Ben Fountain (born 1958, Chapel Hill, North Carolina) is an American fiction writer currently living in Dallas, Texas. He has won many awards including a PEN/Hemingway award for Brief Encounters with Che Guevara: Stories (2007) and the National Book Critics Circle Award for fiction for his debut novel Billy Lynn's Long Halftime Walk (2012).
Fountain grew up in Elizabeth City, a tobacco town in eastern North Carolina. His family moved to Cary, near Raleigh, when he was 13. Fountain earned a B.A. in English from the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill in 1980, and a law degree from the Duke University School of Law in 1983. After a brief stint practicing real estate law at Akin Gump in Dallas, Fountain quit law in 1988 to become a full-time fiction writer.
While collecting articles about things he was interested in, Fountain was riveted by Haiti, regarding it "like a laboratory, almost ... Everything that’s gone on in the last five hundred years—colonialism, race, power, politics, ecological disasters—it’s all there in very concentrated form. And also I just felt, viscerally, pretty comfortable there." Speaking little French, let alone Haitian Creole, he went for his first trip abroad there in 1991 and at least thirty more times. From this came four of the best regarded stories in his 2006 breakthrough collection of short stories: Brief Encounters With Che Guevara; a late bloomer, he was forty-eight. He has won numerous awards and inclusion of his work in New Stories from the South: The Year's Best (2006). 
Fountain's latest novel, Billy Lynn's Long Halftime Walk, was released in early May 2012. The Oscar-winning screenwriter of Slumdog Millionaire, Simon Beaufoy, is adapting the novel into a screenplay, a new Film4 project in collaboration with The Ink Factory, a U.S. production company. Ang Lee is attached to direct it. Filming began in 2015 and the film is scheduled to be released in November 2016.
Awards and honors
- 2002 Texas Institute of Letters Short Story Award
- 2003 Texas Institute of Letters Short Story Award
- 2005 Texas Institute of Letters Short Story Award
- 2004 Pushcart Prize
- 2005 O. Henry Award 
- 2006 Barnes & Noble Discover Award for Fiction 
- 2007 O. Henry Award
- 2007 Hemingway Foundation/PEN Award for Brief Encounters with Che Guevara
- 2007 Whiting Award
- 2012 National Book Award (fiction), finalist, Billy Lynn's Long Halftime Walk
- 2012 Specsavers National Book Awards International Author of the Year shortlist for Billy Lynn's Long Halftime Walk
- 2012 Goodreads Readers Choice Awards 2012, Best Fiction finalist for Billy Lynn's Long Halftime Walk
- 2012 Flaherty-Dunnan Center for Fiction First Novel Prize, Billy Lynn's Long Halftime Walk
- 2012 National Book Critics Circle Award (fiction), Billy Lynn's Long Halftime Walk
- 2012 Los Angeles Times Book Prize (fiction), Billy Lynn's Long Halftime Walk
- 2013 Dayton Literary Peace Prize (fiction), runner-up, Billy Lynn's Long Halftime Walk
- 2013 Chautauqua Prize, shortlist, Billy Lynn's Long Halftime Walk
- "Near-Extinct Birds of the Central Cordillera," Zoetrobe: All-Story, Spring 2002
- "The Good Ones Are Already Taken," The Barcelona Review
- "Ben Fountain," Barnes & Noble biography
- Malcolm Gladwell (October 20, 2008). "Late Bloomers. Why do we equate genius with precocity?". The New Yorker. Retrieved January 4, 2016.
- Gladwell, Malcolm (2009) What the Dog Saw: And Other Adventures. Little, Brown & Co. New York, pp. 295−297.
- "Ben Fountain interview". Texas Monthly. February 2008.
- "Ask the Author". D Magazine. February 2010.
- Child, Ben (November 14, 2012). "Slumdog Millionaire writer adapts Billy Lynn's Long Halftime Walk". The Guardian. London.
- "Oscar-Winner Ang Lee Will Direct Billy Lynn's Long Halftime Walk". September 18, 2014.
- Malcolm Gladwell (20 October 2008). "Late Bloomers". The New Yorker.
- "Texas Institute of Letters Awards" (PDF). Texas Institute of Letters. Retrieved 2013-05-25.
- Henderson, Bill, ed. (2004). The Pushcart Prize XXVIII: Best of the Small Presses, 2004 Edition. Pushcart Press.
- "The Pen/O. Henry Prize Stories: Past Winners List". Randomhouse.com. Retrieved 2013-05-25.
- "Ben Fountain: About the Author". HarperCollins. Retrieved 2013-05-25.
- Merschel, Michael (October 25, 2007). "Dallas Author Ben Fountain Wins Whiting Award". Dallas Morning News.
- "National Book Award Finalists Announced Today". Library Journal. October 10, 2012. Retrieved November 15, 2012.
- "International Author of the Year". National Book Awards 2014.
- J.K. Rowling. "Best Fiction 2012 — Goodreads Choice Awards". Goodreads.
- "National Book Critics Awards Winners". Huffington Post. February 28, 2013.
- Ryan, Harriet (April 19, 2013). "War, and a warning, at L.A. Times book awards". Los Angeles Times.
- "Book Prizes – Los Angeles Times Festival of Books Los Angeles Times". Los Angeles Times.
- Meredith Moss (September 24, 2013). "2013 Dayton Literary Peace Prize winners announced". Dayton Daily News. Retrieved September 26, 2013.
- Ron Charles (May 15, 2013). "Timothy Egan wins Chautauqua Prize for "Short Nights of the Shadow Catcher"". Washington Post. Retrieved September 26, 2013.