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Numerous University of Utah alumni are widely recognized for their achievements in the world of publishing.

Compiled by Marcia C. Dibble

The University of Utah has spawned a number of successful writers in genres ranging from science fiction to self-help. Here, a selection of scribes who have become household names, although readers might not know that each attended the U.

Orson Scott Card

Orson Scott Card MA’81
Card’s science fiction novel Ender’s Game (1985) and its sequel Speaker for the Dead (1986) both received Nebula (national) and Hugo (international) awards for best science fiction, two of the most prestigious honors in the genre, among other recognition. Card also writes contemporary fantasy, biblical novels, and a regular column on the Deseret News blog He has been recognized with other honors including several Locus Awards, and this year, received a Young Adult Library Services Association Margaret A. Edwards Award for Lifetime Contribution to Young Adult Literature for Ender’s Game and its “parallel,” Ender’s Shadow (1999). Card is a professor of writing and literature at Southern Virginia University.

Terry Tempest Williams

Terry Tempest Williams BS’79 MS’84
Williams achieved national recognition with Refuge: An Unnatural History of Family and Place (1991) and is the author of 15 other books, most recently Finding Beauty in a Broken World (October 2008). She has also contributed to numerous anthologies and journals and is a vocal proponent of ecological and social justice. Williams has testified before Congress on women’s health issues, been a guest at the White House, and even spent time in jail for acts of civil disobedience. She serves on the advisory boards of the National Parks Conservation Association, The Nature Conservancy, and the Southern Utah Wilderness Alliance. Currently the Annie Clark Tanner Scholar in Environmental Humanities at the U, Williams has been recognized with several honorary doctorates, a John Simon Guggenheim Fellowship in creative nonfiction, and the Distinguished Achievement Award from the Western American Literature Association.

Wallace Stegner

Wallace Stegner BA’30
Stegner’s numerous writings (novels, essays, and short stories) exhibit his lifelong interest in the environment and the unique qualities of the American West. In 1960, he wrote his Wilderness Letter, on the importance of federal protection of wild places, which was used to introduce the bill that established the National Wilderness Preservation System in 1964. In 1972, his novel Angle of Repose won the Pulitzer Prize for fiction. During the Kennedy administration, he served as assistant to the secretary of the interior, working on issues dealing with the expansion of the national parks. He was also closely involved with The Sierra Club and Wilderness Society. Stegner died in 1993 following an auto accident. At the U, The Wallace Stegner Center for Land, Resources and the Environment was founded in 1995 at the S. J. Quinney College of Law in recognition of the values it shares with the writer-activist. In celebration of the centennial of Stegner’s birth in 1909, the center is sponsoring a year of activities throughout 2008-09, including lectures, films, and a symposium.

Ron Carlson

Ron Carlson BA’70 MA’72
Carlson has written nine books of fiction, including the short story collections The Hotel Eden (1997), named Notable Book of the Year, and At the Jim Bridger (2002), selected as one of the best books of the year by The Los Angeles Times. His work has been published in various magazines including Esquire, Harper’s, and The New Yorker, and anthologies such as The Best American Short Stories and The Norton Anthology of Contemporary Fiction. He has been recognized with a National Endowment for the Arts Fellowship in Fiction and the Pushcart Prize. For more on Carlson, see the article “Left Foot, Right Foot” in the Fall 2007 Continuum.

Stephen Covey

Stephen Covey BS’53
Covey is author of the best-selling The Seven Habits of Highly Effective People (first published in 1989, with a new edition in 2004), among other books, several with sales well over a million copies each. Also a business consultant, Covey founded the former Covey Leadership Center and is vice chairman of the management and leadership development firm FranklinCovey Co. He was recognized by Time magazine in 1996 as one of the 25 most influential Americans. Covey’s latest book is The 8th Habit: From Effectiveness to Greatness (2004), a sequel to The Seven Habits. Covey holds an MBA from Harvard and a doctorate from Brigham Young University and has been recognized with numerous honors, including the Thomas More College Medallion for continuing service to humanity, the National Entrepreneur of the Year Lifetime Achievement Award for Entrepreneurial Leadership, and eight honorary doctoral degrees.

John Naisbitt

John Naisbitt BA’52
Known primarily for the internationally best-selling Megatrends (1982) and Re-Inventing the Corporation (1985), Naisbitt has also produced seven other books, including European and Asian best sellers. A former executive with IBM and Eastman Kodak, Naisbitt served as assistant secretary of education under President John F. Kennedy and as a special assistant to President Lyndon B. Johnson. And with his “astonishingly precise predictions” (Financial Times, 2002), experience in top management and politics, and inspiring message, Naisbitt remains a popular speaker worldwide. He also continues to research and write; his latest book, Mind Set!: Reset Your Thinking and See the Future, was published in English worldwide in 2006. A former visiting fellow at Harvard University and current faculty member at Nanjing University in China, Naisbitt has received 15 honorary doctorates.

Laurel Thatcher Ulrich

Laurel Thatcher Ulrich BA’60
Ulrich won the 1991 Pulitzer Prize in history for her book A Midwife’s Tale: The Life of Martha Ballard, Based on Her Diary, 1785-1812, which revealed the prevalence of violence, crime, and premarital sex in 18th-century New England and became the basis of a PBS documentary. Currently the 300th Anniversary University Professor at Harvard, Ulrich is also the author of Good Wives: Image and Reality in the Lives of Women in Early New England, 1650-1750 (1982); The Age of Homespun: Objects and Stories in the Making of an American Myth (2001); and Well-Behaved Women Seldom Make History (2007, the title taken from a sentence in an Ulrich article from 1976 that became one of the best-known slogans of modern feminism, spawning T-shirts, coffee mugs, and buttons). Although known for her books on early New England, Ulrich grew up among the potato farms and sagebrush of eastern Idaho. She moved to New England in 1960, and became a member of the Harvard faculty in 1995 after completing master’s and doctoral degrees.

—Marcia C. Dibble is assistant editor of Continuum.

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