Sunstone Kirtland and The Garden of Enid

AMVLast weekend I had the chance to attend this year’s regional Sunstone Symposium in Kirtland. I initially had not planned to attend, but after I published three cartoons in the recent issue of Sunstone, the director of the symposium invited me to give a presentation on The Garden of Enid. I gladly accepted.

Kirtland is four hours northeast of my home. Travelling with limited funds, I left at 4:30 in the morning and drove non-stop to the Stannard Stone Quarry in Chapin Forest Reservation, where the early Saints quarried stone for the temple, just two miles south of Kirtland. I had an hour to wait before the symposium, so I grabbed my camera and took a mile-long trail through the forest, hoping to see something neat–like a rock formation. The trail was all trees and moss, however, until I found the quarry itself in a creek a few muddy steps off the beaten path. A few years back, the Church and the local government had put up signage and built a wooden walkway over the creek–perhaps to prevent visitors from climbing down into the creek itself, as I was doing, to get a better view of the chisel marks in the algae-covered stone.

After snapping more pictures than I’ll ever need of the quarry, I hiked back to my car and drove to the Community of Christ’s Kirtland Temple Visitor’s Center, the conference venue, where I picked up my name tag and pocketed a few free copies of Sunstone and an old collection of Mormon cartoons by Calvin Grondahl. From there I headed to the main classroom to wait for the conference keynote address to begin and feel guilty about not making better small talk with strangers.

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Spring poetry, Writers for Young Readers venue change, Flickering, Bali and more

Cleaning out the mailbox/list of stuff I’ve been saving for a links post…

Spring Poetry Runoff

If you haven’t yet made it over to Wilderness Interface Zone for the second annual Spring Poetry Runoff, you should check it out. At last count, Patricia has 23 poems from 13 different poets lined up. The runoff is going to go well in to late April this year.

Looking for the Writing and Illustrating for Young Readers Conference?

It’s not being held at BYU this year — but it will be held. Check out the For Young Readers website for details. In brief, it’s going to be June 14-18 at the Waterford School in Sandy, Utah. The high number of active Utah-based writers and illustrators who focus on work for young readers means that you are going to get great panels and good networking opportunities so if you have an interest in the field, check it out.

Flickering hits the stage

Melissa Larson’s next play “A Flickering.” will have performances April 8-19 in the Provo Theatre. Here’s how Mel describes the play: “The play is set in New York in 1916. Max is a young woman trying to break into the infant movie industry while her best friend Samantha is on her way to a successful theatrical acting career. But controversy fuels the success of Max’s first film, at the risk of Samantha’s reputation — and their friendship.” Ticket info and show times at

Island of Bali is Littered with Prayers paperback

Remember the excellent interview and awesome excerpt AMV ran a few months back about BYU musicologist Jeremy Grimshaw’s The Island of Bali is Littered with Prayers? Well Mormon Artists Group has sold out of the limited collector’s edition of the book and so has now brought it out in paperback.

BYU Studies reviews Thayer’s latest

Philip A. Snyder has posted an in-depth look at Douglas Thayer’s latest novel The Treehouse over at the BYU Studies website. Snyder does an excellent job of situating the novel in the context of Thayer’s body of work. He also notes that Zarahemla Books (which has published Thayer’s last two works) will be coming out with a collection of new short stories later this year. And Snyder ends the review with a sentiment I very much agree with: “With Thayer in his eightieth year and contemplating retirement from BYU, now would be a perfect time to reissue his work so general readers, as well as scholars, could review the very fine career of a pioneering writer of Mormon and other western fiction. Thayer and his writing deserve no less than that.” The Treehouse is available from the Zarahemla Books website.

Segullah on the Whitney finalists

Emily M. and Shelah discuss their favorite finalists in each of the Whitney Awards categories over at Segullah. Although I don’t agree with all of their picks (more on that later), on the whole, I think their sensibilities are well in line with those of most AMV readers and am in awe of their ability to read every single finalist. If you are looking to dip your toe in to LDS fiction, Emily and Shelah’s picks are a good place to start.

And that’s all for now. I will continue to post a links roundup from time-to-time, but the best way to receive timely info on the cool stuff that crosses my transom is to follow AMV on Twitter.

Book of Mormon fiction contest, AML annual meeting

AMV bloggers and friends are taking part in two interesting Mormon literature events this week, and I invite all our readers to participate as well.

LDS Publisher contest

Voting recently opened in LDS Publisher’s Book of Mormon Story Contest. The contest features young adult fiction stories with a Book of Mormon setting by both published and unpublished authors. Theric Jepson and I both submitted entries as did AMV reader/commenter David J. West. A few other AMV readers may also have participated (if so, let us know in the comments). And no, we aren’t going to tell which stories are ours — that’s against the rules.

Now, you may be asking yourself: do I really want to wade through 26 pieces of fiction (16 if you just read and vote for the published authors)? Probably not, but you should anyway — some stories are better than others, but all of them are interesting in how the engage with the Book of Mormon.

AML Annual Meeting

The Association for Mormon Letters will hold its annual meeting this Saturday, Feb. 27, at Utah Valley University Library in Orem. The theme of the program is “”˜One Eternal Round’: Mormon Literature Past, Present, and Future” and AMVers Tyler Chadwick, Harlow Clark, Patricia Karamesines and Katherine Morris will all be presenting. So will other folks whose names should be familiar to our readers — in particular: Lisa Tait, Ardis Parshall, Gideon Burton, Angela Hallstrom, Lee Allred and James Goldberg. If you are within driving distance, you should go — not only because of the interesting presentations and excellent company, but also because the meeting will feature a rare screening of the 1931 film “Corianton: A Story of Unholy Love.”

Review: LDS Writer’s Market Guide 2010

Mormon Media Market (1981)
Mormon Media Market (1981)

When I was a student at BYU some enterprising student published a hardcover guide titled The Mormon Media Market, which followed the model of the Writer’s Digest annual guide Writer’s Market (now the subject of numerous spin-offs and copy-cat works). I thought at the time that this was a good idea, although it was clear from the content in the book that there wasn’t much of a market.

That has changed in the more than 20 years since that guide was published, and WindRiver Publishing is proving it, with the second (2010) edition of its LDS Writer’s Market Guide – 2010.

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