Lifelong Murray resident Shaun Delliskave writes about his community with the passion and tenacity of a ‘local’Aug 03, 2022 08:35PM ● By Carl Fauver
By Carl Fauver | [email protected]
“Excuse me, Mr. Delliskave, who are you wearing?”
“Oh, is he a new Scottish designer?”
Murray Journal scribe Shaun Delliskave describes that as one of the more interesting exchanges he had with a member of the paparazzi nine years ago, as he and his wife Jennifer were walking the red carpet at the Catalina (Island, California) Film Festival.
“I had been nominated for a Best Original Screenplay award,” Delliskave explains. “My screenplay didn’t win that night; but I have earned more than 30 awards in several different festivals and competitions. I’ve also had a couple of them optioned by movie producers. But none have gone into production yet.”
Shaun wrote his first screenplay at age 11. But now, 40 years later, cracking into Hollywood would have to be considered Delliskave’s third career.
First, Shaun is the University of Utah Department of World Languages and Cultures Administrator. That’s the career feeding his family and keeping a roof over their head.
Second, of course, is Delliskave’s 5-plus years writing news and feature stories for the Murray Journal. And, like the screenwriting, he’s won a number of awards for that as well—from the Utah Chapter of the Society of Professional Journalists—most recently taking third place for “Best Medical/Science” article.
Put succinctly: Shaun enjoys writing…and does it exceptionally well.
Several years after penning that age 11 motion picture screenplay, Delliskave first tried his hand at newspaper writing at Cottonwood High School, which he graduated from in 1989.
“I wrote for our school newspaper, the ‘Colt Roundup,’ and enjoyed it,” he said. “That’s also when the old ‘Green Sheet’ was being delivered weekly. I always thought that paper would be fun to write for someday.”
Jump ahead nearly three decades to the summer of 2017 and you find Shaun starting to work for City Journals.
“I thought working for the Journal would keep my writing skills going,” he said. “Plus, I had been reading some Murray Journal articles and it felt like they needed someone local. I understand government pretty well, since I have a master’s in public administration. It just seemed like a good fit.”
Technically, Delliskave began writing for the Cottonwood Heights Journal. But as soon as the opening came for him to cover Murray City government, he was all over it.
“I have a passion for this because I want to be sure our elected officials are responsive to their constituents,” he added. “I like them to know someone is keeping an eye on them.”
Shaun has lived virtually his entire life in Murray. And before that, his ancestors moved into the area within years of Murray’s 1903 incorporation.
“My relatives were part of a large Italian group who moved into Murray when they left their work in mines to become farmers,” he said. “My family has been in the city since 1910. My parents are now deceased. I have an older brother and sister. My sister still lives in the family home I grew up in.”
Nine years out of high school, in 1998, Shaun married his wife, Jennifer. Their son James graduated from Murray High School in 2020, that spring when coronavirus was changing everything. Meantime, daughter Elizabeth is expected to enjoy a much more “normal” Murray High School graduation when she dons her cap and gown next May.
“When the pandemic canceled my son’s graduation, we decorated our pickup for James and a friend and drove them through our neighborhood,” Delliskave said. “As we drove around, people waved from their driveways. Some people threw them candy and gift cards. Then we also drove through the setup they had outside the high school, where he received his diploma.”
James is now studying history at the University of Utah, hoping to one day be a museum curator.
His sister Elizabeth is the visual artist in the family.
“She will be a senior at Murray this fall and is big into graphic arts,” Shaun said. “She has had several art pieces place in the annual Murray Art Show. Her work was also recently displayed at Murray City Hall.”
As for wife Jennifer, Delliskave says she owns her own copy editing and marketing business.
“She reads all my newspaper articles to make sure they are good enough to go to the editor,” he said.
Back on the Hollywood side of things, Shaun still has high hopes the very first screenplay he wrote will eventually become a major motion picture.
“I wrote the screenplay ‘Mass Exodus’ in 2012,” Delliskave said. “It’s a true story about some 20,000 Jews who were smuggled out of Europe through Italy before and during World War II. The screenplay has been optioned twice. But Hollywood is fickle. I still believe it can become a successful, big budget movie. We’ll see what happens.”If and when it does—and Shaun and Jennifer end up walking another red carpet—you can bet there’s a good chance one of the City Journal’s most reliable and outstanding news writers will again be wearing a Mr. Mac sui