Announcement: The 2006 Association for Mormon Letters Awards

Mahonri, Shawn, Katherine (William’s sister, head of the AML’s BYU student chapter, and newly appointed AML board member) and I made it to the 2007 AML conference this year, where we attended sessions on Mormon folklore, film, literature, and critical theory, and got to know each other a little better.  It was fun; I look forward to doing it again.  The opportunities to socialize and “network” that conferences like this offer are well worth the price of admission.  Oh, wait.  This year’s AML conference offered free admission.  Well then, it was something of a gift to be able to attend.  And with all the AMV blogger ears and eyes in attendance, it may well be a gift that keeps on giving as over the next week or so we Motley Visionaries report on different sessions and papers that struck our individual fancies. 

During the conference luncheon, Melissa Proffitt of the AML presented several awards.  These awards cover various Mormon-authored or Mormon-themed media published or produced (or in some other way brought to attention) during 2006.  Last spring, A Motley Vision came home with the AML 2005 Award for Criticism; to my knowledge, that was the first time a blog produced a blip on the AML’s radar.  This year that blip got a little bigger.  What this means for blogging’s future remains open for debate.

But now, to satisfy our readers’ curiosity and provide information that we hope people will find at least mildly interesting, here are the 2006 Association for Mormon Letters Awards.

Short Fiction

Winner: Kristen Carson, for “‘Atta Boy,” published in Dialogue 38:2 (Summer 2005).

Honorable Mention: Virginia Baker, “And Cry the Name of David,” published in All the Rage This Year: Phobos Science Fiction Anthology 3, 2004.

Honorable Mention: Heather Marx, “Brother Singh,” published in Irreantum 6:2.

Honorable Mention: Aaron Orullian, “Judgement Day,” published in Irreantum 7:3. 

Young Adult

Winner: Brandon Mull, Fablehaven.

Honorable Mention: Shannon Hale, River Secrets.

Honorable Mention: Janette Rallison, It’s a Mall World After All.  


Winner: Toni Sorensen Brown, Redemption Road. 

Honorable Mention: Orson Scott Card, Empire.

Honorable Mention: Brandon Sanderson, Mistborn.   


Winner: Tim Slover, for Treasure. 

A retroactive 2003 Award for Drama was also awarded to LeeAnne Adams for her play, Archipelago.


Winner: Annie Poon, The Book of Visions.

Honorable Mention: Melissa Puente, Sisterz in Zion.

Honorable Mention: Tom Russell, Angie.


Patricia Karamesines, “The Rhetoric of Stealing God,” published on A Motley Vision, April 30, 2006.


Winner: John Bennion, “Like the Lilies of the Field,” in Dialogue 39:4 (Winter 2006).

Honorable Mention: Wilfried Decoo, “The Unspeakable,” Times and Seasons, March 28, 2006.

Honorable Mention: Patricia Karamesines, “The Birds of Summer,” A Motley Vision, September 19, 2006.

AML Special Award

This year the 2006 AML Special Award went to James V. D’Arc, Blaine L. Gale, E. Hunter Hale, and Richard I. Hale for their restoration of Trapped by the Mormon, a British anti-Mormon film legendary for its awfulness, first released in 1922.

Award for Service to AML

Angela Hallstrom received this well-deserved award for the dedication and tenacity she showed in stepping up to take the reins of the Irreantum under production at the time of Laraine Wilkin’s tragic passing.  This award is well-deserved. Bravo, Angela.  Readers can see AMV’s review of this issue of Irreantum here.

Smith-Pettit Foundation Award for Outstanding Contribution to Mormon Letters

Rick Walton

NOTE: Melissa also announced the winner of Sunstone’s Eugene England Memorial Personal Essay Contest, but I feel timid about scooping Sunstone, especially since the information wasn’t included on the awards list I received and I don’t have it all.  (Maybe if somebody were to twist my arm …) 

14 thoughts on “Announcement: The 2006 Association for Mormon Letters Awards”

  1. Congratulations, Patricia. And thanks for posting the list of awards.

    And congrats too to Wilifried. A very well-deserved award and I very much regret not thinking to nominate his essay “Alicia” during the year it was elegible. In my mind, at least, it is one of the most impactful, well-written essays/blog posts to be published in the Bloggernacle.

    Amen to the award for Angela Hallstrom.

    But I do have one quibble — how is that Todd Robert Petersen was not given some sort of award? In my opinion, “Long After Dark” is the best work of Mormon fiction in quite some time.

  2. Hm, do any AMVers remember Todd Petersen’s work being mentioned during the awards luncheon? It’s possible it was and I missed it and it was omitted from the list somehow.

    In order for a work to be considered for an award somebody has to submit a copy of that work to AML. Perhaps nobody did that?

    As for the awards I received, I think of them as AMV awards (except that I used the check to help pay for my trip up to the conference).

