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Literary Arts Festival

Saint George

Board Members: TeamMember

May 18-19 @ DSU Campus

Paisley Rekdal

Paisley Rekdal is the author of a book of essays, The Night My Mother Met Bruce Lee; a hybrid-genre photo-text entitled Intimate; and five books of poetry: A Crash of Rhinos, Six Girls Without Pants, The Invention of the Kaleidoscope, and Animal Eye, which was a finalist for the 2013 Kingsley Tufts Prize, the Balcones Prize and winner of the UNT Rilke Prize.  Her newest poetry collection is Imaginary Vessels, and her latest nonfiction work is The Broken Country, which won the 2016 AWP Nonfiction Prize. Her work has received the Amy Lowell Poetry Traveling Fellowship, a Guggenheim Fellowship, an NEA Fellowship, two Pushcart Prizes, a Fulbright Fellowship, and various state arts council awards. She teaches at the University of Utah and is Utah’s Poet Laureate.

Paisley Rekdal

Angie Hodapp

Angie Hodapp holds an MA in English and communication development and a BA in English education with a minor in philosophy. A 2002 graduate of the Publishing Institute at the University of Denver, she has worked in publishing, editing, project management, and professional writing for the better part of the last two decades. She currently works as the director of literary development at Nelson Literary Agency in Denver, Colorado.

Angie Hodapp

Markay Brown

Markay Brown, St George, Utah, was born an addict to the written word. A graduate of BYU,  she began writing poetry at an age well beyond precociousness. How about 60?  She won first place for her manuscript, Eve’s Child, in the 2014 Utah Original Writing Competition, Book-length Collection of Poetry, judged by Richard Howard of Columbia University. Markay and her poet husband collaborated on a book of poems titled, Blended.  Her poems have appeared in Segullah, Provo/Orem Word, 15 Bytes, Encore, Southern Quill, and elsewhere. She serves as president of Redrock Writers, a chapter of the Utah State Poetry Society.  She is mother of five sons and grandmother of 13. Family, friends, reading, writing, music, and long walks in the red rocks make her happy.


Candy Lish Fowler

In 2015, Candy Lish Fowler was named Poet of the Year with her book, On a Road that Knows Me published by the Utah State Poetry Society.

Candy grew up in Granger, Utah, graduating as a high school Sterling Scholar in English. She attended the University of Utah as a Presidential Scholar majoring in Modern Dance with a minor in English. She was awarded a grant from the Hanks Foundation and received the John H. Breck Scholarship writing award.  She has written highly acclaimed original dance plays and been featured in the Salt Lake Tribune and Deseret News. Her poetry has won on both state and national levels. She was a winner in the Utah Division of Arts and Museums 2014 Original Writing Competition and recently won all four categories of the National Chaparral Poetry Forum. Her work is featured in several publications.

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Susan Foster

Susan Foster has advanced degrees in Elementary Education and Accounting, and has had careers in both fields, but her first loves are writing, the study of nature, and classical music. In her writing life, she has been the author of two different newspaper columns, published a number of freelance articles in magazines, and won many awards for her poetry and essays.  She is also Assistant to the Editor for Cutthroat, A Journal of the Arts.  She is currently working on several poetry and creative nonfiction projects, including a memoir about her years of raising 11 children in the southern Utah desert.  She writes about nature, place, the environment, and the fragile nature of existence.  She recently retired from a full time position in Administration at a liberal arts college in Colorado so that she could devote more time to her writing, her family, and her two literary cats:  Spirit and Danny.

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Shane D. Williams

Shane D. Williams was born at the tender age of 0. He survived the ordeal and quickly moved onto other things… walking for example, which by the way, he still does quite well. He wrote his first poem when he was in second grade and has been writing ever since.

Shane’s specialty is writing humorous poetry for kids and adults. His poems are used in classrooms around the world in a variety of ways. He has performed and taught at several elementary schools around the country. His website, is one of the most visited “poetry for kids” websites and has been featured in the Boston Globe. Shane has written three books: “The Endless Achoo”,  “All Mixed Up”, and “The Sun is on Fire”.

Shane enjoys stand-up comedy, roller coasters, peanut butter and spending time with his wife and 3 children.

David W. Smith

Creator and author of the top-selling Disney books, “Hidden Mickey,” and the prolific tennis instructional books, “Tennis Mastery” and “Coaching Mastery.” Owner of Synergy Books publishing, Dave represents over two dozen authors. He also penned the non-fiction book, “In the Shadow of the Matterhorn.” Dave currently has six books in print and two additional E-books. For ten years, David was the Senior Editor of the top-rated tennis site, and has published over 350 articles for domestic and international tennis journals.

Writing Dreams to Publishing Realities: What every author NEEDS to know about the Publishing Industry.

This in-depth, informational and inspiring presentation will cover the different publishing options, the pros and cons to each, and what authors NEED to know to make a good decision on choosing a publishing option. Marketing and promoting ideas will be presented along with proven formulas that have been used by Dave and dozens of authors. Learn the reality of publishing and how to benefit from current opportunities for authors of all genre and readership.

Marleen Bussma was raised on a small farm in North Dakota.  She has put together verses on the plight of the women of the west from frontier days to modern farm and ranch times.  Her current book,  Is She Country?, was named the Western Music Association’s 2016 Cowboy Poetry Book of the Year and also won the Will Rogers Medallion Award for excellence in western literature.  Her latest CD, Saddle Up for Cowboy Poetry, was a Western Music Association finalist for the 2017 Cowboy Poetry CD of the Year.   She received the 2017 Georgie Sicking Award for her poem, Market Day, that exemplifies the working cowboy.  Marleen has been an invited performer to the National Cowboy Poetry Gathering in Elko, NV and has recited poetry at gatherings from AZ to ND.   

