Vardis Fisher was a prolific novelist, writing 35 books in his lifetime. His early writings earned comparisons to William Faulkner, Ernest Hemingway and his friend, Thomas Wolfe. Today, Fisher’s books are out of print and widely unknown.
He graduated from the University of Utah in 1920 and went on to complete his Ph.D. at the University of Chicago in 1925. Although raised LDS, Fisher rejected Mormonism during his university years. He taught English at the University of Utah and New York University. Sonnets, his first publication, appeared in 1927, followed by a novel, Toilers of the Hills, in 1928.
Fisher returned to his native Idaho in 1931 where he wrote and lived the remainder of his life. His most important Mormon novel, Children of God, came out in 1939, winning the Harper Prize for Fiction that year. In the latter part of his life, Fisher read over 2,000 scholarly books in order to write the Testament of Man series, a twelve book cycle attempting to outline the development of the human race. He wrote a regular column in Idaho newspapers until his death.
LDS (Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints)
Joseph and Temperance Fisher
Leona McMurtrey (1917-1924)
Margaret Trusler (1928-1939)
Opal Laurel Holmes (1940-1968)
March 31, 1895
July 9, 1968
Graduated from University of Utah in 1920
Received a Ph.D. from University of Chicago in 1925
English professor at University of Utah (1925-28)
English professor at New York University (1928-31)
Director of the Federal Writer's Project for Idaho
Writer-in-Residence at College of Idaho
Harper Prize for novel, Children of God
Lifetime member of the Western Literature Association