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Best Author Dallas 2012 - Ben Fountain

His story of leaving his lawyer career to pursue full-time fiction writing is inspiring enough to make us consider walking away from our own day job. The New Yorker "late bloomer" write-up by Malcolm Gladwell — about how contrary to popular belief, genius can emerge later in life — reinforced the notion that maybe it's not too late to do so. But then we just have to read a beautiful description from his short story collection Brief Encounters With Che Guevara or a wonderfully original simile in his 2012 novel Billy Lynn's Long Halftime Walk, and we realize we have a long way to go before we can give up that paycheck.

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