Utah ©Author Adventures
Utah ©Author Adventures

Wallace Stegner, Dean of Western Writers

Known as an author, professor, and environmentalist, Wallace Stegner (1909-1993) grew up in various places in the West. He earned his bachelor’s degree at the University of Utah, where he was the editor of University Pen. After receiving a master’s and doctorate, he became a professor at Harvard University and founded the creative writing program at Stanford University in Palo Alto, California. He left that position in the year he received a Pulitzer Prize for Angles of Repose (1972). According to the Marriott Library at the University of Utah’s website: “Many of those he educated would go in to have prolific careers themselves, including Edward Abbey, Robert Haas, Sandra Day O’Connor, and Scott Turow.”

His Writings

Angles of Repose was inspired by a maternal ancestor’s love story and how it played out through the decades of her life as an artist, wife, and mother struggling to sustain family life through the ravages of the historical West. Later, in 1976, his The Spectator Bird won a National Book Award.

An excellent bibliography describing Stegner’s major published writings can be found here: https://www.montana.edu/history/stegner_biblio.html

The Library

The J. Willard Marriott Library at the University of Utah (295 S 1500 E) memorializes its literary son with an exhibit that also travels. According to https://lib.utah.edu/collections/photo-exhibits/stegner-exhibit: “This exhibit contains a sampling of materials from the Special Collections Department of the J. Willard Marriott Library. If you would like to learn more about our collections related to Wallace Stegner or about our traveling exhibit program please call 801.581.8863 or email.”

Founded in 1850, the University of Utah enrolls approximately 24,000 undergraduate students. Additional significant writers who graduated from there include Orson Scott Card, Stephen Covey, and Shannon Hale.

The J. Willard Marriott Library is the last stop of our Utah Author Adventures Trail, when traveled south-north.

Patricia Smart