Meet Our Speakers


Christopher Phillips

Christopher Phillips, Ph.D., is the founder and Executive Director of the nonprofit Democracy Café (, dedicated to making our world more connected, understanding, and participatory. Its flagship Socrates Café and Democracy Café endeavors continue to gain momentum worldwide after more than two decades, with recently established groups in: Qatif and Saihat, Saudi Arabia; Sujarat, India; Seoul, South Korea; and throughout Poland. He is the author of such works as the critically acclaimed Constitution Café: Jefferson’s Brew for a True Revolution, and bestsellers Socrates Café: A Fresh Taste of Philosophy and Six Questions of Socrates: A Modern-Day Journey of Discovery Through World Philosophy, as well as children’s books, The Philosophers Club and Day of Why. His newest book, A Child at Heart: Unlocking Your Creativity, Curiosity and Reason at Every Age and Stage of Life is published in Spanish by Penguin Random House and by Skyhorse in English. He has been a Network Ethics Fellow at Harvard University, a Senior Education Fellow at the National Constitution Center, and a Senior Writing and Research Fellow at the University of Pennsylvania. He travels the globe giving presentations and workshops while currently working on two new book projects—one on spirituality and the other on democracy.

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Terry Tempest Williams

Tempest Williams is the award-winning author of The Hour of Land: A Personal Topography of America’s National Parks; Refuge: An Unnatural History of Family and Place; Finding Beauty in a Broken World; and When Women Were Birds, among other books. Her work is widely taught and anthologized around the world. She has been called a “citizen writer,” a writer who speaks out eloquently on behalf of an ethical stance toward life. A naturalist and fierce advocate for freedom of speech, she has consistently shown us how environmental issues are social issues that ultimately become matters of justice. In 2006, Williams received the Robert Marshall Award from The Wilderness Society, their highest honor given to an American citizen. She also received the Distinguished Achievement Award from the Western American Literature Association and the Wallace Stegner Award given by The Center for the American West. She is the recipient of a Lannan Literary Fellowship and a John Simon Guggenheim Fellowship in creative nonfiction. She is also the recipient of the 2010 David R. Brower Conservation Award for activism. The Community of Christ International Peace Award was presented in 2011 to Terry Tempest Williams in recognition of significant peacemaking vision, advocacy and action. And in 2014, on the 50th Anniversary of the Wilderness Act, Ms. Williams received the Sierra Club’s John Muir Award honoring a distinguished record of leadership in American conservation. A member of the American Academy of Arts and Letters, she is currently the Writer-in-Residence at the Harvard Divinity School and divides her time between Cambridge, Massachusetts, Jackson Hole, Wyoming, and Castle Valley, Utah.

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Dorothy Allred Solomon

Dorothy Allred Solomon has been a writer, teacher, and communication trainer of international reputation and experience. She earned her bachelor’s and master’s degrees from the University of Utah. In public schools and universities, she has taught people of all ages about literature, creative writing, dramatic arts, and life management skills. She taught writing at Dixie State University.

David Farland

David Farland is an international best-selling author with over 50 novels in print. He has won the Philip K. Dick Memorial Special Award, Whitney Award, and the International Book Award. Best known for his New York Times best-selling fantasy series The Runelords, he is also the lead judge for one of the world’s largest science fiction and fantasy writing competitions, and has helped such writers as Brandon Sanderson, James Dashner, and Stephenie Meyer launch their careers.

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Jerry Borrowman

Jerry Borrowman is an award-winning author of historical fiction, co-authored biography, and creative historical non-fiction. His seventeenth book was just published, Invisible Heroes of World War II by Shadow Mountain Press. Two of his books have won the George Washington Gold Medal for contributing to the cause of liberty. His sixteenth book, Compassionate Soldier, won the national Gold award from Foreword Reviews.

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Brock Dethier

Brock Dethier retired from Utah State University last June after forty-three years of teaching writing and writing teachers. He has published five books for college composition teachers and students, as well as two books of poems. His book 21 Genres and How to Write Them is a compilation of most of his best ideas about writing. He also won the 2006 Teacher of the Year Award for the College of Humanities, Arts, and Social Sciences while at USU.


Kathryn Jenkins

Former managing editor at Covenant Communications, Kathryn Jenkins has more than forty-five years of experience with the written word, including serving as vice-president of a Salt Lake City publishing company and general and book editor at a university press. She is the author or co-author of more than a hundred published books, including an award-winning book-length poetry manuscript. She now serves as a consultant in all areas of publishing.

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Liz Adair

Liz Adair began writing as middle age approached. Since then she’s published nine novels and two novellas. She’s won the Whitney Award and has been finalist for another Whitney as well as the Willa Award, Arizona Publishing Association’s Glyph Award, the RONE Award, and the Utah Book Award. In 2017 she was awarded the Outstanding Achievement Whitney Award for her work in mentoring writers. Liz turned indie with her 7th novel, and she’s never looked back.


