Announcement: Living Faith Author Initiative Grant Recipients

06.08.2021 | The Maxwell Institute

The Neal A. Maxwell Institute for Religious Scholarship is pleased to announce the first writing grant recipients of the Living Faith Women Authors Initiative. The Initiative is designed to promote women’s voices and to support excellence in academic and religious writing.

Heather J. Chestnut

Heather J. Chestnut is a civil rights attorney with the Utah Attorney General’s Office, and before that was a criminal defense attorney for nearly 20 years. She raised three sons as a single mother, and later one daughter with her husband, Lee. Her roots are in the small mining and ranching community of Castle Dale, Utah, and she has enjoyed introducing her children and friends to the beauties of the nearby San Rafael Swell. She is writing a memoir about the human dynamics of the American criminal justice system.

Farina King, a citizen of the Navajo Nation, is Associate Professor of History and affiliated faculty of Cherokee and Indigenous Studies at Northeastern State University, Tahlequah, Oklahoma. She is also the director and founder of the NSU Center for Indigenous Community Engagement. She received her Ph.D. at Arizona State University in U.S. History. King specializes in twentieth-century Native American Studies. She is the author of The Earth Memory Compass: Diné Landscapes and Education in the Twentieth Century (2018) and co-author of the book Returning Home: Diné Creative Works from the Intermountain Indian School (November 2021). She will use her grant to work on an interview-informed biography of Navajos (Diné), including her family, who converted to The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints in the 1950s. 

Ariel Clark Silver

Ariel Clark Silver is the author of The Book of Esther and the Typology of Female Transfiguration in American Literature (Rowman & Littlefield, 2018) and a contributor to Esther in America (Maggid, 2020). She has twice received fellowships from the National Endowment for the Humanities. Her next major project, The Conversationalists, moves her work on American women from abolition to the progressive era. She holds a PhD in English, with a concentration in American Literature, from Claremont Graduate University and degrees in Religion & Biblical Literature from the University of Chicago and Smith College. She is writing a memoir, reflecting her life as a parent and scholar of religion and literature, as she examines the relationship between miracles and mercy in the aftermath of her son’s traumatic brain injury sustained while serving a mission for The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints.

The Living Faith series editors, Morgan Davis and Miranda Wilcox, are excited about the 2021 grant recipients’ work. Dr. Wilcox says, “Heather, Farina, and Ariel model courageous engagement with the world in response to God’s call to make a difference for good using their specific skills, strengths, and creativity.”

The Maxwell Institute plans to award writing grants to women authors over the next several years. Potential authors are encouraged to read the Living Faith series’ Author Guidelines before submitting a book proposal. Book proposals for next year’s grants are due on January 31, 2022.

(Receiving a grant does not constitute an agreement with the Maxwell Institute to publish the manuscript, nor does it require authors to publish with the Living Faith series. Book proposals and manuscripts are subject to the Maxwell Institute’s regular review process.)

About the Living Faith series

The Living Faith series was created in 2014 at the Maxwell Institute to offer young adults and their mentors the perspectives of Latter-day Saint scholars who integrate their academic and professional training with the principles and covenants of the restored gospel of Jesus Christ. This distinctive approach offers Latter-day Saint young adults and their mentors nourishing traveling companions on their journeys of faith. Each author personally models the conviction that to live both faithfully and thoughtfully as Latter-day Saints in the 21st century is a vocation worthy of serious reflection and joyful effort. Authors narrate their diverse paths of discipleship as they seek truth, navigate tension, and discover harmony in their rich integration of the life of the mind and things of the Spirit. They articulate expansive, confident, and generous testimonies—testimonies rooted in Jesus Christ and infused with visions of fresh and creative ways to faithfully follow the Savior.