Tues, 10 May: An Evening with NYT Bestselling Author Ben Fountain

Ben Fountain

An evening with NY Times bestselling author Ben Fountain

Writer and best-selling author Ben Fountain will visit Eugene as the Oregon Humanities Center’s Kritikos Lecturer in the Humanities. Fountain is the author of an award-winning collection of short stories titled Brief Encounters with Che Guevara (2007), as well as a powerful and highly acclaimed debut novel, Billy Lynn’s Long Halftime Walk (2012). He will speak in Eugene on Tuesday, May 10th, at 7:30 p.m. in 182 Lillis Hall on the UO campus.

In Billy Lynn’s Long Halftime Walk (a film adaptation of which will be released on Veterans Day, November 11, 2016, directed by Ang Lee), Fountain explores the lives of eight fictional soldiers known as the Bravo Squad, who, after defeating an elite force of enemy insurgents, come home on leave from Iraq to find themselves national heroes. The Bush administration sends them on a two-week “Victory Tour,” (accompanied by a military minder, a corporate escort, and a Hollywood film producer who wants to capitalize on their exploits) which culminates with their appearance as part of a live broadcast at the Dallas Cowboys’ Thanksgiving Day game. Things inevitably go awry. Though laced with humor, the story is far from being a cheery depiction of America; rather it is a critical portrait of a society with seriously misplaced priorities and values. The novel sheds light on our modern culture’s fascination with wealth, politics, celebrity, and militarism, and the national disconnect between the war at home and the war abroad.

Ben Fountain captivates his readers and audiences with stories of fictional and nonfictional characters encountering the real-world issues that plague us all. His most recent book, Billy Lynn’s Long Halftime Walk, was a New York Times best-seller, a National Book Award finalist, and won the National Book Critics Circle Award for fiction, the Flaherty-Dunnan First Novel Prize, and the inaugural PEN New England/Cerulli Award for Excellence in Sports Fiction. In his public presentations, Fountain discusses the political and cultural environments that have inspired his stories.

The lecture is free and open to the public and will be followed by a book sale and signing. For more information, or for disability accommodations (which must be made by May 3rd) visit ohc.uoregon.edu or call (541) 346-3934.