Friday, April 27, 2012

Everyday Mormon Writer & The 2012 AML Conference



by Scott Hales (bio)

Last month, James and Nicole Goldberg, my accomplices in the Mormon Lit Blitz, began an excellent new Mormon literature website that's worth checking out. It's called Everyday Mormon Writer, and its goal is to "[publish] works that everyday Mormons have time to read and that are worth their reading time." Like the works featured in the Mormon Lit Blitz, these works have no more than 1,000 words and are selected because of the way they fuse faith and creativity without succumbing to cheesiness and sentimentality.

Already Everyday Mormon Writer has featured four poems, two short stories, and one piece that defies categorization. I highly recommend that you check out Jonathan Penny's short story "Ascetic" and Douglas Staker's poem "Gyroscope." Also, because I am not ashamed of self-promotion, I strongly recommend that you take a look at my short story, "Album." which was featured on the site a few weeks ago.

For the moment, new works are appearing weekly, usually on Friday. In time, James and Nicole hope to post one work a day. Creative writers who are interested in being featured on Everyday Mormon Writer can submit their work by following the instructions here. Also, those who wish to make a monetary contribution to the effort can go here. This money, as I understand it, will go towards funding future Mormon literary contests.

So, check it out. Subscribe to it. Support it. It's a good cause.

Also, April may have been the cruelest month for T. S. Eliot, but it has been a good one for Mormon literature. This past weekend, the Association for Mormon Letters had its annual conference at Utah Valley University. I was privileged to be one of the presenters and had a great time meeting people and listening to the other presenters. All the talks I heard were very good, but among those I especially enjoyed were:

Tyler Chadwick's Situating Sonosophy: Deconstructing Alex Caldeiro's Poetarium

Harlow Clark's Before Pilate Was, I Am

Glenn Gordon's The Challenges of Faithful Mormon Fiction from the Mormon Diaspora

Angel Chaparro Sainz's Phyllis Barber: There is Love After All

James Goldberg's Sylvester Lamin's The Coconut Bond

Lee Shepherd's At Church in the U.K. and

Eric Samuelson's Edward W. Tulledge and Ben Israel: First Mormon Playwright in Light of His Best Play

The good news is that the Association for Mormon Letters will soon put audio recordings of these talks on their blog so that those who were not able to attend can still hear all the profound stuff that was said. It also means that people like me, who attended but were not able to sit in on all sessions, can go back and listen to what we missed. For example, I'm planning on listening to Stephen Carter's Mormon/Christian Video Games, which I missed because I was sitting in on one of the conference's many poetry readings.  Likewise, when I get the chance, I'm going to listen to my own presentation, Beyond Missionary Fiction: Voicing the Transnational Mormon Experience, and count the number of times my voice squeaks.  

During the conference the annual AML awards were also handed out. You can see a full listing of winners here. Note particularly that Tyler Chadwick, whom I interviewed for Modern Mormon Men back in December, received the annual award in poetry for the anthology Fire in the Pasture.

Congratulations to all!

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