Ben Fountain's debut short story collection, Brief Encounters with Che Guevara, was published in America eighteen years after he left his job at a Dallas real estate law firm to become a writer. It would appear that it was well worth the wait, as it immediately met with praise, awarded both the PEN/Hemingway and Whiting Award. This success continued when his first novel, Billy Lynn's Long Halftime Walk, was published five years later. In the last six months alone, it has won two awards in America, including the prestigious National Book Critics Circle award, and nominated for a further two here in the UK.
His short story collection explores America's perennial mission to rectify global strife, scrutinising corruption, fiscal greed and the Realpolitik of diplomacy through the figure of 'the American abroad'.