Thursday marks the kick-off of the 37th annual Life, the Universe & Everything Symposium, a unique event spotlighting creativity and craft and highlighting those responsible for some of your favorite stories and adventures. Regardless of genre, did you know that Utah County is home to an ample number of bestselling authors? So if you're one of those people who basks in the scent of a brand new book or just can’t wait to dive into another literary adventure, check out this list of a few popular authors with Utah County ties. You just might find a few new favorites.
You can also meet an ample helping of authors in person at LTUE, taking place at the Marriott Center in Provo Feb. 14-16.
Orson Scott Card
Orson Scott Card was born Aug. 24, 1951 in Richland, Washington and currently resides in Greensboro, North Carolina. But the acclaimed LDS author also spent some time living in Orem and even graduated from Brigham Young University before furthering his education at the University of Utah and Notre Dame.
Card is a pretty prolific author, but among his most acclaimed novels are “Ender’s Game” and its related books, the first of which was made into a film released in 2013 and starring Harrison Ford, Asa Butterfield and Hailee Steinfeld.
Author website: hatrack.com
Ally Condie is a #1 New York Times bestselling author known for her dystopian Matched trilogy, including “Matched,” “Crossed” and “Reached,” though she has also written other novels, including “Yearbook,” “Freshman for President” and “SummerLost.”
Condie was born in Cedar City but has kept residence in Utah Valley and got her degree in English teaching from Brigham Young University in Provo, where her husband works as an economics professor.
Author website: allycondie.com
Stephen R. Covey was a Provo resident probably best known for his motivational and inspirational writings. Covey was an author, businessman, educator and speaker, though much of his acclaim came from his books, such as “The 7 Habits of Highly Effective People,” “First Things First” and “The Leader in Me.”
His education included a bachelor's degree from the University of Utah, an MBA from Harvard and a Doctor of Religious Education from Brigham Young University, though he was also awarded 10 honorary doctorates.
Author website: stephencovey.com
Yet another Brigham Young University grad, author James Dashner wrote the acclaimed Maze Runner series. The first book in the series, “The Maze Runner,” spent 100 weeks on the New York Times Best Seller list for Children’s Series. The dystopian novel was made into a 2014 film with sequels still being produced.
Dashner also wrote the 13th Reality series and the Infinity Ring series, among others. He still resides in Utah with his wife and family.
Author website: jamesdashner.com
Sheri Dew is another popular author with ties to the Utah Valley and Brigham Young University in particular.
Currently, Dew serves as chief executive officer of the Deseret Book Company, but has also served in leadership in The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints and spent time as an inspirational speaker.
Her books include biographies of LDS church presidents as well as faith-centric books such as “God Wants a Powerful People,” “No Doubt About It,” and “Are We Not All Mothers?”
Jessica Day George
Jessica Day George is originally from Boise, Idaho, but received her bachelors of arts degree in humanities/comparative literature from Brigham Young University in Provo. A New York Times bestselling author, she is well-known for her Dragon Slipper series, Castle Glower series, Princess series and the stand-alone story “Sun and Moon, Ice and Snow.”
Jessica Day George currently lives in the Salt Lake area and specializes in young adult fiction.
Author website: jessicadaygeorge.com
Orson Scott Card isn't solely responsible for all the books that spawned from his successful "Ender's Game." New York Times bestselling author Aaron Johnston is a longtime collaborator with Card and the co-author of the "Ender's Game" prequel novels.
Johnston also served as an associate producer for the film "Ender's Game," and as executive producer for BYUtv's science fiction adventure series "Extinct." His credits also include time as a television writer, comic book writer and playwright, with strong ties to the Utah Valley.
Author website: aaronwjohnston.com
Stephenie Meyer’s acclaimed vampire romance book “Twilight” debuted in 2005, and the four-book series collectively has sold over 100 million copies globally, and also been converted into a series of feature films.
The “Twilight” saga isn’t her only work, though. Meyer, a Brigham Young University grad, also wrote an alien thriller dubbed “The Host” (which has also become a movie), “The Chemist,” and some Twilight series spin-off work, including “The Short Second Life of Bree Tanner” and “Life and Death: Twilight Re-imagined.”
Author website: stepheniemeyer.com
If you’ve read any of the Fablehaven, Beyonders, Five Kingdoms or Candy Shop Wars series, then you’re probably pretty familiar with local author Brandon Mull.
A Brigham Young University grad, Mull lives in the Utah Valley and has also contributed to Scholastic’s Spirit Animals series.
Author website: brandonmull.com
Ann Romney has been a strong supporter of her husband, Mitt Romney, and his political ventures. But did you know she also took some time to write a book?
“The Romney Family Table” was released in 2013, and though it’s probably not a book you’d just pick up and read through, it definitely provides some tasty recipes worth trying. Romney also went on to write “In This Together: My Story” (2015) and “Whatever You Choose to be: 8 Tips for the Road Ahead” (2015).
As a bonus, Romney is a Brigham Young University alum, having attended the university with Mitt. Their first son, Tagg, was born while they were still students.
Brandon Mull isn’t the only acclaimed author named Brandon in the Utah Valley. Author Brandon Sanderson lives in American Fork, and got his undergrad and masters degrees at Brigham Young University.
Known for his fantasy and science fiction writing, Sanderson was approached to complete Robert Jordan’s Wheel of Time series and has also published a variety of his own, highly popular books, including the Mistborn trilogy, Alcatraz series and The Stormlight Archive.
Author website: brandonsanderson.com
Elizabeth Smart was just 14 when she was abducted from her Utah home and subjected to months of rape and abuse. Nine months later she was rescued by police and has since become a strong advocate for child safety and against human trafficking.
In 2013, Smart and Chris Stewart released “My Story,” an account of her kidnapping and the formation of the Elizabeth Smart Foundation. She also released "Where There's Hope: Healing, Moving Forward, and Never Giving Up" in 2018.
Smart attended Brigham Young University, studying music with an emphasis in harp performance.
Born and raised in Provo, Anita Stansfield is a prolific romance author who also corners the market in LDS romantic fiction. Her resume includes well over 50 books, including a variety of series and sagas.
Stansfield began writing at 16 years old, and had her first novel published 16 years later.
Author website: anitastansfield.com
Jack Weyland is largely known for his work in the genre of LDS fiction, including the tear-jerking book-turned-film “Charly.”
Weyland is a retired Brigham Young University-Idaho physics professor who got his Ph.D. in physics from BYU in Provo. His works also include the “Charly” sequel, “Adam’s Story,” and a variety of other LDS-themed books, including “The Reunion,” “Stephanie,” “Saving Kristen,” and “It All Started with Autumn Jones.”
Author website: jackweyland.com