10/6/08

Submission Opportunity

Dear LDS Publisher:

I was referred to you by Laura Craner and wonder if you might help me promote something that I think is a worthwhile enterprise, especially in light of your site's interest in Mormon culture. My proposal is as follows (an invitation originally posted on A Motley Vision just yesterday):

Call for Submissions

Sensing a lack of critical (as in the literary sense) approaches to Stephenie Meyer, her work, and their cultural connections in the general Twilight discourse, I've put together (with Laura Craner's editing help and William Morris' technical assistance) an online, open access literary journal in an effort to bridge that gap. It's called Reading Until Dawn: Critical Essays on Stephenie Meyer.

Knowing that there are people out there who can bring critical insight and textually supported readings to this conversation, we're extending an invitation for critical essays to be published in the first issue, "The Persistence of Stephenie Meyer". Whether you consider yourself academic or amateur, you can submit as many essays as you want.

What We're Looking For

We're looking for well-written essays that thoughtfully explore the Twilight novels and their reception and that contribute critical dimensions to our understanding of Meyer's work and her place in contemporary American, world, and even, since Meyer has been so open about her Mormon-ness, Latter-day Saint culture and literature. Contributors need not be LDS or be major fans (or detractors) of Meyer's work. We're simply looking for submissions that say something interesting about the novels.

Submissions, Issue Close Date, and Contact Info

If you're interested in contributing (or know someone who might be), please refer to this Introduction to catch scent of our rationale and submit your essays (of between 2,500 and 5,000 words, in Microsoft Word, RTF, or WordPerfect format, and according to MLA bibliographic guidelines) according the procedures laid out here. Please include a brief bio statement to be published with your essay.

The essays for the first issue will be published as they're accepted and the first issue will be closed on January 15, 2009.

Any questions can be directed to me (Tyler) here.



Thanks for your consideration.

Tyler

5 comments:

Anonymous said...

What in the world does this have to do with LDS fiction or LDS publishing? This is amazingly goofy. Vampires? I just don't get it.

So if a Mormon writes a national best-seller about warewolves, does that make it suddenly a major topic for LDS fiction circles?

There is something strangely wrong with this. Something deep down in the gut wrong with this.

Wm Morris said...

This is no different from a journal calling for papers that analyze the work of Orson Scott Card. Which wouldn't be unusual at all -- his work has been the subject of presentations at the AML Conference and Life, the Universe and Everything, and papers (either referenced or as the focus) in all of the major Mormon journals.

Meyer's career is at an earlier point than OSC's, of course. But her work is also a) very popular in Mormon circles b) carried by Deseret Book and c) the subject of much debate on Mormon blogs. I don't currently plan on submitting anything, but I'm glad that Tyler and Laura are undertaking this project, and I sincerely hope that they get submissions from across the range of reactions to Meyer's work and their popularity in Mormondom.

I can appreciate your gut reaction, but a gut reaction doesn't really tell the rest of us much about why it feels wrong. And yes, if a Mormon wrote a national best-seller about werewolves that had the same popularity among Mormons and has been the subject of the same or similar types of discussions, then it would be a major topic for LDS fiction.

The Twilight series may not be "LDS fiction" but it is very much being read as LDS fiction.

Laura said...

Anon--I think you must look for something different when you pick up a book than what Tyler and I look for when we pick up a book. I enjoyed reading Meyer's novels on two levels. First as an interesting story and second as a cultural phenomenon. I loved being part of discussion with people who don't usually discuss books. I loved pushing myself and others to examine what we read and why. For me, those are all good "gut" reasons to put together a journal about her work. It's a great way to continue the discussion and to help readers push themselves a bit.

And William is right. Meyer is a national AND Mormon phenomenon. Because of her books Mormons and people of other faiths are having conversations they never would have had otherwise. Her writing does something worth examining.

You know, feel free to write an essay about how you disagree and, if it has some scholarly merit, we might just include it in the journal!

BTW, you know there are werewolves in her books, right? So some Mormon already did write a bestseller about werewolves.

William Morris said...

::accuses Laura of being a Jacobite::

Tyler said...

Anon:

I second what William and Laura have said, though not because we're secretly plotting to overthrow Mormon arts and culture. Or are we...

My interest in Twilight, as I briefly explore in this short essay stems not simply from the fact that Meyer is a Mormon, although that is something of a factor. My greater fascination is that she's thrown Mormon culture onto the international scene in a way that no other LDS writer has done before, including Card. Laura and I felt that this was worth exploring. Hence the journal, which provides a place for people from all walks of life to find critical explorations of what Meyer has done with and in her work and everything surrounding it. (And I use critical in the positive sense of that term, as in analytical.)

While the response hasn't been overwhelming in any sense of the word, numerous individuals from across the country have expressed their interest in submitting their scholarly work, including someone who wrote their master's thesis on Meyer and her Mormonism. I'm actually exploring the story's Gothic connections and am interested in how Meyer has used or departed from these generic conventions, whether consciously or not, to create an interesting and appealing world.

Aside from all this, I'm interested in what it is that makes you feel that this project is "strangely wrong," whether from a literary or cultural or Mormon standpoint.