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For week ended February 27, 2000 Posted 24 Feb 2001
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Summarized by Kent Larsen

Five Books Earn AML Awards for 1999
Kent Larsen 22Feb00 A4

SALT LAKE CITY, UTAH -- The Association of Mormon Letters recognized five works published by Mormon authors during 1999 as the best works of the year during its annual conference on Saturday. The Association seeks to recognize the best in Mormon literature and promote Mormon literature through its symposia, conferences, workshops, magazine "Irreantum" and through its other programs. The AML conference was held Saturday at Westminister College in Salt Lake.

The awards were given in five different categories; Devotional Literature, Drama, Essay, Novel and Short Story. The awards were as follows:

Devotional Literature:
* LDS Apostle Neal A. Maxwell for "One More Strain of Praise"

* BYU Professor Eric Samuelsen for "The Way We're Wired"

* Martha Nibley Beck for "Expecting Adam"

* Anne Perry for "Tathea"

Short Story:
* Mary Clyde for "Survival Rates"

Maxwell's "One More Strain of Praise" was recognized by the Association as a classic example of Maxwell's unique writing. He has been called the LDS C.S. Lewis and the LDS Augustine, and the AML says that touches of both can be found in his writing. It says that his writing is "buoyant without being glib, intelligent without being arch, and always heartfelt without being maudlin."

Samuelsen's "The Way We're Wired" was produced at BYU in May 1999. The AML praised the play for "taking us deeply and satisfyingly into the minds and hearts of real people, posing as theatrical characters; lets us take the measure of their pain and joy; and causes us to discover that they are us." Samuelsen, who is undoubtedly one of the finest LDS playwrights ever, takes contemporary Mormon life to a new level, "where the coinage is neither propaganda nor criticism, but, actually, love."

Beck's "Expecting Adam," gained national notoriety, and is exemplary for its Mormon outlook in spite of the author's desire to put Mormonism behind her. The daughter of well-known BYU professor and LDS author Hugh Nibley, Beck attacks the intellectual establishment at Harvard for its inability to see that her then unborn downs-syndrome child had value and shouldn't be aborted. LDS readers will also find in the book many "beliefs most of us still dress in other language but still admit into our family of phenomena."

Perry's "Tathea" is the first LDS-oriented novel by this well-known mystery writer. The AML says that in the book "Fundamental gospel concepts come into focus through the under-utilized but fully apt lens of epic story-telling." While the book is classified as fantasy by many, the AML says that "to call it escapist fantasy, or place it in any pigeonhole at all, is to minimize its accomplishment. It is genre-busting fiction at its best."

Clyde's "Survival Rates" represents the third time that an LDS author has wone the Flannery O'Connor Award for Short Fiction. The additional AML award shows that this is no fluke. Clyde's stories are "wonderfully human, universal, guardedly hopeful, and always important, incisive, of good report, and praiseworthy -- as good as it gets -- we seek after her work." Her characters are "believable but ordinary people who are trying to learn what survival means in harsh world where, after all, no one survives for very long." And the New York Times said "Although the stories here are all strong, a few are splendid."


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Expecting AdamMore about "Expecting Adam" at

TatheaMore about "Tathea" at

Survival RatesMore about "Survival Rates" at

Copyright 1998, 1999, 2000, 2001 Kent Larsen · Privacy Information