The Last 20 Years in Mormon Lit: Major Developments

1.4.10 | | 10 comments
What are some of the major developments in Mormon literature over the past 20 years? Being under the painfully pleasant necessity of writing a short article (500-1000 words) during the next week on Mormon literature for a forthcoming reference work, this is something I’ve had occasion to ponder. I have an excellent source for up to about 1990 with the articles that were written for the Encyclopedia of Mormonism, but there’s an awful lot that has happened since then.
Items that come to mind include the following:
- Richard Dutcher and the “Mormon movie phenomenon”
- Consolidation of mainstream Mormon publishers (and the two major bookstore chains) under Deseret Books
- Startup of Shadow Mountain press
- Startup of Irreantum
- The Whitney Awards
- The Mormon literature database
- Ongoing success of LDS authors in the world of mainstream genre fiction, particularly sf&f (e.g., Brandon Sanderson, Stephenie Meyer, Dave Farland, and the continuing success of Orson Scott Card)
- Online discussions of Mormon literature, including AML-List and the subsequent development of literarily oriented blogs such as AMV, the Red Brick Store, and AML’s own new blog–together with the prevalence of less formal Mormon book blogs and the like
- (Possibly) the startup of Zarahemla and Parables as publishers

So: What do you think are some major developments that MUST be included in any summary of Mormon literature? And which literary artists, critics, editors, works, and websites MUST be mentioned?

10 comments: “The Last 20 Years in Mormon Lit: Major Developments

  1. Wm Morris

    This seems to be rather 2000s focused. I think you’d have to include the three short story and poetry and criticism anthologies of the ’90s as well as the Mormon literature-themed edition of Dialogue and the Literaturstreit between Jorgansen and Cracroft.

  2. Katya

    Didn’t The New Era quit publishing fiction in the last 20 years?

  3. Clark

    You know Netflix has a list now where you can see what movies people in your area are renting. I was amazed how many people in Utah are renting those Mormon flicks. The Company of Angels, a recent one about sister missionaries was 1 or 2 in the most rented movies in Utah from Netflix. Very surprising.

    I was going to joke about the death of Mormon Cinema until I saw that. (And it wasn’t the only Mormon movie in the top 20)

  4. Clark

    BTW – I’d say you left off the rise of Amazon and the ease of getting various Mormon books anywhere.

  5. Kent Larsen

    It would be good to also recognize the rise of both print-on-demand and ebooks, both of which have made it easier to get a work in print. The pairing of print-on-demand with national distribution (as happens with LightningSource/Ingram) resulted in the number of new titles each year increasing from 100,000 to 500,000 from 1998 to 2008.

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