A native of the Utah desert, John Bennion writes novels, essays, and short fiction about the western Utah desert and the people who inhabit that forbidding country. He has published a collection of short fiction, Breeding Leah and other Stories (Signature Books, 1991), and a novel, Falling Toward Heaven (Signature Books, 2000). A third novel, Avenging Saint, a mystery set in Utah in 1887, is forthcoming from Signature. He has published short work in Southwest Review, Hotel Amerika, Utah Historical Quarterly, English Journal, AWP Chronicle, Dialogue: A Journal of Mormon Thought, Best of the West II, Journal of Mormon History, High Country News, and others. He is completing a collection of essays about his Bennion ancestors, who have ranched and lived in the western desert of Utah for six generations.
An associate professor at Brigham Young University, Dr. Bennion teaches creative writing and the British novel. He has made a special study of the late Victorian and Modern writer, Thomas Hardy. Dr. Bennion has twenty-five years of experience leading outdoor writing programs that use the writing of personal essays to promote student growth. He has developed Wilderness Writing, a course taught in connection with a Rec Management professor; students backpack and experience the outdoors and then write about what happened. Literature and Landscape is a program where students study the British novel and Shakespeare and then hike through the landscapes where Romantic, Victorian, and other writers lived; in the fall students write essays (spiritual autobiography) about their experiences. Integrated Natural History is an interdisciplinary program for freshmen who get credit in biology, freshman writing, Utah History, and Recreation Management while they explore Utah. Insects, Writing, and Art is a program where biology education students and others live in an isolated region (last time at Lytle Ranch in the Mojave Desert) while they collect and study insects with access to an on-site lab; they use writing and drawing to learn about the insects. During the last program we created and published a field guide to insects in the Mojave Desert.
He lives in Provo with his wife, Karla, who is a psychotherapist and who also writes mystery novels. They are the parents of five children.
B.A. in English from Utah State University (1977)
M. A. in English from BYU (1981)
Ph. D. in Literature and Creative Writing from the University of Houston (1989)
Creative Writing, Fiction, Creative Non-Fiction, Outdoor Writing Programs