Ben Fountain, author of the short story collection Brief Encounters with Che Guevara, will read from his work Tuesday, April 1, at Lamar University .

The reading, which is open to the public without charge, will begin at 7 p.m. in Mason Conference Room of the John Gray Center , 855 E. Florida Ave. in Beaumont .
Fountain also will answer questions about writing at 5:30 p.m. Monday, March 31, in Room 101 of the Maes Building . Lamar English and Modern Language Department members, students and others interested in writing are invited to attend, said Jim Sanderson, professor of English.
In addition, Fountain will speak to students during three classes April 1: at 9:30 a.m. in Room 112 of the Maes Building; 11 a.m. in Room 114 of the Maes Building; and at 12:30 p.m. in Room 116 of the Galloway Business Building.
Brief Encounters with Che Guevara, published in 2006 by Ecco/HarperCollins, earned both the PEN/Hemingway Award and the Barnes & Noble Discover Award for fiction.  The New York Times
called the collection “exceptional” and “heart-breaking.”
In 2007, Fountain was honored as one of 10 “emerging writers” to win the prestigious Whiting Writers’ Award, which carries a $50,000 prize. He is also  the recipient of the O. Henry Prize, two Pushcart Prizes, the McGinnis-Ritchie Prize for Fiction and the Texas Institute of Letters Short Story Award. 
Fountain is “a writer with a sharp, provocative mind whose debut . . . offers both a journey to places most of us have never seen and a view on life and war that’s full of ambiguity,” according to the the website.
His first novel The Texas Itch, set in Dallas, is forthcoming from Ecco/HarperCollins.
Fountain is former fiction editor of the Southwest Review and has degrees from the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill and Duke University Law School .
He lives in Dallas with his wife, the partner in a law firm, and their two children. He practiced real estate law in Dallas before turning to writing full time.
Fountain’s stories have appeared in Harper’s, The Paris Review, Zoetrope: All-Story and New Stories from the South, The Year’s Best: 2006, among other publications.
The February 2008 issue of Texas Monthly describes Fountain as “an overnight success at the halfway point in his life – but better late than never, especially when the payoff is an apt comparison to Graham Greene.”
Fountain’s Lamar visit is sponsored by the office of Stephen Doblin, provost and vice president for academic affairs, and the Department of English and Modern Languages.
Additional information about the programs is available from Jim Sanderson, professor of English and director of Lamar’s Writing Center , at (409) 880-8555.