Illinois State Library

Illinois Center for the Book


Individual Author Record

General Information

Name:  Robert Olen Butler  

Pen Name: None

Genre: Fiction Non-Fiction

Audience: Adult;

Born: 1945 in Granite City, Illinois


-- Website -- http://www.robertolenbutler.com/
-- Robert Olen Butler on WorldCat -- http://www.worldcat.org/search?q=robert+olen+butler


Illinois Connection

Butler was born and grew up in Granite City. He attended Northwestern University in Evanston and lived in Illinois until 1967.

Biographical and Professional Information

Robert Olen Butler is an American fiction writer. He served in Vietnam from 1969 to 1971. He rose to the rank of sergeant in the Army Military Intelligence Corps. His experiences during that period have affected his writings, and as a result, in 1987 Butler received the Tu Do Chinh Kien Award from the Vietnam Veterans of America for outstanding contributions to American culture by a veteran.After working as a steel mill laborer, a taxi driver, and a substitute teacher in high schools in the years following his tour of duty in Vietnam, Butler joined Fairchild Publications, where he worked on the staffs of trade publications such as Electronic News. From 1975 until 1985, he was the editor-in-chief of Fairchild's Energy User News. Butler taught creative writing at McNeese State University in Lake Charles, Louisiana, from 1985 to 2000. He then joined the faculty of Florida State University as a Francis Eppes Distinguished Professor, holding the Michael Shaara Chair in Creative Writing. His short-story collection, ''A Good Scent from a Strange Mountain'' was awarded the Pulitzer Prize for fiction in 1993.


Awards

A Good Scent from a Strange Mountain


-- Southern Review/LSU Prize for Short Fiction for the best first collection of short fiction by an American writer, 1992
-- Richard and Hinda Rosenthal Foundation Award, American Academy of Arts and Letters, 1993
-- Notable Book, American Library Association, 1993
-- Pulitzer Prize for fiction, 1993

Perfume River


-- Longlisted, Andrew Carnegie Medal for Excellence in Fiction, 2017 '''Other Awards

Speaking Engagements

Speaking Engagement Availability (No)

Selected Titles At Your Library

A good scent from a strange mountain :
ISBN: 0802137989. OCLC Number: 24285600

H. Holt,. .

The Vietnam War continues to play itself out in fiction, autobiography, and history books, but no American author has captured the experiences of the Vietnamese themselves--and caught their voices--more tellingly than Robert Olen Butler, who won the Pulitzer Prize in 1993 for A Good Scent From a Strange Mountain. The 15 stories collected here, all written in the first person, blend Vietnamese folklore, the terrible, lingering memories of war, American pop culture and family drama.

A Good Scent from a Strange Mountain :
ISBN: 9781843447610. OCLC Number: 916905002

Oldcastle Books,. .

Robert Olen Butler's lyrical and poignant collection of stories about the aftermath of the Vietnam War and its impact on the Vietnamese was acclaimed by critics across the nation and won the Pulitzer Prize in 1993. A contemporary classic by one of America's most important living writers, this edition of A Good Scent from a Strange Mountain includes two subsequently published stories – ‘Salem' and ‘Missing' - that brilliantly complete the collection's narrative journey, returning to the jungles of Vietnam. ‘Butler has not entered the significant and ever-growing canon of Vietnam-related fictio.

A small hotel /
ISBN: 0802119875. OCLC Number: 692288756

Grove Press,. .

A tale set in reverse chronicles the failing marriage of New Orleans residents Michael and Kelly Hayes, who, on the day their divorce becomes final, revisit their shared history to evaluate the insecurities and inabilities that have driven them apart.

Countrymen of bones
ISBN: 0099268523. OCLC Number: 43056694

Vintage,. .

Countrymen of bones /
ISBN: 0818006390. OCLC Number: 9785198

Horizon Press,. .

Fair warning :
ISBN: 0871138336. OCLC Number: 48038540

. .

"At age forty, Amy is the company's star employee, capable of selling a Renoir painting of a pudgy nude for twice its value. Hers are the charms and talents of a sophisticated woman; intelligence, ambition, wit, and endless charisma."--Jacket.

