Ben Fountain is the winner of the 2024 Joyce Carol Oates Prize, the award given annually to “a mid-career fiction writer who has earned a distinguished reputation and the approbation and gratitude of readers.”

Fountain made his literary debut in 2006 with Brief Encounters With Che Guevara, a story collection that won the PEN/Hemingway Award. He followed that up six years later with Billy Lynn’s Long Halftime Walk; the novel, which won the National Book Critics Circle Award and the Center for Fiction First Novel Prize, made him a literary star.

His other books include a nonfiction book, Beautiful Country Burn Again, and a novel, Devil Makes Three.

Oates, the prize’s namesake, said in a statement, “Ben Fountain writes in the great tradition of such predecessors as Joseph Conrad, Graham Greene, Robert Stone, and Russell Banks: richly detailed portraits of individuals whose public and private lives conjoin, often with tragic results. His work, like theirs, is fundamentally moral, even visionary; saturated with irony, yet not devoid of sympathy.”

Fountain said, “At a time when fantasy and delusion threaten to overwhelm so much in our lives, we need, more than ever, the hard-won clarity and wisdom that only the best novels and short stories can provide. We—writers of fiction—have our work cut out for us, and the Joyce Carol Oates Prize is a tremendous encouragement to me as I continue with my own.”

The Joyce Carol Oates Prize was first awarded in 2017, to T. Geronimo Johnson. Other winners include Laila Lalami, Lauren Groff, and Manuel Muñoz.

Michael Schaub is a contributing writer.