Illinois State Library

Illinois Center for the Book

Individual Author Record

General Information

Name:  Robert Olen Butler  

Pen Name: None

Genre: C:ADULT Fiction Non-Fiction

Born: 1945 in Granite City, Illinois


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.

Published Works Expand for more information

Titles At Your Library


-- '''''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