Thank you to everyone who read the finalists in this year’s contest. We love sharing these pieces with you! It's wonderful to see voters support their favorite writers and discover new voices. We're now ready to announce the Audience Choice winner and our Judges' Choice award.
Audience Choice Award
In audience voting, the top four pieces are:
“The Cost” by Liz Busby
“Nine Sunsets” by Chanel Earl
“This Time and This Season” by Chanel Earl
“Refried Dreams” by Cristie Cowles Charles
In addition to the audience choice award, we ask a guest judge to honor another piece for its quality of writing. This year's guest judge is Theric Jepson. Theric is the current editor-in-chief of the Latter-day Saint literary magazine Irreantum, a past Mormon Lit Blitz finalist, and the author of the novels Byuck and Just Julie's Fine. This year's judge's choice award goes to:
“The Cost” by Liz Busby
Look: there are no stinkers among these twelve. But what I was most attracted to (and affected by) as I read through the entries was a series of pieces that seem in deliberate conversation with each other. Strong feminine narrators. Prose sculpted into the shape of songs. Are they essay or fiction or poetry? I say yes. Each stands strong on its own but together they make a symphony of meaning, and the most difficult part of my choice was choosing from among them a favorite.
And that favorite is “The Cost.”
This piece (by an author whose identity I am excited to learn) arrives in three movements, moving backward through mythic time and, when it arrives at the beginning of all things, exploding outward, giving us our entire world and our future. The structure is tight but feels loose and friendly. It draws us in, like a gentle whirlpool, sweeping us closer and closer to the center, where blooms a divine flower. On the way, it reveals the beauties and horrors of motherhood in a fallen world. And how our short sight prevents us from knowing all we wish we knew. Yet, these failures cannot prevent us from feeling what “The Cost” asks us to feel.
The final feeling, the one it leaves us with, moves past all the scratches and jealousies and hospital bills mortality throws at us. It reminds us that these wonderful, awful, terrible, awesome, staggering moments we’re stumbling through are part of our redemption, part of our eternity—an eternity built one precious baby at a time.
- - - - - Theric Jepson
Theric Jepson is the author of Byuck and Just Julie’s Fine. He is the current editor of Irreantum, where he hopes that all Mormon Lit Blitz participants will come next to read what is written and to write what will be published next.
Remember that submissions for the Fourteenth Annual Mormon Lit Blitz writing contest are due on 31 March 2024 to firstname.lastname@example.org. Submitted works may be in any genre so long as they are under 1,000 words and designed to resonate in some way with a Latter-day Saint audience. Submissions may be written in any language. Previously published material and simultaneous submissions are acceptable. Up to three submissions are allowed per author. Full submission guidelines will be the same as for this contest...see guidelines here.