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Robert Olen Butler (1994)

Louisiana Legends



Genre: Interview

Place Covered: Lake Charles, Calcasieu Parish, Louisiana, Vietnam

Copyright Holder: Louisiana Educational Television Authority

Date Issued: 1994-10-03

Duration: 00:26:47

Subjects: Butler, Robert Olen | Authors | Fiction | Writing | Military | Veterans | Vietnam War, 1961-1975 | MCNEESE STATE UNIVERSITY


  • Weill, Gus Host
  • Fowler, Ken Producer
  • Butler, Robert Olen Interviewee


This episode of the series “Louisiana Legends” from October 3, 1994, features an interview with Robert Olen Butler conducted by Gus Weill. Butler, a resident of Lake Charles, is a Pulitzer Prize-winning author. He discusses: the pleasure of being recognized with a Pulitzer Prize; the paradox of writing fiction in isolation, but feeling connected to universal humanity; working through rejection; growing up in Granite City, Illinois, where the North meets the South; the balance of his academic family and his work in a steel mill; his time in the military during the Vietnam War as a counter-intelligence agent and translator; his move from writing plays to fiction; his time in New York working in business newspapers; his move to Louisiana to teach creative writing at McNeese State University; his impressions of Louisiana; comparisons between Louisiana and Vietnam; the screenplay for his novel “A Good Scent From a Strange Mountain” with Oliver Stone; his writing habits; the process of writing a novel; and teaching.