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Robert Olen Butler's Biography

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Capps, Florida
Aug 2009

Robert Olen Butlerhas published eleven novels—The Alleys of Eden, Sun Dogs, Countrymen of Bones, On Distant Ground, Wabash, The Deuce, They Whisper, The Deep Green Sea, Mr. Spaceman, Fair Warning, and Hell—and five volumes of short fiction—Tabloid Dreams, Had a Good Time, Severance, and A Good Scent from a Strange Mountain, which won the 1993 Pulitzer Prize for Fiction. His most recent, Intercourse, from Chronicle Books, continues his exploration of the short short story form begun with Severance, which had two different adaptations for the stage—in Los Angeles and Paris—and four modern dance ballets based upon it, performed in Lyon, France. Also Butler has published a volume of his lectures on the creative process, From Where You Dream, edited with an introduction by Janet Burroway.

A recipient of both a Guggenheim Fellowship in fiction and a National Endowment for the Arts grant, he also won the Richard and Hinda Rosenthal Foundation Award from the American Academy of Arts and Letters and was a finalist for the PEN/Faulkner Award. He has twice won a National Magazine Award in Fiction and has received two Pushcart Prizes. His stories have appeared widely in such publications as The New Yorker, Esquire, Harper's, The Atlantic Monthly, GQ, Zoetrope, The Paris Review, The Hudson Review, The Virginia Quarterly Review, Ploughshares, and The Sewanee Review. They have also been chosen for inclusion in four annual editions of The Best American Short Stories, eight annual editions of New Stories from the South, and numerous college literature textbooks from such publishers as Simon & Schuster, Norton, Viking, Little Brown & Co., Houghton Mifflin, Oxford University Press, Prentice Hall, and Bedford/St.Martin and most recently in The New Granta Book of the American Short Story, edited by Richard Ford.

His works have been translated into eighteen languages, including Vietnamese, Thai, Korean, Polish, Japanese, Serbian, Farsi, and Greek. Intercourse has already added two new languages in forthcoming editions—Czech and Estonian. He was also a charter recipient of the Tu Do Chinh Kien Award given by the Vietnam Veterans of America for "outstanding contributions to American culture by a Vietnam veteran." Over the past twelve years he has lectured in universities, appeared at conferences, and met with writers groups in 16 countries as a Literary Envoy for the U. S. State Department.

Since 1995 he has written feature-length screenplays for New Regency, Twentieth Century Fox, Warner Brothers, Paramount, Disney, Universal Pictures, Baldwin Entertainment Group (for Robert Redford), and two teleplays for HBO. Typical of Hollywood, none of these movies he was hired to write ever made it to the screen. He is the Francis Eppes Distinguished Professor holding the Michael Shaara Chair in Creative Writing at Florida State University. He lives in Capps, Florida, which has a population of one.

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