Achievement Award Winners
Outstanding Achievement Award Winner, Carol Lynch Williams
Carol Lynch Williams is the award-winning author of more than 20 novels for middle-grade and young adult readers. Her titles include THE TRUE COLORS OF CAITLYNNE JACKSON, IF I FORGET, YOU REMEMBER, THE CHOSEN ONE, GLIMPSE, MILES FROM ORDINARY and WAITING. Her newest book, THE HAVEN, is due out this year. As the founder of WIFYR (Writers & Illustrators for Young Readers Conference), Carol has brought together agents, editors, and writers for years and enjoyed many success stories. The week-long conference takes place each summer in an intensive but rewarding learning environment. Carol has an MFA in Writing for Children and Young Adults from Vermont College and teaches creative writing part-time at BYU. Her biggest successes, though, are her five daughters.
Lifetime Achievement Award Winner, Lael Littke
Lael Littke is the author of more than forty books in both the national and LDS markets. Most of her books are written for children and young adults, including Haunted Sister, Lake of Secrets, and Searching for Selene. TRISH FOR PRESIDENT, SHANNY ON HER OWN, and LOYDENE IN LOVE were on the New York Public Library’s “Recommended List for Teenagers.” BLUE SKYE received the “Notable Book” award from the Southern California Council on Children’s Literature and PROM DRESS garnered the dubious honor of being “the book most often stolen” at one school library. She also has three women’s novels to her credit, co-authored with Carroll Morris and Nancy Anderson: Almost Sisters, Three Tickets to Peoria, and Surprise Packages. A native of Mink Creek, Idaho, she graduated from Utah State University and did further studies in writing at City College of New York and UCLA. She has taught writing classes at Pasadena City College and UCLA.
Outstanding Achievement Award Winner, Jack Weyland
Jack Weyland is the best-selling author of young-adult fiction for the Latter-day Saint market. In fact, the modern genre of Latter-day Saint-themed popular fiction is one he is largely responsible for creating with his overwhelmingly popular novel Charly. His interest in fiction began with a correspondence course in creative writing taken during a summer at BYU where he was doing research work. Since then he has published more than two dozen books, and over fifty of his short stories have been published by the LDS Church magazine The New Era.
Born in Butte, Montana, Jack received a B.S. degree in physics from Montana State University and a Ph.D. in physics from BYU. Currently he teaches physics at BYU-Idaho. He formerly taught physics at the South Dakota School of Mines and Technology. Jack and his wife, Sheryl, are the parents of five children and have four grandchildren. His hobbies include racquetball and singing.
Lifetime Achievement Award Winner, 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.
Outstanding Achievement Award Winner, Rick Walton
The author of more than eighty books for children, Rick Walton has worked tirelessly for nearly two decades to make Utah a place where writers are born. As a board member and instructor for numerous writing conferences and workshops, plus his years as faculty at BYU teaching Picture Book Writing, Rick has made it his goal to help anyone he can who is interested in becoming a published author. And he does, mentoring budding authors though the publication process while remaining a cheerleader for us all. He and his wife, Ann, live in Provo, Utah, and are the parents of five children.
Lifetime Achievement Award Winner, Susan Evans McCloud
McCloud has published more than 45 books. Since the late 1970s she has published nearly one novel annually, many through the publishers Bookcraft or Scribe Publishing. Her novel Black Stars Over Mexico was a best seller in January 1985. Brigham Young: An Inspiring Personal Biography was partly developed as a result of her 30 years as a docent at the Beehive House.
Many of her novels are historical fiction of 19th-century Latter-day Saints in far-flung places, such as England or India. Some reviewers have criticized her novels as being pro-Mormon and repetitious of previous themes. McCloud’s poetry first appeared in the Ensign magazine in 1972. Two of McCloud’s hymns appear in the LDS Church’s 1985 Hymnbook. One of these, “Lord I Would Follow Thee,” has also been recorded by the Mormon Tabernacle Choir and it has even been called “one of the best-loved songs in the LDS Church.” McCloud wrote her other hymn, “As Zion’s Youth in Latter Days,” with the goal of giving strength to a “vacillating youth.” McCloud has also written scripts for film and TV productions, including the script for making one of her books into a made for TV movie.