Fair warning :
ISBN: 9781555846183. OCLC Number: 881685521

. .

Amy Dickerson, a star employee of a renowned auction house, falls in love with Alain Bouchard, a cultured French business mogul, but their seemingly perfect relationship slowly begins to crumble, forcing Amy to make a startling discovery.

From where you dream :
ISBN: 0802117953. OCLC Number: 57531366

Grove Press,. .

"Janet Burroway, author of Writing Fiction, the classic text on creative writing ... introduces her edited transcripts of Butler's thought-provoking lectures. From Where You Dream reimagines the process of writing as emotional rather than intellectual and tells writers how to achieve the dreamspace necessary for composing honest, inspired fiction. Proposing fiction as the exploration of the human condition with yearning as its compass, Butler reinterprets the traditional tools of the craft using the dynamics of desire."--Publisher's website.

Had a good time :
ISBN: 0802142044. OCLC Number: 53926660

Grove Press,. .

A collection of short fiction inspired by postcards from a bygone era and their messages offers fifteen pieces, including "Carl and I," "The Ironworkers' Hayride," and "The One in White."

Had a good time :
ISBN: 9781555846206. OCLC Number: 881685829

. .

A collection of short fiction inspired by postcards from a bygone era and their messages offers fifteen pieces, including Carl and I, The Ironworkers' Hayride, and The One in White.

Hell
ISBN: 9780802198938. OCLC Number: 881685821

. .

Hatcher McCord is an evening newscaster who has found himself in Hell and is struggling to explain his bad fortune. He's far from the only one to suffer this fate--in fact, he's surrounded by an outrageous cast of characters, including William Shakespeare, Humphrey Bogart, Richard M. Nixon, Jezebel, Judas Iscariot, Pope Boniface VIII, J. Edgar Hoover, and a panoply of present-day figures who will soon be in Hell. The question may be not who is in Hell but who isn't. Butler's Hell isn't as much a boiling lake of fire--although there is that--as it is a Sisyphean trial tailored to each inhabitant. One day, Hatcher McCord meets Dante's Beatrice, who believes there is a way out of Hell. Soon thereafter, by a twist of diabolical fate and an interviewer's savvy, he learns a deep, dark secret of the underworld. From there Butler is off on a madcap romp about good, evil, free will, and the possibility of escape.--From publisher's description.

Hell /
ISBN: 0802145094. OCLC Number: 308207812

Grove Press,. .

Hatcher McCord is an evening newscaster who has found himself in Hell and is struggling to explain his bad fortune. He's far from the only one to suffer this fate--in fact, he's surrounded by an outrageous cast of characters, including William Shakespeare, Humphrey Bogart, Richard M. Nixon, Jezebel, Judas Iscariot, Pope Boniface VIII, J. Edgar Hoover, and a panoply of present-day figures who will soon be in Hell. The question may be not who is in Hell but who isn't. Butler's Hell isn't as much a boiling lake of fire--although there is that--as it is a Sisyphean trial tailored to each inhabitant. One day, Hatcher McCord meets Dante's Beatrice, who believes there is a way out of Hell. Soon thereafter, by a twist of diabolical fate and an interviewer's savvy, he learns a deep, dark secret of the underworld. From there Butler is off on a madcap romp about good, evil, free will, and the possibility of escape.--From publisher's description.

Intercourse :
ISBN: 0811863573. OCLC Number: 180750605

. .

A collection of short fiction by the Pulitzer Prize-winning author offers a revealing look at what goes through a person's mind during sex as he captures the innermost thoughts of such couples as Bonnie and Clyde, Adam and Eve, and Richard Milhous Nixon and Pat Nixon.

Intercourse :
ISBN: 9781843447535. OCLC Number: 910663567

. .

