by Scott Hales (bio)
Fifty years ago, most schools taught that making literature was a matter of combining great language and universal human values. Since then, millions of readers have decided that context also counts: that it’s nice to get our grand human dilemmas through the lens of very specific cultures with their unique values, traditions, tensions.
From February 15th to February 29th, Mormon Artist magazine will begin hosting the Mormon Lit Blitz, an online literary contest organized by James Goldberg and Scott Hales. We believe that Mormon experience is rich enough to inspire engaging poems, stories, and essays—and are ready to offer thirteen pieces as proof.
The format of the contest is simple. Beginning on February 15th, the Mormon Artist blog will post one short story, poem, or personal essay a day for the rest of the month (except on Sundays). At the end of the contest, readers will be encouraged to vote for the pieces they like best, and the author of the winning piece will be awarded a Kindle loaded with works of Mormon literature.
The thirteen pieces featured in the contest were selected from almost two hundred entries from four different countries. They were written to appeal broadly to Latter-day Saint audiences, particularly committed members of the Church. However, the judges were careful to select artistic works that avoided the cheesiness and preachiness that people often associate with Mormon literature.
We hope you will enjoy the Mormon Lit Blitz. Please support the finalists by reading their work and voting for your favorites.
2/15 “In Bulk” by Marilyn Nielson
2/16 “The Elder Who Wouldn’t Stop” by Wm Morris
2/17 “No Substitute for Chocolate” by Jeanna Mason Stay
2/18 “Second Coming” by Emily Harris Adams
2/20 “The Road Not Taken” by Sandra Tayler
2/21 “Stillborn” by Merrijane Rice
2/22 “Oil of Gladness” by Kathyrn Lynard Soper
2/23 “The Shoe App” by Emily Debenham
2/24 “Cada Regalo Perfecto” by Deja Earley
2/25 “The Gloaming” by Kerry Spencer
2/27 “Babel” by Jonathon Penny
2/28 “The Hearts of the Fathers” by Jeanine Bee
2/29 “Red Rock” by Marianne Hales Harding
You can stay updated on the Mormon Lit Blitz by liking it on Facebook (here), following it on Twitter (here), and/or subscribing to the Mormon Artist blog (here).