Shawn Vestal grew up in a Mormon family in Gooding, Idaho, but he left the faith as a young adult. His new book, Godforsaken Idaho, is based in part on his experiences growing up Mormon. The stories in the book also examine secular takes on life and the afterlife. Slate recently featured Vestal as one of a growing number of ex-Mormon writers who examine the faith in their writing.
Shawn Vestal now lives in Spokane, where he writes for the Spokesman-Review. After two decades of writing stories in his spare time, he went back to school in 2006 to get an MFA in creative writing at Eastern Washington University. He was published in the literary journal McSweeney’s the following year, and signed a book deal shortly after that.
Shawn Vestal will read from Godforsaken Idaho at Powell’s Books on Hawthorne Thursday at 7:30 p.m.
Have you read Godforsaken Idaho? What are your favorite books that incorporate faith — or a loss of faith?