AML awards for 2008

The Association for Mormon Letters has released the awards it presented at its Feb. 28 meeting:


Neil Aitken, The Lost Country of Sight (Anhinga Press)

Warren Hatch, Mapping the Bones of the World (Signature Books)

Short Fiction:

Stephen Tuttle, Amanuensis“ (Hayden’s Ferry Review)

The Novel:

Angela Hallstrom, Bound on Earth (Parables)

Youth Fiction:

Brandon Mull, Fablehaven: The Grip of the Shadow Plague (Shadow Mountain)


James Goldberg, Prodigal Son (New Play Project)

Personal Essay:

Patrick Madden, “A Sudden Pull Behind the Heart” (The Best Creative Fiction, Volume 2, W. W. Norton and Company)
Stephen Carter, “Calling” (Sunstone)


Christian Vuissa, Errand of Angels

Ron Williams, Happy Valley

Special Award in Criticism

Alan F. Keele, Professor of German at BYU

Special Award in Textual Criticism and Bibliography:

Dean C. Jessee, Mark Ashurst-McGee, Richard L. Jensen, The Joseph Smith Papers, Journals Series, vol. 1, Journals 1832-1839 (Church Historian’s Press)

Special Award in History:

Richard E. Turley, Jr., Glen M. Leonard, and Ronald W. Walker, Massacre at Mountain Meadows (Oxford University Press)

Smith-Petit Foundation Award for Outstanding Contribution to Mormon Letters:

Douglas H. Thayer

Lifetime AML Membership:

Terryl L. Givens

22 thoughts on “AML awards for 2008”

  1. It’ll be interesting to see what the award citation for Alan F. Keele is. Other than speeches and essays here and there, I can’t find anything that screams out for him to get the award this year. What is my Google Fu missing? (not that what’s on his CV isn’t worth an award — the titles of some of his Mormon culture themed speeches and essays are rather thought provoking). My guess is that it’s for his body of work. Anybody who attended the meeting want to enlighten us?

    I didn’t expect that Angel Falling Softly would win anything. It’s not a blow your mind amazing novel, but I think it’s a fascinating experiment in Mormon literature and something new.

    It’s also interesting to note that Doug Thayer’s new novel The Tree House has basically been ignored, and that’s true for AMV too. I haven’t read it yet. I’m not saying that it deserved recognition, but I haven’t heard any buzz about it at all.

    By the way, “Amanuensis” is available online as a PDF and will be our Short Story Friday this week. Considering the run of excellent (even if I didn’t always like them) short stories that have been published in Irreantum this year, it’s interesting to see this one win, and I’m excited to read it. Of course, some of those were technically 2007 since Irreantum is behind. I’m not sure how that all works.

    My wish for 2009 (or 2010): An AML award for The Novella.

  2. Both “The Tree House” and “Angel Falling Softly” are high on my lists of books to read as soon as we can handle a little more cash flow. They both have really perked my interest.

  3. Alan F. Keele’s award was for his body of work I believe, although I _think_ they did single out one particluar piece at one point. I missed the first minute or so of the citation and was playing catch up for the rest of it. His award and his background in German cultural studies tied in nicely with Terryl L. Given’s keynote speech.

    — Lee Allred

  4. I should also mention that from what I have read Prof. Keele’s translations of Rilke merit an AML award alone — since an AML award can go to works that aren’t necessarily Mormon themed so long as the author is connected to Mormonism.

  5. Thanks to all those at AML who make this happen.

    My comments:
    Novel- I completely agree with the choice, Angela’s book blew me away. I have never seen Mormon domestic life presented so dramatically, while still being completely true to life. It is a remarkable accomplishment. I appreciate Eugene’s bravery in trying something new, but I found reading Angel Falling Softly a bit of a chore.

    Poetry-There was no award in 2007, so the double award perhaps makes up for that. Warren Hatch teaches at UVU, this is his first collection.
    Neil Aitken’s debut collection won the Philip Levine Prize for Poetry. Aitken, a graduate of BYU, is currently a PhD candidate at the University of Southern California.
    Kimberly Johnson also had a notable poetry collection published in 2008, but I think she already won an AML award recently.

    Short Fiction-Stephen Tuttle had two stories published in 2008, “Amanuensis” in Hayden Ferry’s Review, and “The Two Mr. Greens” in Black Warrior Review. Tuttle is a young writer who recently was hired by the BYU English Department. I look forward to reading the story.

  6. Thayer’s The Tree House is a 2009 book, not 2009. Announcements and copies started leaking out the week before Xmas ’08 at the author’s request. Reviews are coming out soon through BYU media, and if anyone has a venue for a review that justifies requesting a review copy, let me know.

  7. There isn’t one. But if Mormon novelists can be honored for writing novels that don’t deal with Mormon characters or even overtly Mormon themes, then certainly a Mormon translator can receive an award for an excellent translation.

  8. I don’t know, but my buddy and former home teaching companion and former German instructor the indomitable Rob McFarland is associate director of the project.

  9. Hey! I know Rob!

    Oh, wait. You knew that.

    Sometimes I think my passion for AML is an attempt to recreate the Berkeley ward climate.

  10. I have been on the road alot since the AML awards a few weeks ago.. I wanted to thank them for reaching out and seeing the value of Happy Valley! Yes, it was a stretch and is an important movie. It was never produced to put any of us in “defense mode” regarding our beliefs! I truly admire and respect AML for taking a stand. I am still touched and moved my the award. HV continues to now touch the world.. thank you again! with love and gratitude, ron williams

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