Celebrating Wallace Stegner

Today marks the 100th birthday of Pulitzer Prize-winning author Wallace Stegner. Stegner, who spent part of his teenage years Salt Lake City and received a BA from the University of Utah, wrote short stories, novels, and non-fiction. He was also a well-known conservationist and teacher, who mentored acclaimed contemporary American authors like Edward Abbey, Wendell Berry, Ken Kesey and Larry McMurtry.

Several of his books are about Utah or take place in Utah settings: his 1943 novel Big Rock Candy Mountain follows its characters through a period of residence in Salt Lake City; nonfiction works like The Gathering of Zion (1964) and Beyond the Hundredth Meridian (1954) examine the exploration and settlement of Utah in the 19th century.

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Special Collections owns first editions of many of Stegner’s works, as well as this 1955 letter to Jeanne W. Gunn (MSS SC 1483). Gunn had inquired about Stegner’s career; in his reply Stegner discusses his time at the University of Utah and getting his first book, Remembering Laughter, published.

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