Mette Ivie Harrison
Mette Ivie Harrison grew up in a two-hundred-year-old farmhouse in central New Jersey in a family with eleven children, a dog, a pony, and lots of chickens. She moved to the more suburban Utah city of Provo at age ten, where her father taught Computer Science at Brigham Young University.
In 1985, when she was in high school, she spent a year abroad at a German Gymnasium. She took numerous AP classes when she returned to Utah, and in 1988, was named one of twelve female "Ezra Taft Benson Scholars," the highest award offered by the Mormon-owned Brigham Young University, given not only for academic scholarship, but for service and dedication to the Mormon church. Because of AP credit, German language experience, and her tendency to take heavy credit loads, Mette was able to graduate from Brigham Young University with a Master's Degree in German Literature only two years later, in 1990, when she was nineteen. During her two years, Mette was a writer and editor for The Student Review, the subversive student newspaper not approved by the university. She also had experiences with several of the "September Six," the notorious feminist scholars who were excommunicated in 1992.
Mette married high school sweetheart Matthew Harrison in December of 1990, following his mission for the Mormon church to Haiti. She went on to earn a PhD from Princeton University in 1995 in Germanic Languages and Literatures with a dissertation on the female Bildungsroman of the 18th century. She faced considerable difficulty on the topic because of prejudice against a dissertation that focused completely on women writers in a department without a single female tenured faculty member.
Beginning in 1994, Mette worked as an adjunct professor at BYU, but decided in 1997 to work on her fiction writing career. Two years later, in 1999, she sold her first young adult novel, The Monster in Me, about a young teen girl who is fostered by a Mormon family in Heber, Utah. Mette has since published seven young adult novels, including Mira, Mirror and The Princess and the Hound. She has also published Ironmom, a memoir about the loss of her sixth child in 2005, and the subsequent training for an Ironman competition, which brought her some semblance of sanity after years of depression.
Since 2006, Mette has completed four full Ironman competitions, more than one hundred total races, and is ranked #144 for her age group nationally in triathlon. She also trains her husband, Matt, and her children. All but the youngest have competed in at least half-marathon distance races, swim well, and volunteer at local races. Two have completed marathons, two have completed Olympic distance triathlons, and one just finished his first half Ironman (beating his father for the first time) in training for his first full Ironman. Mette trains an average of three hours a day and her PR for a half-Ironman (1.2 mile swim, 56 mile bike, 13.1 mile run) is now at 5:16.
Mette delivered three of her five children at home. Her first son was delivered in a hospital after an emergency transfer. In 2002, Mette was part of one of the first Orson Scott Card "Literary Boot Camps." She gave birth to her fifth child, Zachary, on Thursday of the Boot Camp, after spending Wednesday writing her story between contractions. Friday morning, she was back at the Boot Camp with baby in tow. This made her rather memorable to everyone there.
An active member of the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints, Mette has served as Gospel Doctrine teacher, as a member of the Primary Presidency, as an aid for an autistic child, as a Primary instructor, and as a leader for the 8-11-year-old girls. Currently, Mette works in her ward nursery and her husband serves with the scouts. Mette's five children, now ages eleven to twenty, are a dynamic group with a wide range of talents and attitudes toward faith.
You can find Mette on the web at www.metteivieharrison.com. She is on Twitter at @metteharrison and has a Tumblr, metteivieharrison.tumblr.com. She also posts on Youtube with her "Ugly Ironman" vlogs. Depression, health and fitness, and questions about doctrines of the Mormon church regarding family and women are frequent topics of essays and blogs.