2011 Lifetime Achievement Award – Douglas Thayer

Portrait of Douglas Thayer

Douglas H. Thayer is considered one of the foremost fiction writers exploring contemporary Mormon life. In 1946, Thayer dropped out of high school to join the army. After his service in the army to Germany, and later a 2-year LDS mission, he obtained an English degree from BYU. He went on to Stanford to work on his doctorate (dropped out), then University of Maryland (dropped out). He finally decided on what he really wanted to do—to get an MFA in creative writing (University of Iowa). Thayer has taught English and creative writing at BYU for 54 years. His specialty in writing is traditional, realistic fiction, earning him the title of the “Mormon Hemingway.” Thayer has published three novels, dozens of short stories, several essays, a memoir, and is the recipient of many literature awards, including numerous DIALOGUE prizes for the short story and essay, the P.A. Christensen award, the Association for Mormon Letters Prize in the Novel, the Karl G. Maeser Creative Arts Award, the Utah Institute of Fine Arts Award in the Short Story, and the 2008 Smith-Pettit Foundation Award for Outstanding Contribution to Mormon Letters.