Wednesday, November 11, 2009


I'm not a member of LDStorymakers and I'm not on the Whitney Committee, but I feel strongly that the Whitney Awards are a needed way to honor LDS authors and promote clean fiction. Not many novels will be released between now and the end of the year, so now is a good time to look back over the novels by LDS authors that have arrived on bookstore shelves this year and pick out the ones most deserving of this honor. This means you. Because this award is highly dependent on reader input to be successful, there is a need for large numbers of readers both inside and outside the writing and publishing field to nominate the best books. A book must receive five separate nominations to be in the running.

The Whitney Awards were devized by a small committee sponsored by LDStorymakers, but is independent of that organization. This will be the third year to present the awards which are given in six categories plus an overall Best Novel of the Year.

For a novel to be considered for an award it must be written by an LDS author. It doesn't have to stick to LDS standards (personally, I think it should). It doesn't have to be published by an LDS publisher. It doesn't have to adhere to any established writing guidelines (though in most cases nominees are well written according to accepted literary standards). Anyone who profits from a particular novel such as the author or anyone in his or her household, the editor or publisher of the book or employees of the book's publishing house are ineligible to nominate the book. Friends can nominate so this an added reason nominations are needed from the general reading public. It would be a shame for an author who doesn't write too well, but who has lots of friends to be nominated while a great author was missed solely because everyone assumed he or she would get lots of nominations from someone else so why should they bother.

Below are the various categories. Get out your pen and make a list of the best books you've read this year in each category. If you think it's a tossup between two or three great mystery/suspense novels or any other category, nominate them all. You can nominate as many books as you like, but you can't nominate a single title more than once. Perhaps you're unsure which category a book fits in. That doesn't matter; you don't have to specify which genre a nominee should be placed in. And if you're like me, you won't always agree with the categories every book is paced in for the judging anyway.

Best Romance:

Best Mystery/Suspense:

Best Youth Fiction:

Best Speculative Fiction (This category includes sci-fi, fantasy, time travel, and last days fiction):

Best Historical:

Best General Fiction:

If you're wondering which books are eligible for nomination, there's a pretty complete list of novels written by LDS authors on LDS Publisher. You can also check reviews written by me for Meridian here to refresh your memory of stories written earlier in the year. I didn't review all of the eligible novels, but I did write reviews of a good share of them. Some books, though written by LDS authors aren't considered LDS novels and I don't review those.

All you need to do to nominate an author/title is go to this site and fill in the blanks. Be prepared to fill in title, author, and publisher. Let's give deserving authors/titles a resounding number of nominations. Don't let this piece of important business get lost in the coming holladay rush.


Melanie Goldmund said...

Well, I nominated every eligible book that I have read this year -- all four of them. :D

Stephanie Black said...

Good point about not assuming a book has been nominated. No matter how popular the book is, don't assume other readers have nominated it--go ahead and nominate it yourself. It only takes a few seconds to submit a nomination. I served on the Whitney Committee one year, and I think people would be surprised at a couple of popular books that didn't get five nominations.