This is the article I wrote for Meridian Magazine, but since my computer was messed up all last week and for technical reasons on the other end, it didn't happen, I decided to run it here. Google is giving me a bad time, so the pictures may not line up quite right and the captions keep disappearing. I'm just not very good at the technical end of blogging. Anyway before all of the Whitney shine for this year fades into the past, here goes:
General - Before I Say Goodbye by Rachel Ann Nunes
Eleven awards were given at the Whitney Awards Gala at the Provo Marriott Saturday night. Outstanding Achievement awards for contributions to LDS literature and for inspiring both readers and writers went to two retired professors and authors, Jack Weyland and Douglas Thayer. Weyland has taught at Ricks College (BYU-Idaho) and is the author of 25 books, including the immensely popular Charlie and Sam. Thayer taught at Brigham Young University. He has authored many short stories and three novels. Most of his written work carries a "coming of age" theme.
Neither of the Novel of the Year winning novels has any connection to the Church though both authors are LDS. Dan Wells won Novel of the year for his horror novel, I Don't Want to Kill You. Best Novel by a New Author went to Tess Hilmo for With a Name Like Love, an ageless story of compassion and making choices.
The contest is divided into seven categories with five judges with expertise in each specific genre narrowing the selections down to five for each category. At this point the voting is opened to members of LDStorymakers, representatives of bookstores and publishing companies, reviewers and bloggers who write reviews. Votes can only be cast by those who certify they have read all five finalists in a particular category. Voters can vote in as many categories as they are qualified by reading the five finalist novels. Only those who read all thirty-five of the finalists can vote for the best novel of the year categories, which usually isn't many voters.
All seven of the major categories were exceptionally well-represented this year, making choosing a single winner in each a difficult task. A complete list of finalists can be found at Whitney Finalists. Winners in each category for exceptional 2012 novels are:
Mystery/Suspense - Rearview Mirror by Stephanie Black
Speculative - The Alloy of Law by Brandon Sanderson
Speculative Youth Fiction - Variant by Robison Wells
General Youth Fiction - With a Name Like Love by Tess Hilmo
The general public is invited to submit nominations for next year's awards by going to the Whitney site or through links on many LDS writers' blogs including this one.