We are pleased to announce the 2017 Association for Mormon Letters Awards finalists in Anthology, Criticism, and Poetry. The final awards will be announced and presented at the Mormon Scholars in the Humanities Conference, held at Brigham Young University on March 23. The finalists and winners are chosen by juries of authors, academics, and critics. The finalist announcements include blurbs about each of the works and author biographies, adapted from the author and publisher websites (if anyone wants to fix part, please write it in the reply, and I will fix it). These are the last finalists, although we will also announce the names of those to be honored with the Smith-Pettit Foundation Award for Outstanding Contribution to Mormon Letters, and the AML Lifetime Achievement Award before the conference.
This is a new category, which may or may not appear again in the future. In the past there have been short story collections which have been recognized for awards. 2017 saw three significant anthologies published, one a collection of essays, one a collection of short stories, and one a mixture of both (as well as poetry, art and drama). So the Short Fiction and Creative Non-Fiction judges have agreed to create this ad-hoc category.
Stephen Carter, editor. Moth and Rust: Mormon Encounters with Death. Signature.
In Mormonism we are sometimes seemingly casual about death: it’s a veil or a mission call to the spirit world. But our actual encounters with the reality of death inevitably change us in ways that are difficult to articulate. In this collection, Mormon writers wrestle with mortality and its aftermath. A family sings a hesitant rendition of Happy Birthday to a grief-stricken mother who buried who toddler just a few hours earlier; an agnostic son decides he’s Mormon enough to arrange a funeral for his believing father. Some essays use death as a means to understand faith. One author imagines a world where Heavenly Mother visits her children in the form of their female ancestors, appearing to her descendants in times of grief or pain. Others address practicalities: how do you protect your children from death while still allowing them to experience the world; how do you get through one more nausea-ridden day of cancer treatment? Still others delve into death’s questions: does the overwhelming suffering that occurs in the animal kingdom have a function in the “plan of happiness”? Sometimes humorous, sometimes heartbreaking, always thought-provoking, these personal essays, poems, and stories may never be heard at a Mormon funeral. But they probably should be. Continue Reading →