Douglas H Thayer Professor
Biography: Douglas Thayer specializes in teaching fiction writing; he also teaches composition courses, the short story, L.D.S. literature, and introduction to literature. He has served as director of composition, associate chair, head of the creative writing section, and as associate dean. He has received an Alcuin Fellowship in General Education, an Honorary Life Membership from the Association for Mormon Letters, and the P. A. Christensen Award from the College of Humanities. Prizes for his writing include the Karl G. Maeser Creative Arts Award, the Association for Mormon Letters Prize in the Novel, the Dialogue Prize for the Short Story, the Dialogue Prize for the Personal Essay, the Utah Institute of Fine Arts Award for a Collection of Short Stories, and the Utah Institute of Fine Arts Award in the Short Story. His primary critical interests are in moral and formalistic criticism. He teaches that one of the best ways to learn to write is to learn to read like a writer: to find out through careful analysis how the writer wrote a piece and copy the technique. He teaches that both reading and writing are intentional. His classes rely primarily on discussion. Professor Thayer has published two novels (Summer Fire , The Conversion of Jeff Williams ); two collections of short stories (Under the Cottonwood and Other Mormon Stories  and Mr. Wahlquist in Yellowstone ); a memoir (Hooligan: A Mormon Boyhood ); and stories in various quarterlies. He currently has a young adult novel, titled Beneath, out to a publisher, and is completing a collection of stories called Dolf and 8 Mormon Stories. Thayer writes primarily about contemporary Mormon life. Professor Thayer grew up in Provo in the '30s and '40s. He spent most of his free time hiking in the mountains, swimming in the Provo River and Utah Lake, and hunting and fishing. His fiction reflects this life-long interest in the outdoors. He dropped out of high school when he was seventeen to join the army and served in Germany, later returning to Germany as a missionary. He has worked as a construction laborer, summer ranger at Yellowstone Park, dishwasher, janitor, driller's helper, insurance salesman, and on a track gang. He has a BA in English from BYU, an MA from Stanford, and an MFA in fiction writing from the University of Iowa. He started doctoral programs at both Stanford and the University of Maryland before realizing that what he wanted to do was write fiction. Professor Thayer is married to Donlu DeWitt; they have six children. His hobbies are reading, trying to learn to play the piano, and fly-fishing Utah canyon streams that most fishermen pass by.
Degrees: MFA, Iowa, 1962