Christopher John "Chris" Offutt (born August 24, 1958) is an American writer. He is most widely known for his short stories and novels, but he has also published two memoirs and nonfiction articles. In 2005, he had a story included in a comic book collection edited by Michael Chabon, and another in the anthology Noir. He has written episodes for the TV series True Blood and Weeds.
Early life and education
Chris Offutt was born in Lexington, Kentucky, the son of Andrew J. Offutt, an author, and his wife Jodie. His brother Jeff Offutt later became a software engineer. They grew up in a small former mining community located in Rowan County in the Appalachian Mountain foothills of eastern Kentucky. The boys attended public schools. Offut quit high school intending to join the army, but failed the physical. Offut subsequently attended Morehead State University and graduated with a degree in theater and a minor in English. After college, he hitchhiked around the country, taking more than 50 jobs, all part-time, and began writing.
Offutt later attended the Iowa Writers' Workshop.
In 1992, Offutt published his first short story collection, Kentucky Straight. His second book was the 1993 memoir The Same River Twice. In 1997 he published his first novel, The Good Brother.
In 1999, he published his second collection of stories, Out of the Woods. His next book was a memoir, No Heroes: A Memoir of Coming Home (2002), about a six-month return to Rowan County where he had lived as a child.
In 2005, Offutt made his comic book debut when he wrote "Another Man's Escape" for Michael Chabon Presents: The Amazing Adventures of the Escapist. A second comic is included in the anthology Noir, from Dark Horse Comics.
Offutt has been a visiting faculty member at the Iowa Writers' Workshop, the University of Montana, the University of New Mexico, Grinnell College, Morehead State University, and Mercer University. He is teaching at the University of Mississippi as visiting faculty.
In addition to his fiction, Offut writes non-fiction articles, which have been published in The New York Times, Men's Journal, Oxford American, and aired on National Public Radio. His work is widely translated, and taught in high schools and colleges. His stories are included in many anthologies, including Best American Short Stories, and New Stories of the South (four works). They have twice been featured on "Selected Shorts" on NPR. He has also written screenplays for TV series.
His work has received awards from the Lannan Foundation, Guggenheim Foundation, the American Academy of Arts and Letters, National Endowment for the Arts, and the Whiting Foundation. In 1996 Offutt was named one of the twenty best young American fiction writers by Granta magazine.
- Kentucky Straight (1992)
- The Same River Twice (1993)
- The Good Brother (1997)
- Out of the Woods (1999)
- No Heroes: A Memoir of Coming Home (2002)
- "Best of Young American Novelists", Granta 54,
- "Chris Offutt bio", Lannan Foundation
- Chris Offut, "My Dad, the Pornographer." The New York Times, February 5, 2015.