Award-Winning Novelist Ben Fountain to Read from Latest Work

Staging of Absurdist Comedy by Steve Martin to Round out Arts Week on UT Dallas Campus

The School of Art and Humanities at UT Dallas will host an award-winning author and present an absurdist comedy on stage this week.  

On Wednesday, Feb. 13, at 7:30 p.m. in the Jonsson Performance Hall, author Ben Fountain will read from Billy Lynn’s Long Halftime Walk, a novel that was a finalist for both the National Book Award and National Book Critics Circle Award.

Author, Ben Fountain Billy Lynn's Long Halftime Walk book cover

The New York Times described Ben Fountain's novel  “grand, intimate and joyous.” The author will answer questions from the audience after the reading.

The novel follows the Bravo Squad, a group of eight soldiers home from the conflict in Iraq and on a media-intensive, nationwide tour to reinvigorate support for the war. On Thanksgiving Day, the soldiers are guests of the Dallas Cowboys and slated to be part of the halftime show alongside a popular music group.

Among the Bravos is Spc. Billy Lynn, who is thrown into the company of an NFL team owner; a Cowboys cheerleader; a veteran Hollywood producer; and supersized players eager for a taste of war.

Fountain will answer questions from the audience after his presentation.

Fountain won the Texas Institute of Letters Short Story Award in 2002 and 2004, a Pushcart Prize in 2004, the O. Henry Award in 2005 and 2007, the Hemingway Foundation/PEN Award in 2007 and a Whiting Writers Award in 2007.

The New York Times described Billy Lynn's Long Halftime Walk as “brilliantly done” and “grand, intimate and joyous.” The New Yorker said Fountain's work “reads with an easy grace.”

The event is free and open to the public

Picasso at the Lapin Agile poster

Picasso at the Lapin Agile, Steve Martin’s first comedy for the stage, concerns a fictional meeting between Pablo Picasso and Albert Einstein.

From Thursday, Feb. 14, to Saturday, Feb. 16, starting at 8 p.m. in the University Theatre, UT Dallas students will present Picasso at the Lapin Agile. The performances be repeated, also at 8 p.m., nightly Feb. 21 through Feb. 23.

The comedy, the first written by Steve Martin for the stage, places Albert Einstein and Pablo Picasso in a Parisian café in 1904, just before the renowned scientist transformed physics with his theory of relativity and the celebrated painter set the art world afire with cubism.

The performance is co-sponsored by the Center for Values in Medicine, Science and Technology.

The show is free to students, faculty and staff members presenting their UT Dallas Comet Cards at the evening of the event. In addition, they may buy up to four additional tickets for the event at the discounted price of $5.

General admission tickets for the show is $15 and $10 for non-UT Dallas students. The ticket office is open 2 to 5 p.m. Monday – Friday and one hour before show time. Tickets can be purchased in advance online or by calling 972-883-2552. Tickets purchased in advance may be picked up at the door prior to the show.

Media Contact: The Office of Media Relations, UT Dallas, (972) 883-2155, [email protected].