  3. Thanks Patricia, and congratulations.
    Although you could pre-order it from the Zarahemla website in 2006, I think Chris Bigelow did not start advertising Todd Petersen’s Long After Dark until around New Years, 2007. I figure it will be among those considered for 2007 awards.
    Film Winner: Annie Poon, The Book of Visions.
    Stop-motion paper animation. I was not aware of her work before. The DVD is available from Mormon Artists Group, so congratulations to Kent as well.

    Honorable Mention: Tom Russell, Angie.
    I think this must be a mistake, I assume the Honorable Mention was for Tom Russell’s film mr. dungbeetle. Russell wrote and directed, Jeff Parkin produced it. Both are BYU faculty. It is a comedy about mental patients escaping from a sanatorium. It was made while Russell’s wife, Angie, was close to death, so this is probably where the name mix-up came in. It has played at several film festivals, including the most recent LDS Film Festival.

  4. More comments
    Novel Winner: Toni Sorensen Brown, Redemption Road.
    This is the first time a Covenant novel has won the AML novel award (Patricia Wiles has won twice in the juvinle category). It appears to be as literary a novel as Covenant has ever done. Jennie Hansen’s glowing review in Meridian Magazine alerted me (and I don’t doubt the AML judge) about it.

    Here is a Deseret News piece about Brown and the book.,1249,660206456,00.html

    She has previously done several children’s books and a nationally published humor series about an overstressed mother.

    Short stories.
    I have not read the Virginia Baker story. I loved the other three, those are probably the three I would have picked as best of the year as well.

    Young Adult
    Fablehaven sounds great. I see it (and Leven Thumps) well stocked in my Dallas Barnes and Nobles. I hope to read it soon.
    The Shannon Hale book is perhaps not as amazing as her first three, but still very good.

    Tim Slover, for Treasure.
    Fulton Opera House, Lancaster Co., PA, 2004. About Alexander Hamilton and his messy personal life. In 1791, when his extramarital affair is discovered, Hamilton and his wife publicly face the problem, rather than let his political enemies use the scandal to destroy the nation’s economic system. The play won the Christopher Brian Wolk Award for Excellence in Playwriting.

  5. Many thanks, Andrew, for pointing out the problem with Tom Russell’s honorable mention award for film. I wrote it up as I received the information on a list provided by the AML. Anybody out there able to clear this up?

  6. I thought I sent Todd’s book the first week in December or so, but if it doesn’t get considered until 2007 that’s fine too, since the official pub date and copyright date both say 2007.

    Is the AML still putting out annuals with the conference papers? I feel like I haven’t received one for a few years…

  7. Thanks, Patricia and Andrew. And what you say about “Long After Dark” makes sense. Perhaps also it was complicated by the fact that some of the stories were previously published and there is not standard award for novella or for short story collection.

  8. Chris:

    Good to hear.

    I haven’t received an annual for several years as well. I probably should write up a detailed recommendation for the AML, but the short version is: perhaps the AML should scrap the print version of the annual and instead publish articles (and audio files if available) online in a members-only section.

  9. True, the annuals haven’t gone out for a few years. The reason is that the editor, Linda Hunter Adams, was fighting cancer for a while there. Now that she is back on her feet (and no longer AML president), we are all looking forward to catching up on the annuals. The only thing I really know about her progress is that she asked me a few weeks ago to re-send her my paper from last year’s conference. I’m assuming that means she’s working on it.

    We did make an effort to get people to sign up to receive electronic copies of the annuals instead of print, but the sign-up sheet got kind of lost on the table at the conference (and attendance was poor enough anyway so that we really didn’t get the response we were hoping to). I’m not sure whether Linda will contact subscribers to ask their preference.

  10. Thanks for the update, Darlene.

    And forgive me for doing this, but…

    You had a paper sign up sheet for people to sign up for electronic copies of the annual?

    That’s hilarious.

    (of course, I understand — just trying to grab people while you could get them, but still, that’s pretty funny.)

  11. Over on the AML-List, Randy Astle posted the following in regards to Tom Russell’s AML film award for Angie:

    “This one is not a typo nor mistake. The film in question is titled ‘Angie,’ was shot and directed by Russell and his children, produced by Dean Duncan(also at BYU), and edited by a talented then-student named Will Newman. It is a documentary made during the last months of Angie Russell’s life, so it was shot simultaneously with ‘Mr. Dungbeetle.’ It is part of the fit for the kingdom project and is available to view online at

    Thanks Randy for help clearing this up.

  12. Yes, sorry about that.
    Interesting that the film winners were more of independent productions and below the radar stuff this year, not commercial productions.

  13. This is a belated response–I don’t generally follow the discussion threads, so I missed this earlier–but since Todd Petersen’s stories were mentioned, I thought I should clear something up. Our short story judge did receive his collection of stories for judging last year. Some of them were ineligible due to their original publication date, but there were–I can’t remember exactly, five or six stories at least that I marked for consideration. Unfortunately, we were drawing from three years’ worth of stories, not just one, which I will take the blame for–the category had been overlooked for that long. The judge made her decision based on a very large pool, and I stand behind that decision. But that doesn’t change the fact that good stories go unrecognized, and the judge’s criteria for selection aren’t always what another reader would use.

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