The first weekend in May generally is the most exciting of the year for LDS writers and readers. It's the date of the annual LDStorymakers' Writing Conference held in Utah, which concludes with the Whitney Awards Gala where the best of the previous year's fiction written by LDS authors is honored.
The conference boasts an impressive slate of workshop presenters, some of whom have burst onto the NYT bestseller list like James Dashner, and others are on the NYT watchlist for stardom like Jeff Savage.
Aspiring authors and published authors come to network and improve their skills. Agents from some of the best agencies, and publishers looking for the next hit come as well to have authors pitch their newest stories. It's like a word-nerd camp where the best and the most creative walk away with awards, contracts, or maybe requests from an agent for a good look-see at their "baby."
The capstone event of the weekend is the Whitney Gala where the best novels written by LDS authors in the previous year are honored. I had the privilege of being a finalist last year for "Oh, Say Can You See?" and it was like a dream come true. This year's award winners are listed below. Any of these would make outstanding reads to add to your list or shelf.
Visit http://ldstorymakers.com/ to get info on the next conference, or on how to join this writers' guild. For LDS women writers, let me also suggest you check out the American Night Writers Association. This group is extremely supportive for LDS women writers, and they too hold an outstanding writers conference, but in February.
Congratulations to all the Whitney Award winners who were honored last night, and to the wonderful books they brought to us in 2011. I am privileged to call many of them friends.
And now, the Whitney winner of 2011 are:
Best Novel of the Year: “I Don’t Want to Kill You”
by Dan Wells
Best Novel by a New Author: “With a Name Like Love”
by Tess Hilmo
Best General Fiction: “Before I Say Goodbye”
by Rachel Ann Nunes
Best Historical: “Letters in the Jade Dragon Box”
by Gale Sears
Best Romance: :Borrowed Light:
by Carla Kelly
Best Mystery/Suspense: “Rearview Mirror”
by Stephanie Black
Best Youth Fiction – General: “With a Name Like Love”
by Tess Hilmo
Best Youth Fiction – Speculative: “Variant”
by Robison Wells
Best Speculative Fiction: “The Alloy of Law: A Mistborn Novel”
by Brandon Sanderson