Carol Ryrie Brink, who wrote more than 30 juvenile and adult books, including the 1936 Newbury Prize-winning Caddie Woodlawn. Brink was born in Moscow and attended the University of Idaho. She was awarded an honorary doctorate of letters from U of I in 1965, and Brink Hall on the campus is named for her.
Vardis Fisher was a prolific and gifted writer who created the 12-volume Testament of Man, which depicted human history from cavemen to civilization. He is probably best known today for his historical novel, Children of God, which traced the history of the Mormons, and won the 1939 Harper Prize in Fiction, and his novel Mountain Man (1965) which was adapted for Sydney Pollack's film, Jeremiah Johnson (1972). Fisher was born near Rigby and lived in his later years in Hagerman.
Richard McKenna was born in Mountain Home. He’s best known for the historical novel The Sand Pebbles, which was made into the 1966 film of the same name starring Steve McQueen, Richard Attenborough, Richard Crenna, and Candice Bergen.
Sarah Palin sold more than two million copies of her book Going Rogue. The former governor of Alaska and vice-presidential candidate was born in Sandpoint. She received her bachelor’s degree in communication with a journalism emphasis from the University of Idaho in 1987.
Ezra Pound (pictured) was an American expatriate who was as well known for his controversial views as for his poetry. He helped shape the work of T.S. Eliot, James Joyce, Robert Frost, Ernest Hemingway and others. His unfinished work The Cantos is much admired still, long after his death in 1972. Pound was born in Hailey, though he spent little time there.
Frank Chester Robertson was born in Moscow. He wrote more than 150 novels and many more short stories. Robertson won the Silver Spur award in 1954 from the Western Writers of America best juvenile story for Sagebrush Sorrel.
Patrick McManus was born in Sandpoint. He wrote a mystery series but is best known Outdoor Life and Field and Stream articles, as well as his many books of backwoods Idaho humor.
Marilynn Robinson, who won the Pulitzer Prize for fiction for her book Gilead in 2005 was born in Sandpoint. Her book Housekeeping, which is set in Sandpoint, was a Pulitzer finalist in 1982.
Tom Spanbaur grew up outside of Pocatello. He is a gay writer who often explores themes of sexual identity and race. Three of his five novels take place in Idaho, The Man Who Fell in Love with the Moon, Now is the Hour, and Faraway Places.
Laurel Thatcher Ulrich was born in Sugar City, Idaho. Her history of midwife Martha Ballard, titled The Midwife’s Tale, won a Pulitzer Prize and was later made into a documentary film for the PBS series American Experience. Oddly, she may enjoy more fame for a single line in a scholarly publication than for her prize-winning work. She is remembered for the line, "well-behaved women seldom make history," which came from an article about Puritan funeral services. She would later write a book with that title.
Douglas Unger was a Pulitzer Prize finalist for his 1984 debut novel Leaving the Land. His other three novels and a collection of short stories have also garnered major nominations and awards. He was born in Moscow.
Tara Westover was born in Clifton, Idaho. Her 2018 memoir Educated was on many best book lists, including the New York Time top ten list for the year.
Emily Ruskovich grew up in the panhandle of Idaho on Hoo Doo Mountain. She now teaches at Boise State University. Her 2017 novel, Idaho, was critically acclaimed.
Elaine Ambrose grew up on a potato farm near Wendell. She is best known for her eight books of humor and recently released a memoir called Frozen Dinners, A Memoir of a Fractured Family.
This is by no means a comprehensive list of writers born in Idaho. I’m happy to hear about those I’ve missed so that they can be included in later lists.
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