4 BYU alumni who became bestselling authors


November is a month that celebrates authors. So whether you’re finishing your National Novel Writing Month (NaNoWriMo) novel before November 30 or waiting for the muse to inspire you to write your next short story or poem, get inspired by checking out this list of BYU alumni that went on to become successful writers.

  1. Brandon Sanderson
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    Brandon Sanderson came to BYU in 1994 with the goal of pursuing a major in biochemistry. After a mission to Korea, he changed his major to English. He worked as a night desk clerk at a hotel, which allowed him to write and go to school. Sanderson completed seven novels during his undergraduate years and even became the editor-in-chief of one of the student literary journals on campus, “The Leading Edge.” He later graduated from BYU with his MFA in creative writing in 2004. Sanderson has published a number of books and series, including “Mistborn,” “The Stormlight Archive, “Elantris,” and “Infinity Blade.” His newest book, “Oathbringer,” was released on November 14 and is No. 1 on the New York Times Best-Seller List. Sanderson has been featured on the New York Times Hardcover Fiction Best-Seller List six times, and his books have been published in over 20 languages. Sanderson teaches a creative writing course each winter semester at BYU that focuses on fantasy and science fiction and offers a by-application-only novel workshop class during winter semester as well. Videos of his BYU lectures on writing are available on YouTube. Read more about Sanderson and his books here.

2. Stephen Covey

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Stephen R. Covey received his doctorate from BYU after studying business at University of Utah and getting his MBA from Harvard. He was named as one of Time Magazine’s 25 most influential Americans. Perhaps his best known book, “7 Habits of Highly Effective People,” is an international best seller. It has sold over 25 million copies in 40 languages. Other books by Covey include “First Things First,” “The 8th Habit: From Effectiveness to Greatness,” and “One Child At a Time.” Covey passed away in 2012 surrounded by loving family. Read more about Covey and his books here.

3. Orson Scott Card

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Orson Scott Card began his BYU career as an archeology major and later changed his major to theatre. After serving a mission in Brazil and graduating, he founded his own repertory theatre company. He also worked as a staff editor for The Ensign. Card is known for authoring “Ender’s Game” and which was made into a film in 2013. He has written numerous other books and series including “Shadows in Flight,” “Earth Unaware,” “The Lost Gate,” and “Ender’s Shadow.” In addition to these books, he has written poetry, screenplays, biblical novels, and contemporary fantasy and explored many other writing genres. Now residing in Greensboro, North Carolina, he writes a weekly review column for a Greensboro newspaper, The Rhino Times. He also teaches writing and literature at Southern Virginia University. Check out Card’s website for more information about the author and his books, as well as free writing advice for aspiring authors.

4. Stephenie Meyer

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Stephenie Meyer graduated from BYU in English Literature. She is best known for her four-part “Twilight” series, which has sold over 100 million copies in over 50 different countries and has been translated into 37 languages. Meyer is also the author of “The Host,” which had the No. 1 spot on both the New York Times and Wall Street Journal bestseller lists. Both “The Host” and all of the books in the Twilight Saga have been made into movies. USA Today also declared Meyer “Author of the Year” in 2008. In addition, Meyer has also authored companion books to the “Twilight” series and “The Chemist.”  Meyer now lives in Arizona with her family. Learn more about Meyer and her work here.

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