Melissa Leilani Larson
Hi, my name is Mel and I'm a writer. Feel free to browse the site to learn more about me and my work. Thanks for stopping by!
Mel has been selected to receive the 2018 Smith-Pettit Award for Outstanding Contribution to Mormon Letters. This is a huge and unexpected honor. The award will be presented at the Association for Mormon Letters annual conference in Berkeley, CA in March 2019.
Jane and Emma won the jury-selected Best Feature Film Award as well as the Audience Award at the 2019 LDS Film Festival. Mel participated on a panel discussing the current state of LDS Cinema. When asked what she most wanted to see in future LDS films, Mel said that the Church is global: “All of our art needs to be better at reflecting that… We have a very diverse audience. We should be telling more diverse stories.”
Mel will adapt Rabindranath Tagore’s classic play The Post Office as part of a UN conference coming to Salt Lake City in the summer 2019. The play will feature a cast of local high school students.
Mel’s book of two plays Third Wheel is presently on sale for $7.95. It’s available in both paperback and ebook, so grab a copy today! If you’re on the fence, Rebecca Child Bateman says in her GoodReads review, “Larson's characters are beautifully human, relatable, complex, recognizable. Her writing is clean, natural, and intelligent. She has taken two groups of very real Mormon families and thrown them into (not so far-fetched) situations that create a wonderful TENSION…. Larson's plays are a perfectly matched set. She has pulled open the curtains on the next door neighbor and the one up the street and let us peer inside. Or, perhaps it is our own blinds drawn, our own vulnerability revealed to the neighbors.”
Acting as Utah’s Proxy Regional Rep for the Dramatist Guild, Mel attended the DG’s annual meeting in February, rubbing elbows with fabulous playwrights like Lynn Nottage, Lisa Kron, and Doug Wright. She has written two articles for the Guild’s magazine, The Dramatist, this past year. The most recent details the beginnings of the Great Salt Lake Fringe and the other celebrates Mel’s colleague Rachel Bublitz and her Submission Mission.
Mel was interviewed about being a playwright and screenwriter for the website AspiringMormonWomen.org.
Mel wrote the screenplay for Jane and Emma, a new film about the friendship between Black LDS pioneer Jane Manning James and the first president of the Relief Society, Emma Hale Smith, coming to Blu-ray and DVD March 12. You can pre-order the Blu-ray here or on iTunes. Check out the trailer: