"Nowhere outside of Florida State University have I found such a deep respect for the creative process and such a splendid collegiality among distinguished and inspired scholars and writers."
—Robert Olen Butler
Robert Olen Butler
Francis Eppes Professor
The Pulitzer Prize for fiction goes a long way toward making—or perpetuating—writing legends.
Ask John Updike (who's won it twice) or Toni Morrison (who won the Pulitzer five years before she was awarded the Nobel).
For Robert Olen Butler, Francis Eppes Professor in English at Florida State, the honor cemented his reputation as a writer fiercely dedicated to his craft.
Butler has written three collections of stories, most recently Had a Good Time: Stories from American Postcards (Grove/Atlantic, 2004). He has also authored ten novels, including They Whisper (Holt, 1994), Tabloid Dreams (Holt, 1996), Mr. Spaceman (Grove, 2000), and A Good Scent from a Strange Mountain (Holt, 1992), the collection that won him America's highest writing honor in 1993. He has also written screenplays for Hollywood's major studios, and his stories have been included in four annual editions of The Best American Short Stories.
In May, 2001, Butler was awarded the National Fiction Award for his short story "Fair Warning," which was published in Francis Ford Coppola's Zoetrope: All Story. The story, which follows a female auctioneer in the world of high-dollar sales, is the basis for Butler's upcoming novel of the same name.
Who knows? Could be Butler's chance to draw even with Updike or to position himself for something even bigger. Still, it seems, there are more important things in life. In coming to Tallahassee to follow his passion, Butler has found a perfect match.
"I've spent 15 years teaching in dozens of major venues around the country," says Butler. "Nowhere outside of Florida State University have I found such a deep respect for the creative process and such a splendid collegiality among distinguished and inspired scholars and writers."