AML Fundraising Campaign

Founded in 1976, the Association for Mormon Letters is a nonprofit organization seeking to promote a rich tradition of creative writing “by, for, and about Mormons.” Each year AML holds an annual conference and awards ceremony to encourage scholarship in Mormon arts, literature, and culture and recognize excellence in the work of Mormon writers and scholars.

While smaller than other Mormon scholarly associations, AML fills a unique niche in Mormon studies with its attention to Mormonism’s long and often rich literary and artistic tradition. No other Mormon scholarly organization is as committed to fostering Mormon literary criticism and academic inquiry into Mormon literary arts. Without the Association for Mormon Letters, the work of many Mormon creative writers would go unrecognized, uninvestigated, and unrewarded.

Operating costs for the Association for Mormon Letters are typically low, but the organization currently has no formal practice for collecting membership dues or fundraising. To continue its support of Mormon letters, AML requires donations to maintain its website and blog and fund its annual conference and awards ceremony.

Please consider making a generous donation to support AML and its ongoing commitment to advancing Mormon arts and letters.

https://www.gofundme.com/mormon-letters-fundraiser

2017 Association for Mormon Letters Conference Program

Mark your calendars: the 2017 Association for Mormon Letters Conference will take place on April 21 and 22.

The conference will open in Provo with a keynote address at Writ & Vision from writer Phyllis Barber, the recipient of the 2016 Smith-Pettit Foundation Award for outstanding achievement in Mormon Letters. The conference will then reconvene the next morning at Utah Valley University for a day of scholarly presentations, panel discussions, and literary readings. The winners of the AML Awards will also be announced at a special ceremony at 12:45 pm MST. Among those honored will be two lifetime achievement awards. 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.

The conference and awards ceremony are free and open to the public. We hope to see you there!

2017

Association for Mormon Letters Conference

April 21-22, 2017

Utah Valley University

Schedule
Friday 4/21 Writ & Vision-274 W Center St., Provo, UT
7:00-8:00 PM Keynote:

Phyllis Barber, “Reconciling Art with History”

Saturday 4/22 Utah Valley University-Orem, UT
9:30-10:00

AM

Registration

Room: CB 101A  (Classroom Building)

10:00-11:15

AM

Panel Discussion:

“Mormon Historical Drama”

Tom Rogers

Melissa Larson

Margaret Young

Eric Samuelson

Moderator: James Goldberg

Room: CB 113

Sarah Reed, “Postmemory and the Lost Generation: Midcentury Mormon Novels”

Jed Woodworth, “When MIA Fought Atheism through Poetry: Orson F. Whitney’s Love and the Light

Joseph Soderborg, “Robert Louis Stevenson: Mormons, Missionaries, and Friends in Utah and the South Pacific”

Room: CB 114

 

11:30 AM-12:30 PM Lunch
12:45-1:30

PM

AML Awards Ceremony

Room: CB 101A

1:45-3:00

PM

Harlow Clark, “The Philosophy of Consolation: A Dialogue Between Boethius and Joseph Smith”

Sherilyn Olsen, “From Active to Activist Mormon: How Writing About My Family’s Adoption Experiences Converted Me to Race Issue Advocacy”

Marilyn Brown, “Raiders, Readers, and Writers of the Last Art: Tackling Historical Fiction”

Room: CB 113

 

Panel Discussion:

“The Work of Orson Scott Card”

Eric James Stone

Mattathias Westwood

Scott Parkin

Christopher Smith

J. Scott Bronson

Moderator: Andrew Hall

Room: CB 114

3:15-4:30

PM

Panel Discussion:

“The Work of Susan Elizabeth Howe”

Lance Larsen

Darlene Young

Jeffrey Tucker

Michael Lavers

Moderator: Bert Fuller

Room: CB 113

 

Julie Nichols, Fiction Reading

Steven L. Peck, Fiction Reading

James Goldberg, Poetry Reading

Room: CB 114

 

4:45-6:00

PM

Chris Smith, “Prosperity in the Book of Mormon”

Jordan Shumway, “Abish: A Female Figure of Christ”

Kylie Nielson Turley, “Alma2’s Hell: Ammonihah and a Lake of Fire and Brimstone”

Room: CB 113

Laura Harris Hales, “Title: Creating Safe Literary Space in the 21st Century Mormon Community”

Bert Fuller, “Mormon Poetry in Review: Some Notes on the Last Five Years.”

