Dean Hughes

Dean Hughes, a prolific author with over 100 published titles, was born in Ogden, Utah, on August 24, 1943. Hughes reports that he began writing at just four years of age, though it wasn't until junior high that he was telling friends he'd be a writer when he grew up, until high school that he finished his first novel, and almost two decades later that he was able to publish his first title – the children's book Under the Same Stars, which was the fourth book he'd written by that pointSince 1979, though, Hughes has published extensively, and his current body of work ranges from twelve children's book series to young adult fiction, poetry, nonfiction, and multiple novels for adults. In a 2001 interview with Meridian Magazine, Hughes accounts for this range by noting that "I do what seems fun, and I write the ideas I get."

While much of his career has been dedicated to his own writing, Hughes has also worked and taught in a number of other positions. After earning his BA in English and a minor in philosophy from Weber State University, Hughes completed his MA in creative writing and a PhD in literature from the University of Washington, with which he landed a tenured teaching position at the University of Central Missouri (UCM) specializing in British literature of the nineteenth century. Hughes, his wife Kathleen, and their family lived in Warrensburg, Missouri for eight years while he taught there, and then Hughes decided that he wanted to try writing full-time. With Kathleen's support and work as a school administrator, Hughes was able to work from home as a writer for fifteen years, taking on freelance and technical writing projects alongside his creative work until his own writing had become established enough to earn a living with. Later, when he and his family moved back to Utah, Hughes also served as a bishop in the LDS Church and taught creative writing classes at Brigham Young University: first from 1997 to 2002, and then again from 2005 to 2008. 

Though his first endeavors were novels and historical fiction, Hughes first became interested in writing for younger audiences after attending a children's literature festival in Missouri. This resulted in a historical LDS novel set in Jackson County, Missouri, which eventually became Hughes's first published work Under the Same Stars. Hughes eventually expanded this into a series of three books, and later wrote several series of sports stories and war stories that followed the same model. His 2003 novel Midway to Heaven was adapted as a family film of the same name in 2011, directed by Michael Flynn.

According to Hughes, his approach to writing is quite simple: he sets a routine and consider his writing as work, something to invest in and improve. In a 2015 interview, he told LDS Living that: "I don’t believe in writer’s block."

Over the course of his career, Hughes has received multiple awards for his work. He has received three AML Awards from the Association for Mormon Letters: one in 1994 in the Young Adult Literature category for The Trophy (1994), one in 1998 in the Novel category for Far from Home, and another in the Novel category in 2019 for Muddy: Where Faith and Polygamy Collide. Hughes was also an AML finalist in 2005 and 2007, and he was awarded an Outstanding Achievement AML Award in 2013. Additional awards include the Smith-Pettit Foundation Award in 2005 for Outstanding Contribution to Mormon Letters for his historical fiction series Children of the Promise (1997-2000), and a Lifetime Achievement award at the inaugural Whitney Awards in 2007. Critic Eugene England has located Hughes's work as belonging to the "fourth period" of LDS literature, a time whose works have reached larger mainstream readerships as well the LDS community. 

Hughes and his wife Kathleen, who now live in Midway, Utah, have three children and nine grandchildren. After Hughes retired from teaching at BYU, they served a two-year mission to Nauvoo, Illinois together, where they worked with other volunteer missionaries to re-create town life as it would have been experienced over 170 years ago by early members of the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints. 



Fiction, novels 

  • Displaced, Atheneum Books, 2020
  • Four-Four-Two, Atheneum, 2016
  • Home and Away, Deseret Book Company, 2015
  • Missing in Action, Atheneum, 2010
  • Promises to Keep, Deseret Book Company, 2008
  • Before the Dawn, Deseret Book Company, 2007
  • Saboteur, Deseret Book Company, 2006
  • Search and Destroy, Atheneum, 2005
  • Midway to Heaven, Deseret Book Company, 2003
  • Soldier Boys, Atheneum, 2001
  • Brad and Butter Play Ball, Random House, 1998
  • Team Picture, Atheneum, 1996
  • One-Man Team, Random House, 1994
  • The Trophy, Random House, 1994
  • Family Pose, Atheneum, 1989 (co-written with Bettany Hughes)
  • Cornbread and Prayer, Deseret Book Company, 1988
  • Theo Zephyr, Atheneum, 1987
  • Brothers, Deseret Book Company, 1986
  • Jelly's Circus, Aladdin's Books, 1986
  • Millie Willenheimer & The Chestnut Corporation, Atheneum, 1983
  • Switching Tracks, Atheneum, 1982

Fiction, short stories

  • "Something for Myself," Once Upon A Christmastime, 1997
  • "Sun on the Snow," Christmas for the World, 1991

