Brief encounters with Ben Fountain

Award-winning author Ben Fountain, center, posed for a photo with extended family during the San Antonio Book Festival on April 6, 2019. (Courtesy photo / Barbara Cantrell)

It’s comforting to know that even some of the country’s most accomplished, popular authors still have their families visit them during book signings.

National Book Critics Circle Award winner Ben Fountain, one of the most lauded American writers since 2000 and the critical acclaim he received for his collection of short stories, Brief Encounters with Che Guevara. He was at the San Antonio Book Festival discussing his newest release, Beautiful Country Burn Again. The splashiest subject of the book is President Donald Trump, so that dominated much of his discussion. (I think my favorite quote from the discussion was, “You can’t con an honest person.”)

After he spoke, I went to the Barnes & Noble tent and bought a copy of Beautiful Country Burn Again for him to sign. I was third in line when Fountain and the three folks in front of him erupted in smiles and hugs. Fountain posed with an older gentleman and a younger man, then told those of us nearby: “Those are my cousins!”

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