One of our favorite parts of the Southern Festival of Books is the Authors in the Round dinner on Friday night. Each table is paired with an author, and each guest at the table receives a copy of the author’s book. This year, we could scarcely believe our luck, as we were seated with Ben Fountain!
Fountain’s debut novel, Billy Lynn’s Long Halftime Walk, had been named a finalist for the 2012 National Book Award in Fiction only days earlier. Read our review in the August issue and a Q&A with Fountain.
His debut novel might be all about war, Texas, football and obsessive patriotism, but his real passion is the history of Haiti. He’s written several short stories with a Haitian backdrop—included in his collection Brief Encounters with Che Guevara—and plans to set his next book in 1991 Haiti.
Fountain was incredibly gracious—and often humble to the point of hilariously self-deprecating, especially when he talked about writing for 18 years before getting published.
He also signs the best book inscriptions:
Ben, come back and hang out with BookPage any time!
If you could have dinner with an author, who would it be?