February 3, 2011

Thursday Authorial: The Whitney Awards

The Whitney Awards is a program founded for the purpose of promoting stronger writing in the LDS literary community. Like other awards programs, titles are nominated (in this case fiction titles written by LDS authors and released that year), placed in genres, and are put through a voting process by readers and the numerous members of LDStorymakers. Hundreds of titles are submitted every year and though the program is only a few years old, writers are seeing the bar raised, and it is easier to see the quality that is now expected in LDS literature. Whether it is easier to obtain that quality in our own writing is up to us and our willingness to learn, try, write write write, and submit*.

Side note: *Submission is a great word for what you do when you present a ms to an agent or publisher. You not only hand in your attempt, but you have to be ready to submit to feedback, criticism, compromise, or rejection. And when I say submit to rejection, I only mean take another look at the ms and who you're submitting to, and try again.

The 2010 Whitney Award Finalists have been announced. It's an exciting list for me for several reasons. First, this is the first year I have authors I consider friends on the list! It changes the experience a bit to feel a thrill for people you care about. Second, I have actually read 7 of the finalist books! That may not sound like much when it is 7/35, but last year I had only read 2 (G.G. Vandagriff's THE LAST WALTZ and David J. West's HEROES OF THE FALLEN). I did, however, read more titles after the winners were announced, which is one of the great things to come out of the awards program. For more on the Whitney Awards and how they work, see here, and here.
This year's list has already inspired me to add to my to-read list. The competition is tight and varying, and not limited to LDS published titles. It blows me away how many nationally published best-sellers are written by LDS authors. A cousin asked me for a YA reading list for her daughter. It was packed with LDS authors. James Dashner (MAZE RUNNER), Shannon Hale (GOOSE GIRL), Kiersten White (PARANORMALCY), AprilynnePike (WINGS), Ally Condie (MATCHED), and more.

The bar is rising.

Here is a list of the nominees in their categories (the titles I've read are highlighted):

2010 Whitney Award Finalists

Band of Sisters Blink of an Eye The Cross Gardener Finding Mercie Lucky Change
Annette Lyon Gregg Luke Jason Wright Blaine Yorgason Susan Law Corpany
Alma The Younger Oh Say Can You See? The Sheen on the Silk The Silence of God Trespass
H.B. Moore L.C. Lewis Anne Perry Gale Sears Sandra Grey
Courting Miss Lancaster Cross My Heart The Legend of Shannonderry Luck of the Draw Meg’s Melody
Sarah Eden Julie Wright Carol Warburton Rachael Renee Anderson Kaylee Baldwin
Cold as Ice Crossfire Murder by Design A Time to Die Wrong Number
Stephanie Black Traci Hunter Abramson Betsy Brannon Green Jeffrey Savage Rachelle J. Christensen
Imprints Mr. Monster Pathfinder The Scorch Trials The Way of Kings
Rachel Ann Nunes Dan Wells Orson Scott Card James Dashner Brandon Sanderson
Youth Fiction—Speculative
Fablehaven 5 Matched Paranormalcy The Forbidden Sea The Fourth Nephite
Brandon Mull Ally Condie Kiersten White Sheila Nielson Jeffrey Savage
Youth Fiction—General
Glimpse Missing In Action My Double Life The Healing Spell Wolves, Boys, and Other Things That Might Kill Me
Carol Lynch Williams Dean Hughes Janette Rallison Kimberly Griffiths Little Kristen Chandler

 Good luck to all the nominees, and thank you for setting a higher standard!

Oh, and LDStorymakers is having a contest.  
Win a ticket to the Whitney Awards Gala! It's the crowning event of the LDStorymakers Writers Conference!


Shanda said...

7 down isn't bad at all. I still have 22 to read, and some that are part of a series I want to go back and reread to refresh my memory.

I look forward to seeing your name up there someday!

Alex J. Cavanaugh said...

My apologies, but I had to check out the website, as I'd never heard LDS before. Now I know!

Krista said...

Thanks, Shanda! That would be kind of awesome.

Alex, now you do! I'm glad you looked it up. Sorry for the confusion.

Sara B. Larson said...

It's fun when you know the nominees! These awards are great. Hopefully we'll be joining those ranks someday, too, right? :)

Krista said...

Right, Sara!

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