Great stories have the power to motivate and inspire us, as well as to entertain us. And whether it be through fantasy fiction novels, personal accounts, news articles or some other medium, storytelling takes many forms.
Here are eight people with Utah ties whose storytelling abilities made them famous.
Utah native Brandon Mull is The New York Times best-selling author of the "Fablehaven," "Beyonders" and "Five Kingdoms" fantasy series for young adults.
Mull “always secretly wanted to write books” and would spend his childhood making up stories in his head and daydreaming in his free time.
Inspired by such authors as Robert Jordan, Melanie Rawn, David Eddings, Anne McCaffrey and Orson Scott Card, Brandon Sanderson majored in English at BYU where he penned seven novels in his undergraduate years.
After publishing his first novel in 2005, Sanderson has since created a fantasy fiction universe that includes his best-selling "Mistborn" series and "The Stormlight Archive."
Orson Scott Card
Although best known for his science fiction novels, "Enders’ Game," "Ender’s Shadow" and "Speaker for the Dead," Orson Scott Card’s writing prowess covers multiple genres.
Card writes anything from science fiction to contemporary fantasy, biblical novels, poetry, plays, scripts and newspaper columns.
When he’s not writing or directing plays, Card frequently teaches writing and literature courses at Southern Virginia University. He has degrees from BYU and the University of Utah.
BYU graduate Stephenie Meyer’s popular “Twilight” series not only made the world fall in love with vampires and werewolves, but the books became five blockbuster films.
Though Meyer’s life has since quieted down from the "Twilight" craze, the Deseret News recently reported that her latest novel, “The Chemist,” is being adapted for a TV series.
Clayton M. Christensen
Born in Salt Lake City, Clayton M. Christensen is a world-renown professor, author and religious leader and current Kim B. Clark Professor of Business Administration at the Harvard Business School.
With nine best-selling books and more than 100 articles, it’s no surprise that the Harvard Business Journal described him as “a great storyteller,” among his other talents.
Wallace Stegner, also known as “the dean of Western Writers,” was a novelist, historian, short story writer and environmentalist. He wrote 30 novels in 60 years, focusing mostly on the need to preserve the West.
Stegner taught at several universities, including the University of Utah, where his legacy lives on in the Wallace Stegner Prize in Environmental Humanities.
Jane Clayson Johnson
Starting her career at KSL, Jane Clayson won a regional Emmy for her journalistic work before eventually rising to stardom when she was appointed co-host of “The Early Show” on CBS in 1999.
After a few years of interviewing prominent public figures and covering national news, Johnson chose to step away from network television to pursue her dream of being a wife and mother — a decision she defended in an article with the Deseret News.
After a 2008 plane crash burned 80 percent of her body, Stephanie Nielson rose to fame by sharing her experience of striving to live “a beautiful life despite pain and challenges,” and testifying of the role her religious beliefs played in her recovery.
One way she accomplishes this is through her blog, which receives about 30 million readers each month. In an interview with LDS Living, Nielson said, “Through my words and my story, people will see that there is a God.”
Do you dream of being the next great storyteller?
If you have a passion for storytelling or would like to hone your craft in that area, don’t miss your chance to learn from some of the nation’s greatest storytellers at the Timpanogos Storytelling Festival.
With attendees from all over the United States and Canada, the Timpanogos Storytelling Festival is one of the nation’s premier storytelling events. The festival runs from Sept. 6-8 at the Ashton Gardens at Thanksgiving Point.
For more information, visit timpfest.org or call 801-426-8660 today.