Nickolas Butler to receive Chancellor's Regional Literary Award

April 26, 2015

Nickolas ButlerWisconsin author Nickolas Butler is the winner of the 2015 University of Wisconsin-Whitewater Chancellor's Regional Literary Award.

He will be honored for his novel "Shotgun Lovesongs," which tells the story of five childhood friends living in and out of a small town in northwest Wisconsin.

Butler possesses a strong sense of place and anyone who lives in Wisconsin or the Midwest will appreciate his vivid descriptions of the seasons, rural landscapes and small-town life. The book is rich in both humor and heartbreak, and is populated by relatable characters.

Chancellor Beverly Kopper will present the award to Butler on Wednesday, Oct. 14, at 4 p.m. in the Summers Auditorium of the James R. Connor University Center. He will give a reading from the novel and take questions from the audience, and then sign books in the auditorium from 5:30 to 6 p.m. A reception will take place in the Old Main Ballroom from 5:30-7 p.m.

"I am thrilled to be the recipient of the UW-Whitewater Chancellor's Regional Literary Award," Butler said. "To have my name listed alongside previous winners such as: David Rhodes, Jane Hamilton, Michael Perry, and John Hildebrand (among many other heroes of mine), is an astonishing compliment. I can't wait to visit Whitewater this fall to express my thanks."

Born in Allentown, Pennsylvania, and raised in Eau Claire, Wisconsin, Butler was educated at UW-Madison and the University of Iowa Writer's Workshop.

His short stories, poetry and nonfiction have appeared in Ploughshares, Kenyon Review Online, The Lumberyard, The Christian Science Monitor, Narrative, Sixth Finch and several other publications. He is also the author of a forthcoming collection of short stories titled "Beneath the Bonfire."

Butler previously worked as a Burger King maintenance man, a tutor, a telemarketer, a hot-dog vendor, an innkeeper (twice), an office manager, a coffee roaster, a liquor store clerk, and an author escort. His itinerant work includes potato harvester, grape picker and Christmas tree axe-man.

He, his wife and two children live on 16 acres of land near Eau Claire, adjacent to a buffalo farm.


Jeff Angileri

Sara Kuhl

About the award

The Chancellor's Regional Literary Award honors a living author who has demonstrated a connection to the Upper Midwest in his or her published works of prose, poetry, nonfiction or drama.

Previous winners:

2006 - C.J. Hribal for "The Company Car"

2007 - A. Manette Ansay for "Vinegar Hill," "Limbo" and "Blue Water"

2008 - Michael Perry for "Population 485" and "Truck: A Love Story"

Jane Hamilton for "A Map of the World" and "The Book of Ruth"

2009 - David Rhodes for "Driftless"

2010 - Agate Nesaule for "A Woman in Amber" and "In Love with Jerzy Kosinski"

2011 - Robert Goolrick for "A Reliable Wife"

2012 - John Hildebrand for "Mapping the Farm: The Chronicles of a Family" and "Reading the River: A Voyage Down the Yukon"

2013 - Alison Townsend for "The Blue Dress" and "Persephone in America"

2014- Deborah Blum for ""The Poisoner's Handbook: Murder and the Birth of Forensic Medicine in Jazz Age New York" and "Love at Goon Park: Harry Harlow and the Science of Affection"

Chancellor's Literary Award website >>