Passionate about Mormon Fiction, Drama, and Film?
Discover the Association for Mormon Letters
By Gae Lyn Henderson*
You may have noticed the proliferation of LDS novels in your favorite bookstore. Maybe you’ve wondered which books, movies, and plays are worth your time and money. Perhaps you want to know what the critics think. Let me tell you about an organization that provides answers for you both on the web and in print. In addition, this organization sponsors a variety of live events each year that are intellectually stimulating and inspiring for both readers and writers.
The Association for Mormon Letters was founded in 1976 by a group of volunteers who wanted to promote high-quality writing by, for, and about Mormons. The non-profit group has met annually since that time to present awards recognizing superior work, hear discussions of scholarly criticism, and cultivate a community of people who care about values and how they are presented in literature.
Irreantum: The AML publishes on paper (of all things) a thrice-yearly journal called Irreantum, which is edited by a team of professional writers and editors from all over the United States. If you want to read cutting-edge stories and poetry by Mormon authors, this is the place to find it. For example, the Winter 2000-2001 issue featured a science fiction and fantasy theme and included an intriguing science-fiction story by Thom Duncan about a time traveler who wants to go back to the time of Joseph Smith. A poem that caught my attention in that issue was “Breadcrumbs” by Jane D. Brady, which gave me a personal glimpse into what the atonement means in one woman’s life. Overall, the journal emphasizes a literary approach while respecting Mormon beliefs. Other features include Mormon literary news, reviews, essays, criticism, and interviews with the most popular figures in LDS literature and film. For example, the same issue featured a fascinating discussion with Dave Wolverton, a well-known LDS science fiction and fantasy novelist. A subscription is included in the $25 annual AML membership dues, or you can order an Irreantum-only subscription for just $16 a year (3 issues). To see a sample copy of the current issue of Irreantum, send a check for $8 to AML, P.O. Box 1315, Salt Lake City, UT 84110-1315. For more information about Irreantum, visit the Irreantum web page.
Annual Meeting: This is my favorite event of the year! The AML invites you to meet with us on March 5, 2005, at Salt Lake’s Main Library in Salt Lake City to hear the scholars (and regular people too) debate and analyze the trends, successes, and controversies in Mormon literature. Papers from past meetings are published in the AML Annuals. You can find the tables of contents for some of them at the AML Annuals page. I love this annual meeting because, frankly, I love the people. (You too may enjoy the camaraderie of thoughtful, intelligent friends with artistic and aesthetic judgment!) During the elegant luncheon, you will witness the annual awards presented by the AML board for outstanding achievements in a range of genres, some of which include the novel, short fiction, poetry, children’s literature, personal essay, criticism, and devotional literature. President Hinckley’s remarkable book Standing for Something received the devotional award for the year 2000, and Richard Dutcher’s God’s Army won the award for film. For a list of the annual award-winners, go to humanities.byu.edu/MLDB/amlaward.htm .
If I’ve piqued your interest and you think you would enjoy being a part of this community, let me extend a warm welcome. You can find me on AML-List every day. To join the AML, print and mail in the order form or just send a check for $25 to
PO Box 581422
Salt Lake City, UT 84158
*plus editorial changes to update the contact information