Ben Fountain, author of Billy Lynn’s Long Halftime Walk, which will be released this fall as a feature film, headlines the Visiting Writers Series at UNC Asheville with a free public talk on Thursday, Sept. 22, at 7 p.m. in UNC Asheville’s Reuter Center. A conversation with UNC Asheville’s Writer-in-Residence Wiley Cash will conclude the talk.
Books will be available to purchase before and the event, with a book signing to follow. Readers can hear from the author less than two months before the film release date of Nov. 11.
Fountain’s satiric novel, Billy Lynn’s Long Halftime Walk, set in Texas during the war in Iraq, won the National Book Critics Award and was a National Book Award finalist. The story follows the surviving members of the fictional heroic Bravo Squad through one exhausting stop in their media-intensive “Victory Tour.” For the film, directed by Oscar-winner Ang Lee, this culminating halftime show provides the backdrop for flashbacks to reveal what really happened to 19-year-old private Billy Lynn.
A North Carolina native who graduated from UNC-Chapel Hill and then Duke University Law School, Fountain worked as an attorney before focusing full-time on his writing. His first book, the short story collection Brief Encounters with Che Guevara, won the PEN/Hemingway Award.
Fountain’s talk begins the 2016-17 Visiting Writers Series at UNC Asheville, organized by Writer-in-Residence and UNC Asheville alumnus Wiley Cash, who is also the best-selling author of This Dark Road to Mercy and A Land More Kind than Home. Author and UNC Asheville alumna Leigh Ann Henion will read as part of this series on Nov. 10; poet Camille Dungy and novelist Chinelo Okparanta will visit campus during the spring semester.
“It’s an incredible time to be part of the literary arts at UNC Asheville. Over the course of this academic year our students and local community are going to have numerous opportunities to engage with well known, world-class authors. I’m thrilled that Ben Fountain will kick-off this series just a few weeks before his film, which is already receiving major awards buzz, is released in theaters across the country,” said Cash.