Today is the big day many LDS readers and writers have been waiting for: the announcement of the 2008 Whitney Award finalists!
Spires of Stone was a Whitney finalist last year, and I couldn't have been more thrilled over that. Whitney committee members aren't eligible for the award, and since I didn't have an '08 release (so wasn't eligible anyway), I offered to serve on the '08 committee. Among other things, it meant I got to be a judge for two of the categories.
It's been a fantastic experience so far. I've had the opportunity to read a lot of books I never would have picked up otherwise, books nominated by readers.
That's how the program works; it's reader-driven. So if you think an '09 release by any LDS writer deserves to be considered, whether they publish in the LDS market or the national one, nominate it!
Some of the books have been stellar. Some . . . haven't been. But every book taught me something.
I believe the existence of the Whitneys (the brainchild of Robison Wells who has put in hundreds and hundreds of hours of work into it) will make writers and publisher up their game, continually improving the quality of their fiction. It'll also help readers looking for quality LDS fiction to find it.
The next step is when the Whitney academy, made up of hundreds of industry professionals (writers, editors, reviewers, bookstore owners, publishers, etc.) read and then vote on the finalists. They'll cast ballots in several genre categories (General, Romance, Speculative, Youth Fiction, Mystery/Suspense, and Historical) as well as for Best Novel of the Year and Best Novel by a New Author. The Whitney Gala will be in April after the LDStorymakers conference.
I can't wait!
Even though it's too late to nominate a book for the 2008 award, be sure to keep the Whitneys in mind as you read throughout '09. You can nominate all year long at the Whitney website.
A big congratulations to all the finalists!
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