The winners of the first-ever Whitney Awards for LDS fiction were announced last weekend at the conclusion of the LDStorymakers conference in Sandy, Utah.

Named for Orson F. Whitney, a writer and apostle in The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints at the turn of the century, the awards were created to honor outstanding novels by LDS authors by providing them recognition and cash prizes, according to a news release from the organization.

Novels released between Jan. 1, 2007, and December 31, 2007, were nominated by readers and the selections were then narrowed down to five books per category by a panel of judges. The finalists were voted on by an academy of 285 people, including members of the LDStorymakers, publishers and critics.

Seven authors were awarded Whitneys and cash prizes, along with three lifetime achievement awards that were given to authors who paved the way for future LDS authors, and have contributed to the success of the LDS market, according to the release.

The winners were (with prize money in parentheses):

Romance/women's fiction: "Counting Stars," by Michele Paige Holmes ($500)

Mystery/suspense: "Sheep's Clothing," by Josi S. Kilpack ($500)

Young adult: "Fablehaven 2: Rise of the Evening Star," by Brandon Mull ($500)

Speculative fiction: "Book of a Thousand Days," by Shannon Hale ($500)

Historical fiction: "Out of Jerusalem: Land of Inheritance," by Heather Moore ($500)

Best book by a new author: "Dragon Slippers," by Jessica Day George ($1,000)

Novel of the year: "On the Road to Heaven," by Coke Newell ($1,000)

Lifetime achievement awards: Jennie Hansen, Anita Stansfield, Dean Hughes