Southern Utah News Articles
Top Stories for December 12, 2019
Matt Livingston chooses WiDo's E.L. Marker™ to publish his memoir
Kanab High School graduate Matt Livingston’s breakout memoir, contracted to E.L. Marker™ this month, is an unflinching look at success and suffering in a man groomed to be like a “silverback gorilla that smashed tall buildings in a single punch.”
It is heartbreaking and hilarious. It is a story that will encourage readers to see themselves and others, as 19th century theologian Dietrich Bonhoeffer said we must: “less in the light of what they do or fail to do, and more in the light of what they suffer.”
For years, Matt Livingston was the picture of a perfect man: athletic, intelligent, hardworking, Eagle Scout, state champ, National Merit Scholar.
On the inside, he worried if he was doing anything right: was he ambitious enough? Successful enough? Worthy enough? Was he making everyone around him happy enough? As he struggled to make sense of his outward successes with his inner failures, he turned to writing.
Livingston grew up on a cattle ranch in rural Alberta, Canada, where he read Tolkien and C.S. Lewis in between shoveling out messy calf stalls and playing ice hockey on frozen ponds. He wrote short stories and gave speeches in his local 4-H chapter. The Livingstons moved to Kanab, Utah, where he spent his teenage years, followed by entering BYU on a full-ride journalism scholarship.
Livingston’s memoir begins in college where he met and married the love of his life – a marriage that would end in heartache and divorce. It examines the sadness and insecurities he felt with every success. It tells of his journey to find forgiveness and peace in a way that inspires the reader to do the same.
When the author showed a draft of his memoir to Hollis Gillespie, author of “Bleachy-Haired Honky Bitch” and founder of Shocking Real Life writing academy in Atlanta, she encouraged him to find a publisher not afraid to take on stories with religious themes. This led him to WiDo Publishing.
WiDo’s Managing Editor Karen Gowen read the submission on a flight to Houston. “I forgot where I was during that three hour flight, totally immersed in Matt’s story. It’s a raw, rough, stream-of-conscious memoir, absolutely compelling. Matt’s writing can alternate between making you want to cry and laugh out loud. I’m so glad he picked us to publish his book.”
Despite a gruelingly busy schedule, Livingston does manage to carve out free time to work on his next project, a young adult fantasy trilogy. He wakes up at 4 a.m., to spend two to three hours on various types of exercise. He also enjoys going on trips with his parents and four younger siblings, as well as spending time with his two young sons.
Matt Livingston first began writing for the Southern Utah News as a high school student in Kanab, where his writing was included in the 2005 documentary, “Natural Family Values.” He studied journalism at BYU and received his MBA from Utah State University. Currently, he lives in Atlanta, Georgia, where he is Vice President of Sales for a fintech company. Visit his website at atlwrite.com to read his collection of short stories and poetry.