What goes through the mind of a person while having sex? Pulitzer Prize-winning author Robert Olen Butler turns his daring imagination to the intimate in his latest colletion that both dazzles and probes. He lays bare the most flagrant, personal thoughts and feelings of fifty often surprising couples. The author's meticulous research reveals that these famous people actually did get together and, almost certainly (he wasn't there), consummated their relationship. Erotic, provocative, political, and funny, each story illuminates the inner workings of these well-known people and also reveals the delights, deviousness, and distractions of intercourse. Butler is at his most entertaining and insightful in this wild and engaging new collection. 'An unabashed, rollicking trip through history told in brilliant paired monologues at moments of supreme intimacy⁰́₄or not. If we humans are all that he says, this Mr. Butler, we are wise and wicked, compassionate and egocentric, tender and mad, and he, the revelator, is deliciously naughty, keen-witted, and clairvoyant, a master of a hundred voices. I laughed out loud, and I'm still laughing' - Susan Vreeland, author of Luncheon of the Boating Party and Girl in Hyacinth Blue.

Mr. Spaceman :
ISBN: 0802137822. OCLC Number: 54409188

Grove Press,. .

A spaceman orbits the Earth, gently abducting people to study humanity, then erasing the event from their memories. Problems arise when he falls in love with a beautician from Alabama.

Mr. Spaceman :
ISBN: 9781555846213. OCLC Number: 881686735

. .

A spaceman orbits the Earth, gently abducting people to study humanity, then erasing the event from their memories. Problems arise when he falls in love with a beautician from Alabama.

On distant ground
ISBN: 0749396393. OCLC Number: 32204230

Minerva,. .

On distant ground :
ISBN: 0394540409. OCLC Number: 11187308

. .

Perfume river :
ISBN: 0802125751. OCLC Number: 939426786

. .

Robert Quinlan is a seventy-year-old historian teaching at Florida State University, where his wife Darla is also tenured. Their marriage, forged in the fervor of anti-Vietnam War protests, now bears the fractures of time, both personal and historical, with the couple trapped in an existence of morning coffee and solitary jogging and separate offices. For Robert and Darla, the cracks remain under the surface, whereas the divisions in Robert's own family are more apparent: he has almost no relationship with his brother Jimmy, who became estranged from the family as the Vietnam War intensified. Robert and Jimmy's father, a veteran of WWII, is coming to the end of his life, and aftershocks of war ripple across their lives once again when Jimmy refuses to appear at his father's bedside. And an unstable homeless man whom Robert at first takes to be a fellow Vietnam veteran turns out to have a deep impact not just on Robert, but on his entire family.

PERFUME RIVER.
ISBN: 9781843449645. OCLC Number: 962434943

NO EXIT PRESS,. .

This novel examines family ties and the legacy of the Vietnam War through the portrait of a single North Florida family. Profound and poignant, it is an examination of relationships, personal choice and how war resonates down the generations.

Severance :
ISBN: 0811856143. OCLC Number: 65187306

Chronicle Books,. .

Pulitzer-winning Butler presents 62 stories, each exactly 240 words long, capturing the flow of thoughts and feelings that go through a person's mind after their head has been severed. The characters are both real and imagined, including Medusa and Anne Boleyn.

Severance :
ISBN: 1843447592. OCLC Number: 968796958

. .

Severance: The human head remains in a state of consciousness for one and a half minutes after decapitation. In a heightened state of emotion, people speak at a rate of 160 words per minute. Inspired by this, Robert Olen Butler wrote Severance, 62 vignettes each exactly 240 words in length, that capture the flow of thoughts that go through a person's mind after their head has been severed. Here are the imagined ultimate words of famous and invented figures -- Medusa, Sir Walter Raleigh, Anne Boleyn, Jayne Mansfield, and a chicken, beheaded for Sunday dinner. Intercourse: Delightfully reveals what goes through a person's mind at a crucial moment during sex. Smart, provocative, subtle, and erotic, each story is a many faceted gem. Butler dazzles and entertains as he channels the most intimate thoughts of 50 couples from history and myth.

Sun dogs /
ISBN: 0818006366. OCLC Number: 8729651

Horizon Press,. .

Sun dogs :
ISBN: 0805032010. OCLC Number: 28888948

H. Holt,. .

Tabloid dreams :
ISBN: 0805055894. OCLC Number: 35364700

H. Holt & Co.,. .

Twelve off-beat stories. In JFK Secretly Attends Jackie's Auction, President Kennedy, who survived the assassination and is a prisoner of the CIA, is allowed to attend an auction of his wife's property, while in Jealous Husband Returns in Form of Parrot, a husband reincarnated as a parrot tries to make amends to his wife who now owns him.

