other novels won Honorable Mentions. Ender’s World: Fresh Perspectives on the SF Classic Ender’s Game, edited by Card, won the AML Criticism Award in 2014. He has won four Hugo Awards, for Ender’s Game (1986), Speaker for the Dead (1987), “Eye for Eye” (1988), and How to Write Science Fiction and Fantasy (1991).

Card currently lives in Greensboro, North Carolina, with his wife, Kristine Allen Card, where his primary activities are writing a review column for the local Rhinoceros Times and feeding birds, squirrels, chipmunks, possums, and raccoons on the patio.

A catalog of Card’s work can be found here. A panel discussion of Card’s career, featuring Eric James Stone, Mattathias Westwood, Scott Parkin, Christopher Smith, and J. Scott Bronson, will be held on April 22 at 1:45-3:00pm.

Susan Elizabeth Howe

Poet, playwright, and editor Susan Elizabeth Howe was born in Provo, Utah, and raised in Pleasant Grove. After receiving her undergraduate degree in Spanish and French from Brigham Young University, she turned her focus to creative writing, earning an MA from the University of Utah and a PhD from the University of Denver. She taught in the Brigham Young University English Department for thirty years, from which she recently retired.

Influenced by Elizabeth Bishop, Howe’s poems tend to find their source in observation rather than personal experience, and often explore women’s lives and the natural world through the lens of her Mormon faith. In a 2009 interview with Mormon Artist, Howe noted, “Imagination, as I have experienced it, can be part of and lead to spiritual growth, and imagination is the natural province of the poet.”

Howe is the author of two poetry collections Stone Spirits (1997), which won the Charles Redd Center Publication Prize and the Association for Mormon Letters Award in Poetry, and Salt (2013). Her poetry has been anthologized in Harvest: Contemporary Mormon Poems (1989) and Great and Peculiar Beauty: A Utah Reader (1995). Her poem “Things in the Night Sky” was given the 1989 Association for Mormon Letters Award for Poetry. Her commissioned poem “Utah: Five Sacred Lessons” was performed with musical accompaniment by the Utah Symphony in 1999. Her plays include include Burdens of Earth, Voices of the Sisters, and A Dream for Katie.  She has also published criticism, essays, and short stories.

Howe is the co-editor of Discoveries: Two Centuries of Poems by Mormon Women (2004) and the co-editor, with Marie Cornwall, of Women of Wisdom and Knowledge (1990). She has taught at Brigham Young University, the University of Utah, and the University of Denver.  She has served as poetry editor of Dialogue: A Journal of Mormon Thought; poetry editor of Literature and Belief; managing editor of the Denver Quarterly; and the editor of Exponent II.  She was the President of the Association for Mormon Letters in 1994-1995. She is married to Cless Young.

A incomplete bibliography of Howe’s work can be found here. A panel discussion of Susan’s career, featuring Lance Larsen, Darlene Young, Jeffrey Tucker, and Bert Fuller, will be held on April 22 at 3:15-4:30pm.

One Thought on “Lifetime Achievement Awards: Orson Scott Card and Susan Elizabeth Howe

  1. Andrew Hall on April 10, 2017 at 5:13 pm said:

    Here is an interesting public conversation between Orson Scott Card and Robbert Stoddard about their creation of the musical Stone Tables, and Mormon Art in general, held last week at Southern Virginia University.

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