Sheldon Lawrence, “Mormon Conversion Narratives and the Construction of Certainty”

Room: CB 114

 

Campus Map and Parking

On Saturday, the conference will be held in the Classroom Building on the northwest end of campus, right next to the Fulton Library on College Drive. On campus maps, the building is marked CB.

When you arrive, please register in room 101A. All sessions will take place either in room 113 or 114. These rooms are right inside the southwest entrance of the building, right next to parking lot L4.

Parking information can be found here and here.

Writ & Vision Map and Parking

On Friday evening, the conference will open at Writ & Vision in Provo with our keynote address from Phyllis Barber. The address is 274 West Center Street, Provo, UT 84601.

Parking is available along Center Street.

Restaurants near UVU

Conference attendees are responsible for their own meals. UVU has a few restaurants on Campus, although not all of them are open on Saturday. Several other restaurants are near campus.

After the conference there will be an informal reception and reading for award winners and conference attendees at the home of James and Nicole Goldberg in American Fork.

Continue Reading →

2016 AML Awards Finalists #5: Drama, Film, and Video Series

We are excited to announce the 2016 Association for Mormon Letters awards finalists in the Drama, Film, and Video Series categories. Middle Grade Novel, Young Adult NovelPoetry, Short FictionComics, Novel, Picture BooksCreative Non-fiction, and Religious Non-fiction finalists were announced previously. There will also be a Criticism award, but there will not be finalists for that category. The final awards will be announced and presented at the AML Conference at Utah Valley University on April 22. The Smith-Pettit Foundation Award for Outstanding Contribution to Mormon Letters and the AML Lifetime Achievement awards will also be presented there. The finalists and winners are chosen by juries of authors and critics. The finalist announcements include blurbs about each of the books and author biographies, taken from the author and publisher websites.

Drama

The judges for the Drama award considered only the written scripts, not the production, or any music that might have been part of the play.

Matthew Greene. Gregorian. Working Artist Theatre Project, New York City.  August.

Gregorian portrays one family’s journey through the bloodiest century in human history as four generations discover the gravity of a name passed from father to son. The play explores the cyclical effects of genocide on humanity, the consequences of denial, and the essential place these stories hold in our existence. Beginning with the Gregorian family’s own tragic roots in the Armenian Genocide, through the rise of the Nazi Party, across the killing fields of Cambodia, and the continuing crisis in Africa, they do all they can to hold on to heritage, history, and hope. Continue Reading →

2016 AML Awards Finalists #4: Creative Non-fiction and Religious Non-fiction

We are excited to announce the 2016 Association for Mormon Letters awards finalists in the Creative Non-fiction and Religious Non-fiction categories. Middle Grade Novel, Young Adult NovelPoetry, Short Fiction, Comics, Novel, and Picture Books finalists were announced previously, and we will be announcing the Drama, Film, and Video Series finalists shortly. The final awards will be announced and presented at the AML Conference at Utah Valley University on April 22. The finalists and winners are chosen by juries of authors and critics. The finalist announcements include blurbs about each of the books and author biographies, from the author and publisher websites.

“Creative Non-fiction” includes memoirs and collections of personal essays.  “Religious Non-fiction” refers to a wide variety of LDS religious studies books, including scriptural studies, theology, and devotional literature. The category does not include histories or biographies, as we figure that the Mormon Historical Association already does a good job of recognizing those books.

Creative Non-fiction

Scott Abbott. Immortal for Quite Some Time. University of Utah Press.