Tabloid dreams :
ISBN: 9780802193643. OCLC Number: 881688006

. .

The alleys of Eden
ISBN: 0099437163. OCLC Number: 59483145

Vintage,. .

The deep green sea
ISBN: 0436220741. OCLC Number: 38090960

G.K. Hall. .

The deep green sea :
ISBN: 0802120962. OCLC Number: 881685126

. .

[A] ... tale of modern love between a Vietnamese woman, orphaned in 1975 when Saigon fell to the Communists, and a Vietnam War veteran returning from America to seek closure for decades-old emotional wounds. The more they nurture the love between them, and the more they learn about each other, the more complex and dangerous their relationship becomes--Publisher's website.

The deuce :
ISBN: 067167093X. OCLC Number: 19722736

Simon and Schuster,. .

The deuce :
ISBN: 0805031979. OCLC Number: 28710640

Henry Holt and Company,. .

The empire of night
ISBN: 9781843445715. OCLC Number: 931765476

. .

It is 1915, and 'Kit' Cobb is working undercover in a castle on the Kent coast owned by a suspected British government mole, Sir Albert Stockman. Kit is working with his mother, the beautiful and mercurial spy, Isabel Cobb, who also happens to be a world-famous stage actress. Isabel's offstage role is to keep tabs on Stockman, while Kit tries to figure out his agenda. Following his mother and her escort from the relative safety of Britain into the lion's den of Berlin, Kit must remain in character, even under the very nose of the Kaiser.

The empire of night /
ISBN: 0802123236. OCLC Number: 880707314

. .

"In the thrilling third installment of the Christopher Marlowe Cobb series, Kit discovers a secret plan to transform Zeppelins into dangerous killing machines--and to turn the tide of war in Germany's favor"--

The hot country
ISBN: 9781843445630. OCLC Number: 893163848

. .

Christopher Marlowe (Kit) Cobb, an early 20th-century American war correspondent reporting on Mexico's civil war, witnesses the attempted assassination of a priest and the arrival of strange ships bearing German officials.

The hot country /
ISBN: 0802121543. OCLC Number: 864428252

. .

Christopher Marlowe ("Kit") Cobb, an early 20th-century American war correspondent reporting on Mexico's civil war, witnesses the attempted assassination of a priest and the arrival of strange ships bearing German officials.

The star of Istanbul :
ISBN: 0802121578. OCLC Number: 862062826

Mysterious Press,. .

Christopher Marlowe ("Kit") Cobb, an American war correspondent reporting on World War I, has been tasked to follow a man named Brauer, a German intellectual and possible covert SS agent, into perilous waters aboard the ship Lusitania, as the man is believed to hold information vital to the war effort. Aboard the Lusitania on its fateful voyage, Cobb becomes smitten with famed actress Selene Bourgani, who for some reason appears to be working with German Intelligence.

The star of Istanbul :
ISBN: 9781622311811. OCLC Number: 857853123

. .

In the second historical thriller featuring war correspondent and spy Christopher Marlowe (Kit) Cobb, Cobb crosses paths with a sultry, mysterious actress whose secret agenda may be the key to saving--or toppling--two empires during World War I.

They whisper
ISBN: 0099442582. OCLC Number: 49692138

Vintage,. .

They whisper :
ISBN: 0805019855. OCLC Number: 29223826

H. Holt,. .

This may be the sexiest book you've ever read. It is also, at turns, among the funniest and the most harrowing and the most moving and the most lyrically beautiful of books. And it is also a book of uncompromising artistic integrity. They Whisper is an astonishingly rare thing in this sex-conscious age: a serious-work of literary art that directly and unflinchingly addresses the subject of modern heterosexuality.

Wabash :
ISBN: 039455597X. OCLC Number: 14413982

Knopf :. .

Wabash :
ISBN: 0805032002. OCLC Number: 28927519

H. Holt and Co.,. .