         Fiction, series

  • Muddy series, Deseret Book Company, 2019-present
    • River, 2020
    • Muddy, 2019
  • Come to Zionseries, Deseret Book Company, 2012-2014
    • 3: Fresh Courage Take, 2014
    • 2: Through Cloud and Sunshine, 2013
    • 1: The Winds and the Waves, 2012
  • Hearts of the Childrenseries, Deseret Book Company, 2001-2005
    • 5: So Much of Life Ahead, 2005
    • 4: Take Me Home, 2004
    • 3: How Many Roads?,2003
    • 2: Troubled Waters, 2002
    • 1: The Writing on the Wall, 2001
  • Children of The Promiseseries, Deseret Book Company, 1997-2000
    • Children of the Promise, Vol. 5: As Long as I Have You,2000
    • Children of the Promise, Vol. 4: When We Meet Again, 1999
    • Children of the Promise, Vol. 3: Far from Home, 1998
    • Children of the Promise, Vol. 2: Since You Went Away, 1997
    • Children of the Promise, Vol. 1: Rumors of War, 1997
  • Scrappersseries, Aladdin Books, 1999
    • Scrappers, #9: Grand Slam, 1999
    • Scrappers #8: No Fear, 1999
    • Scrappers #7: Take Your Base, 1999
    • Scrappers #6: No Easy Out, 1999
    • Scrappers #5: Bases Loaded, 1999
    • Scrappers #4: Now We're Talking, 1999
    • Scrappers #3: Team Player, 1999
    • Scrappers #2: Home Run Hero, 1999
    • Scrappers #1: Play Ball!,1999
  • Angel Park Karate Stars #1: Find the Power, Random House Books, 1994
  • Lucky Ladd series, Deseret Book Company, 1990-1994
    • Lucky Comes Home, 1994
    • Lucky in Love, 1993
    • Lucky's Cool Club, 1993
    • Lucky the Detective, 1992
    • Lucky's Tricks, 1992
    • Lucky's Mud Festival, 1991
    • Lucky Fights Back, 1991
    • Lucky Breaks Loose, 1990
    • Lucky's Gold Mine, 1990
    • Lucky's Crash Landing, 1990
  • Angel Park Hoop Starsseries, Random House, 1992-1993
    • Angel Park Hoop Stars #4: On the Line,1993
    • Angel Park Hoop Stars #3: Go to the Hoop!,1993
    • Angel Park Hoop Stars #2: Point Guard,1992
    • Angel Park Hoop Stars #1: Nothing But Net, 1992
  • Angel Park Soccer Starsseries, Random House, 1991-1994
    • Angel Park Soccer Stars #8: Quarterback Hero, 1994
    • Angel Park Soccer Stars #7: Shake-Up, 1993
    • Angel Park Soccer Stars #6: Total Soccer, 1992
    • Angel Park Soccer Stars #5: Backup Goalie, 1992
    • Angel Park Soccer Stars #4: Psyched!,1992
    • Angel Park Soccer Stars #3: Victory Goal,1992
    • Angel Park Soccer Stars #2: Defense!,1991
    • Angel Park Soccer Stars #1: Kickoff Time, 1991
  • Angel Park All Stars series, Random House, 1990-1991
    • Angel Park All-Stars #14: All Together Now, 1991
    • Angel Park All-Stars #13: Play-Off, 1991
    • Angel Park All-Stars #12: Up to Bat, 1991
    • Angel Park All-Stars #11: Safe at First, 1991
    • Angel Park All-Stars #10: Stroke of Luck, 1991
    • Angel Park All-Stars #9: Superstar Team, 1991
    • Angel Park All-Stars #8: Championship Game, 1990
    • Angel Park All-Stars #7: Line Drive, 1990
    • Angel Park All-Stars #6: Pressure Play, 1990
    • Angel Park All-Stars #5: Rookie Star, 1990
    • Angel Park All-Stars #4: What a Catch!,1990
    • Angel Park All-Stars #3: Winning Streak, 1990
    • Angel Park All-Stars #2: Big Base Hit,1990
    • Angel Park All-Stars #1: Making the Team,1990
  • Nutty Nutshellseries, Yearling Books & Atheneum, 1981-1995
    • Re-elect Nutty!,1995
    • Nutty's Ghost,1993
    • Nutty, The Movie Star, 1989
    • Nutty Can't Miss, 1988
    • Nutty and the Case of the Mastermind Thief,1986
    • Nutty and the Case of the Ski-Slope Spy, 1985
    • Nutty,1985
    • Nutty for President, 1981
  • Hooper Hallerseries, Deseret Book Company, 1981-1983
    • Jenny Haller, 1983
    • Hooper Haller,1981
  • The Adventures of Young Joseph Williamsseries, Deseret Book Company, 1979-1982
    • Facing the Enemy, 1982
    • As Wide as the River, 1980
    • Under the Same Stars, 1979


  • "Buckles and Knuckles and Nickels," The Friend, 1983
  • "Turkey Time," Merrily Comes Our Harvest In, 1978
  • "My Hot Get Feet," Cricket, 1977
  • "A Silly-Silly-Sloo" and "The Bouncing Kaderpnick," Monsters, Ghoulies, and Creepy Creatures: Fantastic Stories and Poems, 1977


  • The Dean Hughes Collection, Atheneum Books, 2015
  • We'll Bring the World His Truth:Missionary Adventures from Around the World, Deseret Book Company, 2011 (co-written with Tom Hughes)


  • The Cost of Winning: Coming in First Across The Wrong Finish Line, Deseret Book Company, 2008
  • All Moms Go To Heaven, Deseret Book Company, 2005
  • Great Stories from Mormon History, Deseret Book Company, 1994 (co-written with Tom Hughes)
  • Lullaby and Goodnight, Pocket Books, 1992
  • Baseball Tips Book, Random House, 1993
  • The Mormon Church: A Basic History, Deseret Book Company, 1986


LDS Living Podcast Interview 

LDS Living 2015 Interview

Chicago Tribune Article

Meridian Magazine Interview

On the Writing of Muddy River

BYU Special Collection Dean Hughes Papers

Discussion with Dean Hughes about Inspiration