Stephanie Jaeger began writing the Scrolls of Zndaria series with her husband, Jerry, in 2006. She has business degrees from then Utah Valley State College, University of Wyoming, and Southern Utah University. She continues to learn through research and from those around her. Her favorite part of being an author is visiting schools, which she’s done in Utah and Nevada as well as in China and Japan.

Jared Beckstrand is an artist specializing in children's book illustration and character animation.   He spent 10 years at Disney Feature Animation working on shows such as Tarzan,Pocahontas, Hercules, Emporer's New Groove, and Princess and the Frog. Jared also animated on a Kung Fu Panda 2 DVD Featurette for Dreamworks.  He is also commissioned in areas of logo design, advertising, portraiture, magazine illlustration, and as a story artist at Ydraw. Jared lives in St. George, Utah.

LaVerna Bringhurst Johnson, former UTSPS president, taught in California, Utah, retired from Dixie State University, served on Utah's Museums Association Board, formed 501C3 DinosaurAH!torium (  Faith, love of family, teaching, friends and love of poetry are reflected in her work, such as an inspiring video about an adopted son with Down syndrome: The UP Side of Downs, a Love Story. She has published songs, children's plays, and poems in books, chapbooks and anthologies: Dino Days in Dixie, Images of Faith, Fire In the Pasture, Panorama, Encore, Irreantum, Nine One One, Utah Sings, Heritage Writers, Southern Quill, in magazines, newspapers, and


Meet Our Speakers

Marleen Bussma

Stephanie Jaeger

Jared Beckstrand

LaVerna Bringhurst Johnson

Denis Feehan

Singer/Songwriter Denis Feehan has written numerous songs with Full Throttle, his band in Los Angeles. These days, he can be seen performing with his band mates in the classic rock and blues band,  Dealt-A-Straight, in his new home town of Mesquite, Nevada.

Active in the community theater,  Denis has appeared in several productions as an actor. He has also served as  musical director for two musicals and directed The Last of the Red Hot Lovers.

Presentation on Lyric Writing

  1. The Hook

  2. Song Structure

  3. The Chorus

  4. The Verse

  5. The Bridge

  6. Rhyming patterns

         a ABAB

         b ABCB

  1. Meter

  2. Group Chorus Write


Joe Gordon

While his novel, A Wisp of Smoke, is his first work of fiction, Joe brings almost fifty years of business/educational/technical writing experience to the creative process. He claims he practices “organized creativity”. For the last twenty years he taught college classes and authored/co-authored numerous pieces of curriculum, instructional support materials, and textbooks. 

How To Successfully Fail

The fear of rejection and failure is the single greatest obstacle to success in adult life. Taken to its extreme, we become totally preoccupied with not making a mistake; with seeking approval for security above all other considerations. Fear of failure interferes with performance, inhibits expression, and stifles creativity. For artists, musicians, performers, and writers this obstacle always looms large in their legend. Every piece of work they produce is intended to be seen, heard, or read with a critical perspective. In this session we are going to look at this often daunting obstacle from a different perspective, particularly as it pertains to creative types of all kinds.


Ellie Terry

Ellie Terry's award-winning poetry has appeared in various magazines for children. Her debut novel for middle-grade readers, Forget Me Not, which Publisher's Weekly called, "Honest and moving," was published in 2017 by Feiwel & Friends, an imprint of Macmillan Children's Publishing Group, and was recently announced as a 2019 Beehive Book Award Nominee by the Children's Literature Association of Utah. Ellie is represented by Mr. Steven Chudney of The Chudney Agency and lives in southern Utah with her husband and their three children.


Marilyn Richardson

Marilyn W. Richardson, retired dance educator, moved to Southern Utah in 1994. “Walking in the red dirt, reading and travel, all hold great appeal,” she says, “as does writing. My primary focus is writing books for children and YA and five of these are now available on kindle, with more to be added soon.

“I’ve heard that writers ought to concentrate on one genre, but I find I can’t do that.”

Richardson has served as President of the League of Utah Writers (LUW) as well as president of the St. George chapter Heritage Writer Guild 3 times. A frequent winner in the LUW annual contests and, once in the Utah Poetry Society; several of her writings have been published in the LUW annual anthology.

She wrote Stubby the War Dog, at the suggestion of a friend. “There are many articles on the internet about Stubby and one excellent book for 6th or 7th graders. I decided to write for young readers and have Stubby tell his own story.”


Michaelbrent Collings

Michaelbrent Collings is an internationally-bestselling author, produced screenwriter, and has spent years as one of Amazon's Top Horror Writers. He has written bestsellers in everything from humor to horror to romance and beyond. Find more about him at his website, - "Books That Keep You Up All Night.


Pam Tucker

Pam Tucker's poetry has appeared in Trestle Creek Review, Plainsongs, Literary Mama, Prairie Poetry, and Gathering: A Collection of Women's Writing.  She is the author of the children's book Paper Monsters illustrated by Mark Ludy.  She received a BA in English from BYU.  Growing up in small town Wyoming gave her a love for big sky and wide open spaces. She loves hitting the road on a bicycle with a map, a granola bar and an empty schedule.   She lives in Washington, UT.


“Schedule Coming Soon”

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