Todd Robert Petersen
|August 17, 1969
Moses Lake, Washington, U.S.
| University of Oregon
Northern Arizona University
Oklahoma State University
Todd Robert Petersen was born in Moses Lake, Washington on August 17, 1969. He is a fiction writer and an academic currently based at Southern Utah University. He and his wife Alisa have three children.
He is one of eleven writers selected by the Utah Arts Council to represent the arts in Utah education.
Petersen's fiction has appeared in many print and online magazines. In 2007, his work was collected into the collection Long After Dark. Petersen's work is highly regarded in the Mormon Arts community where Long Before Dark has been called what "should be the model for LDS literature."
Petersen's fiction and poems have won him several awards, including the AWP Intro Award,the Marilyn Brown Novel Award, Utah Arts Award, and Sunstone Foundation awards.
Peterson was a founding editor of The Sugar Beet, an online Mormon satire zine comparable to The Onion .
His first novel Rift was released in 2009 by Zarahemla Books. It has been awarded both the Marilyn Brown Award and the Association for Mormon Letters Award for best novel of 2009.
Petersen received his bachelors at the University of Oregon, his masters at Northern Arizona University and his doctorate at Oklahoma State University. His masters and doctorate focused on creative writing. He received his PhD in 2001 and moved to SUU the same year.
His academic writing focuses on Western, Mormon, and pop-culture themes.
Mormon fiction is generally fiction by or about members of the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints, who are also referred to as Latter-day Saints or Mormons. Its history is commonly divided into four sections as first organized by Eugene England: foundations, home literature, the "lost" generation, and faithful realism. During the first fifty years of the church's existence, 1830–1880, fiction was not popular, though Parley P. Pratt wrote a fictional Dialogue between Joseph Smith and the Devil. With the emergence of the novel and short stories as popular reading material, Orson F. Whitney called on fellow members to write inspirational stories. During this "home literature" movement, church-published magazines published many didactic stories and Nephi Anderson wrote the novel Added Upon. The generation of writers after the home literature movement produced fiction that was recognized nationally but was seen as rebelling against home literature's outward moralization. Vardis Fisher's Children of God and Maurine Whipple's The Giant Joshua were prominent novels from this time period. In the 1970s and 1980s, authors started writing realistic fiction as faithful members of the LDS Church. Acclaimed examples include Levi S. Peterson's The Backslider and Linda Sillitoe's Sideways to the Sun. Home literature experienced a resurgence in popularity in the 1980s and 1990s when church-owned Deseret Book started to publish more fiction, including Gerald Lund's historical fiction series The Work and the Glory and Jack Weyland's novels.
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