Today Is the Day!

Today is the big day many LDS readers and writers have been waiting for: the announcement of the 2008 Whitney Award finalists!

Yay!

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!

Comments

Kristina P. said…
I've never even heard of these! Fun!
Heidi Ashworth said…
Oh, thanks for reminding me!!
Melanie J said…
I think the Whitney awards are a fabulous idea. I checked them out first thing this morning and was so excited to see that my critique partner, Aubrey Mace, is nominated in two categories! Yay! And now I have more books to add to my list. I'm pretty interested in taking a look at the Angela Hallstrom book. Might have to wander over to my local LDS dealer today...

Oh, and I saw that Heather Moore got a great review from Jennie Hansen so I might pick up Abinadai, too, even though it's not my usual thing.

Good job, you guys!
::Jan:: said…
You are such a bundle of new territory for me. I never know where we will travel in here. Loved knowing about how these awards work Annette.
Becky said…
I don't think my book worthy of nomination, but why is there no non-fiction category? Just wondering... I will definitely be adding some of these books to my "To-Read" list.
Annette Lyon said…
Becky,
Good question. One reason is that the point of the awards and why it was created was largely to improve the quality of LDS fiction and expand the LDS fiction market.

But at the same time, a non-fiction award would be a totally different animal--it would need its own awards system altogether with its own categories, because you couldn't very well include a diet book next to your book next to Elder Packer's latest doctrinal book. How do you compare such different kinds of works? (For that matter, how do you vote for one book, but against an apostle?)

The Whitneys are patterned after the Hugo and Nebula awards for Speculative Fiction in the national market. I'm unaware of a similar awards program for non-fiction--it would definitely have to be different.
Brooke said…
You know I would like to know the ones that haven't been stellar. But, I'm sure you are too nice to tell :) Thanks for the info. I can't wait to read these.
the letter Bee said…
I just got 2 of your books at the library over the weekend and I noticed that Spires of Stone was a Whitney finalist! Yay!

As a judge, how many books did you have to read?
Erin said…
What an exciting experience for you! I'll go check out the site now.
Kaylynn said…
How fun, what a great way to support authors!
Lara said…
Aha! That explains your avid reading of LDS fiction on goodreads...I was wondering about that.

Sounds like a wonderful organization, and how great to be so involved!
Cynthia said…
Sounds like a great group! My neighbor's book was doing quite well last she heard. I must guiltily (is that a word?) admit I haven't read her book though.

I'm happy to do a book spotlight for you on my blog whenever you need it- just let me know what date you'd like me to do it.
LisAway said…
Thanks for this post. I now have a much better understanding of how those awards work. What a terrific idea. I just love that LDS authors have this great way to encourage and support each other and spread the word about the good stuff that's out there!
Jenn said…
that's so neat. I'm heading to their website now. fun fun.
wenderful said…
Thanks for stopping by! I didn't know about these awards either but I will go and see what I can find. I'm always on the lookout for good reading, especially for my 13 year old daughter.
Julie Wright said…
the whitney's rock!!!
Heffalump said…
It's nice to get more info about what the Whitneys entail. Sounds like you are having fun with it!
Emily M. said…
Thanks for all the work you've put into this! And congratulations to the nominees!

(And, if anyone wants to read Bound on Earth, I recommend Amazon; it's not available in Deseret Book or Seagull as far as I know.)
An Ordinary Mom said…
I am off to check out the list ...

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