Markay Brown

Markay Brown was named “Poet of the Year – 2019” by the Utah State Poetry Society for her collection of poetry entitled Planted in a Storm, soon to be published by the Society as its most notable book of the year. The announcement was made at the Utah State Poetry Spring Festival. She is the president of one of the Society’s local chapters, Red Rock Writers. (St. George has claimed the coveted “Poet of the Year” title for the second time in four years.)

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Shanan Ballam

Shanan Ballam is the author of the poetry chapbook, The Red Riding Hood Papers (published by Finishing Line, 2010), and two full-length poetry collections, Pretty Marrow (Negative Capability, 2015) and Inside the Animal: The Collected Red Riding Hood Poems (Main Street Rag Publishing, 2019). With an MFA in Poetry Writing from the University of Nebraska, Omaha, she now teaches poetry writing, fiction writing, and composition for Utah State University. 

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Ann Edwards Cannon

Ann Cannon is an advice columnist and the author of I’ll Tell You What, a collection of columns about her family life and famous father published in the Salt Lake Tribune. She has also written a number of award-winning books for young readers, including Charlotte’s Rose. She works as a part-time bookseller at The King’s English Bookshop in Salt Lake and frequently teaches creative writing and memoir classes.

Julie Daines

Julie Daines spent eighteen months living in London, where she studied and fell in love with English literature, sticky toffee pudding, and the mysterious guy who ran the kebab store around the corner.

She loves reading, writing, and watching movies—anything that transports her to another world. She picks Captain Wentworth over Mr. Darcy, firmly believes in second breakfast, and never leaves home without her verveine.

She is a three-time Whitney finalist, and her second novel, Unraveled, was a contender for the ALA Schneider Family Book Award.

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Penelope Torribio

Penelope Torribio is an author, singer-songwriter, and master puppeteer. She has a collection of over 600 puppets, including shadow, rod, marionette, found puppets and vent figures. She also teaches puppet making, puppet manipulation, and writing for puppets as she has traveled around the world and performed for thousands of people. She is also an educator with a master’s degree in Behavior Transformation, having used puppets to change negative behavior.

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Zach Lust

Zach Lust is the CEO and Partner at Tenth Muse Design. With an accounting background, Zach found his passion in inspiring long-term growth with community focused businesses by aligning them with brand strategy. Working in St. George has allowed him to become an advocate for the entrepreneur. He believes in smart growth that holistically guides them in producing a strong brand, no matter the size of their business.

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Debora Threedy

With degrees in theatre arts and law, Debora Threedy has had four full-length plays and several shorter pieces produced by Plan-B Theatre in Salt Lake. Two of her plays had public staged readings at the Utah Shakespeare Festival through its New American Playwrights Project, and her play The Third Crossing was one of the winners of the 2010 Fratti-Newman New Political Play contest in New York. The End of the Horizon will be produced at Kayenta next year.

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Tanya Parker Mills

Tanya Parker Mills is an award-winning author and a bookseller, having opened The Book Bungalow in downtown St. George only last year. Her first novel, The Reckoning, won the Indie Next Book Award for Multicultural Fiction in 2009 and the 2010 Writer’s Digest International Self-Published Book Award for Mainstream/Literary Fiction. Both her first and second novels (A Night on Moon Hill) were Whitney Award Finalists.

Cindy King

Cindy King’s work has appeared in The Sun, Callaloo, North American Review, Gettysburg Review, Crab Orchard Review, River Styx, Back Warrior, Cincinnati Review, and elsewhere. Zoonotic, her book-length poetry manuscript, will be published by Tinderbox Editions in 2020. Her chapbook, Easy Street, will be published by Dancing Girl Press in July 2019. She is currently an Assistant Professor of Creative Writing at Dixie State University and Faculty Editor of The Southern Quill. She serves on the Artistic Committee of the Blank Theatre in Hollywood, California, as a reader of scripts for the theter’s Living Room Series.


Doug Alder

Douglas D. Alder, received B.A. and M.A. degrees from the University of Utah in 1957 and 1959. He received his Ph.D. from the University of Oregon, in 1966. He did research for his doctoral dissertation on a Fulbright Fellowship at the University of Vienna. He was a professor of History at Utah State University from 1963 to 1986. He was appointed president of Dixie College and served from 1986 to 1993. He remained at Dixie, teaching History full-time until 1999.  From 2002 to 2009 he was an adjunct professor there. Since then he has been doing historical research and writing. He is married to Elaine Reiser and they have four grown children, along with five grandchildren and great-grandchildren. He has published a number of books but would highlight these as is favorite: 

  • A Century of Dixie State College of Utah

  • History of Washington County of Utah

  • History of the St. George Temple

  • Dixie Saints, Labors in the field

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Danielle Dubrasky

Associate Professor of English at Southern Utah University and Director, Grace A. Tanner Center for Human Values. Danielle’s poetry has appeared in, Pilgrimage, Sugar House Review, Salt Front, Cave Wall, Contrary Magazine, and Quill & Parchment. Her poems have also been published in the limited edition art book Invisible Shores, by the Red Butte press of the University of Utah. Her chapbook “Ruin and Light” won the Anabiosis Press chapbook competition. She was a finalist for White Pines Press.