Interview with Joy Buhler on Mormon literature

William talks the great Mormon novel with Joy Buhler and finds about her AML Conference paper on the subject.

When I heard that Joy Buhler was going to present on the great LDS novel at the AML annual meeting this year, I made a note to hit her up for an AMV interview. Mainly because I knew that I wouldn’t be there and so wouldn’t get to hear what she had to say. So I tracked down her email and requested an interview.

Originally from Vernal, Utah, Joy graduated from Utah State University with a B.A. in Political Science (and a minor in Spanish). She holds an MPA from George Mason University and has lived in Washington D.C. for ten years, where she currently works in HR Policy at the Department of the Interior. She blogs at Sherpa’s Wonderin’s.

What made you decide to tackle the topic of the “Great LDS Novel” for the AML Conference?

I wrote about Jerry Johnston’s column when it came out in 2009. When I read that AML was looking for papers for their annual conference, a paper on Mr. Johnston’s column seemed like a natural fit.  The paper is my introduction to LDS literature and the core concept of the paper, doubt, is fascinating to me from the LDS perspective. Continue reading “Interview with Joy Buhler on Mormon literature”

Angela Hallstrom and the Art of Short-Story Arrangement


This is the third and final entry in this series. The first part of our interview was about Ms Hallstom’s novel-in-stories Bound on Earth. The second was about her editorship of the literary journal Irreantum. This third portion is about the short-story collection, Dispensation: Latter-day Fiction, that she edited for Zarahemla Books (review).

Dispensation:Latter-day Fiction

Let’s start with what criteria a story had to meet to even be considered for inclusion. What were the ground rules going in to this anthology? Continue reading “Angela Hallstrom and the Art of Short-Story Arrangement”

Why we need not worry about the Great Mormon Novel

Although Jerry Johnston’s column is provocative, and Dallas’ post (salty language warning) and Shawn’s AMV post in reply are very interesting, I have to admit a bit of weariness over this whole Great Mormon Novel trope. As Shawn points out, the whole idea that Mormons can’t produce great literature goes way back. It’s always a good one to bring up when you want to stir up debate, and it’s particularly delicious in the Mormon context (for let’s be clear — the whole idea that of whether a people can or can not produce literary genius is by no means unique to Mormonism) because you have the excommunication thing to work with.

Here’s why the whole idea is completely misguided: Continue reading “Why we need not worry about the Great Mormon Novel”