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Roy Blount Jr.

29th annual Key West Literary Seminar

—The Hungry Muse: An Exploration of Food in Literature—

January 6 - 16, 2011

Roy Blount Jr. is the author of 22 wide-ranging books, the most recent being Hail, Hail Euphoria!, about the Marx Brothers’ best movie; Alphabet Juice, about words; and Long Time Leaving, about being a Southerner in the North. Earlier works include five collections of his humor pieces fromThe New YorkerThe Atlantic, and many other magazines; a verse appreciation of favorite foods; an account of hanging out with the Pittsburgh Steelers; a memoir; a novel narrated by the first male spouse of a U.S. president; an inquiry into the semiotics of hair; reflections upon the Carter administration; a celebration of New Orleans; verse in the voices of animals; a comprehensive anthology of Southern humor; and a biography of Robert E. Lee. In progress, Alphabetter Juice.

He grew up in Decatur, Georgia, graduated from Vanderbilt in 1963, and earned a master’s degree in English from Harvard in l964. After starting out in newspapers, The New Orleans Times-Picayune and The Atlanta Journal, he worked as a staff writer and associate editor at Sports Illustrated from l968 to l975. Since then he has had free-lance gigs as a panelist on NPR’s Wait, Wait, Don’t Tell Me and a columnist for The Oxford AmericanGarden & GunThe New York Times, Esquire, Conde Nast Traveler, Men’s Journal, The Soho News, Inside Sports, and other periodicals. For some years he conducted a regular cryptic-crossword-cum-column in Spy magazine. He wrote the screenplay for Larger Than Life, a feature film starring Bill Murray and an elephant; appeared as the traveler-narrator in The Main Stream, a PBS documentary trip down the Mississippi River; has performed often on A Prairie Home Companion and with the authors’ band the Rock Bottom Remainders (which includes Stephen King and Dave Barry among others); and has recorded audio versions of several of his books.

He has received the Thomas Wolfe Award from the University of North Carolina and been named a Literary Lion by the New York Public Library and a Literary Light by the Boston Public Library. The New England Independent Booksellers Association’s Non-Fiction award and the Faulkner House Words and Music Festival’s Legend in His (or Her) Own Time award have also come his way. He is a member of PEN and the Fellowship of Southern Writers, and was president of the Authors’ Guild from 2006-2010. He lives in western Massachusetts and New York City.

Online Resources:

Roy Blount Jr.’s website
Time Magazine Q & A
NYTimes Op-Ed re: the Authors Guild / Amazon Kindle dispute
The Rock Bottom Remainders website
N.P.R.’s “Wait Wait … Don’t tell Me”

Selected Bibliography:

Long Time Leaving: Dispatches from Up South (Counterpoint 2009)

Alphabet Juice (Farrar, Straus and Giroux 2008)

Long Time Leaving (Knopf 2007)

Robert E. Lee: A Life (Penguin 2006)

Feet on the Street (Crown 2005)

Roy Blount’s Book of Southern Humor (W.W. Norton & Company 1994)

What Men Don’t Tell Women (Penguin 1985)

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