David Farland

The Writer Whisperer, David Farland

David Farland (Wolverton) (1957 – 2022) wrote short stories as a child and dreamt of becoming a writer. He not only became that writer he dreamt of, he helped hundreds more to realize their dreams as well.

Dave went to Brigham Young University to study writing. While there, he became ill and feverish and started having fantastic dreams. In one such dream, two futuristic mercenaries took shelter in the skull of some giant beast and talked while waiting out a storm. He wrote that dream into the short story “On My Way to Paradise,” which won the Writers of the Future Gold Award and started a very successful career as an author. He expanded that short story into a novel of the same name, which spent several months on the Locus bestseller list and won a Philip K. Dick Memorial Special Award. He wrote several other bestselling SF novels under Dave Wolverton, including Star Wars: The Courtship of Princess Leia.

In fantasy, writing as David Farland, he was best known for his New York Times bestselling Runelords fantasy series and his YA series Of Mice and Magic. He novelized the unproduced L. Ron Hubbard film script as the New York Times bestseller, A Very Strange Trip, for which he earned the Guinness World Record for the “largest single-author book signing.”

Dave returned to BYU as a writing professor for several years but eventually returned to full-time writing.

He became a Writers of the Future Contest judge in 1991 and served as an instructor at the annual workshop. He later took the Coordinating Judge position and the Editor hat for the Writers of the Future annual anthology. He taught writing workshops, helped guide thousands of emerging writers, and considered it his greatest joy to help others.

One only needs to look at Dave’s vast roster of names discovered and nurtured. It is no wonder his keen eye for talent was dubbed Writer Whisperer.

Dave was an extraordinary individual, a kind soul, and a friend to everyone here at Writers of the Future. He was always there to lend a helping hand. Dave will be greatly missed. But it is good to know that due to his excellent work and dedication to creating the future, science fiction and fantasy will continue to be in good hands.

14 replies
  1. Premini Amerasinghe
    Premini Amerasinghe says:

    Saddened by the news, one develops a connection with our “gurus””.He was relatively young too.
    My sympathies to the family.

  2. HermioneLee
    HermioneLee says:

    RIP David. Your influence continues to run in the veins of writers you helped. Thank you for mentoring my greatest mentors

  3. MD
    MD says:

    Very saddened by this news. I never got the chance to meet him in person, but I watched all of his videos in the workshop and he was a wonderful speaker.
    If you don’t mine me asking, how did he die?

    • John Goodwin
      John Goodwin says:

      Here is the report on his death: On January 13, 2022, Wolverton suffered from a fall, resulting in a severe head injury and a hemorrhagic stroke. He was on life support until he died early the next morning at the age of 64 in St. George, Utah. He was buried in the Tonaquint Cemetery in St.

  4. susan shackelford
    susan shackelford says:

    Minutes ago, I was introduced to David Farland, (John David Wolverton). I connected with him in the first paragraph on critiquing, and wanted to save his essay and discover more effective ways to write from him. Moments ago I learned that he died less than two weeks ago. My emotions are mixed because I think he had much to teach me, and yet I am encouraged because he wrote and wrote well. I will feel blessed to learn from his writings. Susan

    • John Goodwin
      John Goodwin says:

      Hello Susan,
      It was indeed a shock. You can watch several of his teaching videos (along with Tim Powers and Orson Scott Card) at writersofthefuture.com/writing-workshop. It’s free and Dave gives very good lessons on writing.

  5. Skyler Woods
    Skyler Woods says:

    I never knew Mr. Farland but I would like to send my love and condolences to his family. It looks like heaven will be welcoming another angel. ❤

  6. John Goodwin
    John Goodwin says:

    Hello Skylar,
    Dave was a wonderful person and the perfect Coordinating Judge for the Contest. Thank you for your kind words. I know his family reviews the various posts and appreciates the comments.


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