“This is not a memoir. Rather, this is a fraternal meditation on the question ‘Are we friends, my brother?’ The story is uncertain, the characters are in flux, the voices are plural, the photographs are as troubled as the prose. This is not a memoir.” Thus Scott Abbott introduces the reader to his exploration of the life of his brother John, a man who died of AIDS in 1991 at the age of forty. Writing about his brother, he finds he is writing about himself and about the warm-hearted, educated, and homophobic LDS family that forged the core of his identity. Images and quotations are interwoven with the reflections, as is a critical female voice that questions his assertions and ridicules his rhetoric. The book moves from the starkness of a morgue’s autopsy through familial disintegration and adult defiance to a culminating fraternal conversation. This exquisitely written work will challenge notions of resolution and wholeness. Continue Reading →

2016 AML Awards Finalists #3: Comics, Novel, Picture Book

We are excited to announce the finalists in the Comics, Novel, and Picture Book categories of the 2016 Association for Mormon Letters awards. Middle Grade Novel, Young Adult Novel, Poetry, and Short Fiction were announced previously, and we will be announcing the other category finalists over the coming week, including Creative Non-Fiction, Drama, Film, Religious Non-Fiction, and Video Series. The final awards will be announced and presented at the AML Conference at Utah Valley University on April 22. The finalists and winners are chosen by juries of authors and critics. The finalist announcements include blurbs about each of the books and author biographies, from the author and publisher websites.

Comics

Scott Hales. Mormon Shorts, Vol. 1

From the creator of the popular webcomic The Garden of Enid: Adventures of a Weird Mormon Girl, Mormon Shorts is a collection of Mormon-themed comics, cartoons, and tweet-length microstories that capture the endearing quirks and curiosities of the Mormon people.

Scott Hales is a writer and cartoonist from Cincinnati, Ohio. He is the creator of the webcomics The Garden of Enid: Adventures of a Weird Mormon Girl and Mormon Shorts. Scott has an MA and PhD in English from the University of Cincinnati and a BA in English from Brigham Young University. He has published on American literature, comics, and Mormon fiction and poetry in various journals, including The Edgar Allan Poe Review, International Journal of Comic Art, and Religion and the Arts. He has also published fiction and comics in Dialogue: A Journal of Mormon Thought and Sunstone. Scott currently lives in Utah with his wife, Sarah, and five children. Continue Reading →

2016 AML Awards Finalists #2: Poetry and Short Fiction

We are excited to announce the finalists in the Poetry, Short Fiction Collection, and Short Fiction categories of the 2016 Association for Mormon Letters awards. Middle Grade Novel and Young Adult Novel were announced previously, and we will be announcing the other category finalists over the coming week. Those categories include Comics, Creative Non-Fiction, Drama, Film, Novel, Picture Book, Religious Non-Fiction, and Video Series. The final awards will be announced and presented at the AML Conference at Utah Valley University on April 22. The finalists and winners are chosen by juries of authors and critics. The finalist announcements include blurbs about each of the books and author biographies, from the author and publisher websites, as well as a poem from each of the poetry collections.

Poetry

Neil Aitken. Leviathan. Hyacinth Girl Press.

Babbage Attempting to Solve for the Unknown

Let x be the rain that falls in a year.
Let it be what overflows from the cisterns and wells,

from whatever vessels are set upon the walls of the city
or buried in its depths.

Even this water must have someplace to go.
All year it grows line after line parallel to the earth,

to the lip of crumbled brick, to the dark felt of shadow
that runs the length of a fallow field.

Let it be the solution to the bodies of grey-feathered birds,
to the cats thrown at you by children, to the withering snap Continue Reading →

2016 AML Awards Finalists #1: Middle Grade and Young Adult Novels

We are excited to announce the finalists in the first two categories of the 2016 Association for Mormon Letters awards, Middle Grade Novel and Young Adult Novel. We will be announcing the other category finalists over the coming week. Those categories include Comics, Creative Non-Fiction, Drama, Film, Middle Grade Novel, Novel, Picture Book, Poetry, Religious Non-Fiction, Short Fiction, and Video Series. There also will be an award for Criticism, although not a group of finalists for that category. The final awards will be announced and presented at the AML Conference at Utah Valley University on April 22. The finalist announcements include blurbs about each of the books and author biographies, as provided by the publishers and authors.

Middle Grade Novel

    Continue Reading →

Interview with AML Religious Non-Fiction Award winner Brant A. Gardner

GardnerBrant

Brant Gardner

Brant A. Gardner won the 2015 AML Award for Religious Non-Fiction for Traditions of the Fathers: The Book of Mormon as History (Greg Kofford Books). Laura Harris Hales recently interviewed Gardner for an upcoming episode of the LDS Perspectives Podcast, which will debut Sept. 22. While the podcast episode will focus on the content of Gardner’s work, she also asked a few questions about his style and writing process, to be used here at the AML blog. Here is a selection of their conversation, edited slightly for print.

