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Famed author Ben Fountain named endowed chair of creative writing

By Kristina Kenney
University News Service
April 22, 2013

Ben Fountain

Ben Fountain

Internationally recognized and multi-award winning fiction author Ben Fountain will join the Texas State University Department of English as the University Endowed Chair in Creative Writing from 2014-2016.

Fountain’s most recent novel, Billy Lynn’s Long Halftime Walk, won the 2013 National Book Critics’ Circle Award for fiction, the Flaherty-Dunnan First Novel Prize, the PEN New England-Cerulli Award for Excellence in Sports Fiction and the Jesse H. Jones Award for Fiction.

The novel was also named a “best book of the year” by Time, the New York Times, the Washington Post, Kirkus Reviews and Publishers Weekly. The New York Times bestseller is also currently being adapted into a screenplay by Simon Beaufoy, Oscar-winning screenwriter of “Slumdog Millionaire.”

Fountain’s 2006 short story collection, Brief Encounters with Che Guevara, was a 2007 winner of the PEN New England-Hemingway Award for Fiction, the Barnes and Noble Discover Award for Fiction and the Whiting Writer’s Award. The national bestseller collection also garnered widespread praise from a number of reviewers who called it “a masterpiece,” “an impeccable debut collection” and a “tremendous achievement.”

“I think one of the most important things an MFA program can teach is clarity of vision and the tools for understanding and critical analysis,” Fountain said in a 2009 interview with Ecotone. “We need people who see things for what they are, and these MFA students are among the people who are trying, just by definition of trying to make themselves writers. I think MFA programs are a great thing if they’re done right."

For more information, please contact Dan Lochman at dl02@txstate.edu.