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|
|Fablehaven 5||Matched||Paranormalcy||The Forbidden Sea||The Fourth Nephite|
|Brandon Mull||Ally Condie||Kiersten White||Sheila Nielson||Jeffrey Savage|
|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!