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Look out GRRM, these local authors hold their own.
By Amanda Rock
Consider yourself warned. Famous authors live in our realm and you could run into them grocery shopping or grabbing a bite to eat. Don't panic. Be cool. Authors are totally normal people and why wouldn't wouldn't you see them at Smiths? Should you ask for their autograph? A selfie? Gush about their latest novel? Ask if they still believe Bran is the Night King? Probably. Here are five to watch out for:
You don't have to explain what fry sauce is to Shannon Hale. This
New York Times bestselling author is a Salt Lake City native. More than 25 books are in her roster, including Princess Academy, which won the prestigious Newbery Honor award. Along with husband Dean Hale (who also calls SLC home), she writes the Unbeatable Squirrel Girl novels. Hale's books feature awesome female characters and she writes them for everyone to read—girls, boys, kids, teens and adults. She's a champion for equal reading rights, fighting gender bias whenever she can. shannonhale.com
When Celeste Ng and Stephen King rave about your first novel, you know you've made it.
My Absolute Darling by Gabriel Tallent is heartbreaking, beautiful and impossible to put down. The most talked about book of 2017, My Absolute Darling received stellar reviews and it was the first debut novel to appear on the best-seller lists in the U.S. and U.K. at the same time. Raised on the Mendocino coast by his two mothers, Tallent now resides in Salt Lake City. gabrieltallent.com
The Utah Poet Laureate is required reading for locals of all stripes. Besides poetry, the University of Utah English professor also pens novels and essays. Rekdal's work has appeared in The New York Times Magazine, American Poetry Review and The New Republic, among other popular publications. She's received a Guggenheim Fellowship as well as other distinguished awards. Nightingale, her newest collection of poems, will be published this spring. paisleyrekdal.com
Jessica Day George
New York Times best-selling author Jessica Day George also put down roots in SLC with her husband and three kids. She writes compelling fantasy books and fairy tales for young adults and adult-adults who appreciate a good story about debutantes in 1890s who travel to Romania and maybe become servants to the Draculas. (Pick up a copy of Silver in the Blood and let's read it together!) In 2007, she won the Whitney Award for Best Book by a New Author for Dragon Slippers. jessicadaygeorge.com
James A. McLaughlin
OK, you're less likely to run into James A. McLaughlin, as I think he prefers the mountains to the city. Relocating to the Wasatch Range east of Salt Lake from rural Virginia where he grew up, McLaughlin is an avid photographer, capturing landscapes and wildlife. Bearskin, his first novel, has been nominated for both the Edgar and Barry awards for best first novel. Set in the Appalachians of Virginia, Bearskin is an action-packed thriller written with a naturalist's voice. He's currently working on two novels related to Bearskin. jamesamclaughlin.com