When Mormon Artists Group was founded in 1999, the majority of its early participants were writers. Since then, we have created projects with 82 artists. Therefore, it is surprising that we have never published a book of original fiction, until now. For our thirtieth project, we present a novella by Luisa Perkins, Prayers in Bath. It is accompanied by four commissioned paintings by Jacqui Larsen. This prospectus contains an overview of the novella, excerpts, advance praise for the book, and information on the publication and its creators.


PRAYERS IN BATH

After several attempts at in vitro fertilization, Ted and Julia Taylor are out of money and out of hope. In an attempt to shake herself out of her depression, Julia accepts an internship on an archaeological dig in Bath, England. When she finds an ancient scroll while working in the sewer connected to the Roman baths, she sneaks it back to her flat, translates it, and discovers a secret previously lost in the shadows of legend. But her new knowledge poses significant risks, and the repercussions leave her career, her faith, and her marriage hanging in the balance.


LUISA PERKINS

Educated at Brigham Young University and Vermont College of Fine Arts, Luisa Perkins has always been intrigued by the power of language to inspire, reveal, and transform. She is the author of the novels Dispirited and The Book of Jer3miah: Premonition as well as several short stories and essays.


JACQUI LARSEN

Jacqui Larsen, a painter and mixed-media artist, has received a number of grants and awards, including two Utah Visual Arts Fellowships (1996 and 2006), and an artist’s residency fellowship from The Anderson Center in Red Wing, Minnesota.  Her work has appeared in many literary journals, including Gettysburg Review, Rattle, and Tampa Review, as well as on the covers of three University of Tampa poetry collections by her husband, Lance Larsen.  She is represented by Meyer Gallery in Park City, Utah.


ADVANCE PRAISE FOR PRAYERS IN BATH

A moving journey into the interior landscape of a private grief observed and a wounded faith examined, as well as a sensitive exploration of inclusion and alienation within a Mormon marriage, family, and community. Prayers in Bath tugs the reader deep down into its complex heroine’s grief, emptiness, and reawakening—deep down into the silt in the aqueducts under ancient Bath that just might bring forth miracles.

- Julie Berry, author of The Passion of Dolssa


Luisa Perkins is among a handful of first-rate authors whose work I read as soon as it appears. Her stories are always well-written, compelling, and rewarding. Most important they are character-driven stories that make me think—even long after the story has ended. Prayers in Bath is no exception. It’s Perkins at the height of her craft. Don’t miss this one. Frankly don’t miss anything she writes.

- Steven L. Peck, author of A Short Stay in Hell and The Scholar of Moab


Compact and compelling, Prayers in Bath challenges the reader to ask “What if...?” What if faith leads to unexpected ends? What if light and knowledge don’t come from the sources we’re conditioned to look to? What if that source is a woman? The story deftly challenges readers to face questions and discomforts—with the process of revelation, with disappointed faith, with women’s spiritual callings—and takes us out of the safety of routine answers by reframing them in a textured, contemporary context. This is a highly original story executed by an exceptionally skilled hand.

- Neylan McBaine, author of Women at Church


DESIGN

The layout for Prayers in Bath was designed by Cameron King. Its text is set in Chronicle Deck and Calibre, printed on Mohawk Superfine text weight paper by an Epson Artisanal inkjet printer. The bookcloth is Asahi silk with inlays and onlays on the front cover. The graphics elements throughout the book draw from artist Jacqui Larsen’s paintings for the the work. She describes her process:

When I read the novella Prayers in Bath, I was intrigued by how contemporary life intersected with historical artifacts and legends. Wanting to echo those intersections in this series of paintings, I began by looking through my collage materials. As one who collects European ephemera until my pockets bulge, I had plenty to look through. In a serendipitous moment, I came across some fragments of hand-marbled paper and 19th-century landscape engravings that would dovetail nicely with Prayers in Bath. I then layered color, lyrics from a William Blake poem referenced in the novella, and a network of circles.  Circles as halos, circles as fields of vision, even circles as worlds or realms—the ones we live in and others yet to be explored.


Prayers in Bath is available as a limited edition volume (50 copies for sale) and a commercial paperback.


The published work is 9.25” x 6.25”, 128 pp., handsewn and bound by Glen Nelson, signed and numbered by the author in an edition of 50. A commercial paperback edition is being produced to coincide with the publication of the novella, which is available from Amazon.


Limited edition - $150

Paperback - $14.95

Original paintings - $1,600 each


Note: Paperback available from Amazon.com


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