LHH: You won Best Religious Non-Fiction book for 2015, well deserved, I must say. They had three questions for you as an author. First, how would you describe your style of writing?

Gardner_Traditions_cover_1024x1024BG: That is very hard to answer, because I am not sure how to describe it, other than to describe the kinds of things I’m trying to do as an author. I’m trying to write for later high school/college age. As for my style, I tend to let my sources speak more directly than a lot of people do, with a lot more quotations. Modern style wants to hide [quotations] in the text, or put all of the quotations in the footnotes, while I bring them out. There is controversial enough information that I don’t want to hide my work. I want people to know what the sources are, and know the reason why I am drawing that particular conclusion. There is enough reason for people to wonder about these topics, they shouldn’t wonder about how I have interpreted the data I am using. So that is one difference in how I approach things. Continue Reading →

Award Winners: Young Adult Novelist Becky Wallace

We are starting a new series, interviews with recent AML Award winners. We start with Young Adult Award winner Becky Wallace, who was interviewed by Amanda Shrum, a Creative Writing MFA candidate at BYU.

storyspinner-9781481405652_hrI recently had the wonderful opportunity to meet and interview Becky Wallace, author of The Storyspinner and recipient of the 2015 Young Adult Novel AML Award.

Becky grew up in West Jordan, Utah before attending BYU-I and BYU where she received her degree in Public Relations. She moved to Chicago and worked for a sports marketing company where she was able to put her writing skills to use. She currently lives in Houston with her husband and four kids.

How did you get into writing? Continue Reading →

2015 AML Award Winners

Here are the results of the 2015 Association for Mormon Letters Awards, presented at the AML Conference at BYU Hawaii on March 5, 2016.

See this page for the two lifetime awards citations:

12814375_10154048251462009_3445109548334176775_nThe Smith-Pettit Foundation Award for Outstanding Contribution to Mormon Letters to Phyllis Barber.

IMG_0836The Association for Mormon Letters Lifetime Achievement Award to Donald R. Marshall.

Both Phyllis and Donald attended the conference.

e3026a9f539d35a8028917a2e713c0b1Comics

Brittany Long Olsen. Dendo: One Year and One Half in Japan

A wonderful blending of the modern missionary narrative mixed with a traditional comic style, humor, and feel-good moments throughout Dendo by Brittany Long Olsen is the first-of-its-kind autobiographical Mormon missionary graphic novel.  Visually engaging, Olsen’s brings to life her missionary service with simple and elegant illustration in a unique and transcendent experience.  We witness her journey from the ups and downs of the MTC, struggles with companionships, burgeoning bike skills, to the inevitable denouement of her time as Sister Olsen; all while helping us learn a little Japanese culture along the way.

Other finalists:

Brian Andersen, creator. James Neish, Illustrator. Stripling Warrior.#1 and #2

Noah van Sciver. My Hot Date

Happily marriedCreative Non-fiction

Joey Franklin. My Wife Wants You to Know I’m Happily Married. University of Nebraska Press.

Joey Franklin’s My Wife Wants You to Know I’m Happily Married is like its cover: unassuming, honest, with all the earnestness of a t-shirt wearing T-ball parent trying to make good in this life.  But while many of the essays in this debut collection chart the familiar territory of family and marriage, the high artistic rendering of its subjects is anything but familiar. Each of the 14 essays reveals a fascination with language, whether it be in the profane-sounding Japanese word Shukufuku on a new missionary’s tongue or in a toddler’s first acquisition of words.  At times lyrical or self-deprecating, Joey Franklin guides us through young family life, through fast-food jobs and crappy cars, through T-ball and male-pattern baldness and teaching a child to pray.  My Wife Wants You to Know I’m Happily Married is a beautiful book—sharp and clear, like a jewel under light.

Other finalists:

William Shunn. The Accidental Terrorist

Jamie Zvirzdin, editor. Fresh Courage Take: New Directions by Mormon Women Continue Reading →

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