HarperCollins Speakers Bureau

Nickolas Butler

Internationally Bestselling, Prizewinning Novelist & Short Story Writer


  • From Food Stamps to a Bestselling Novel: The Years Before a Breakout Success
  • Short Stories as Business Cards: Building Your Quality and Career with Short Stories
  • An Evening with Nickolas Butler



Nickolas Butler was born in Allentown, Pennsylvania, raised in Eau Claire, Wisconsin and educated at the University of Wisconsin-Madison and the University of Iowa Writer's Workshop. He is the author of the internationally best-selling novel Shotgun Lovesongs and a collection of acclaimed short stories entitled, Beneath the Bonfire.  He is the winner of France's prestigious PAGE Prix America, the 2014 Great Lakes Great Reads Award, the 2014 Midwest Independent Booksellers Award, the 2015 Wisconsin Library Association Literary Award, the 2015 UW-Whitewater Chancellor's Regional Literary Award, and has been long-listed for the 2014 Flaherty Dunnan Award for First Novel and short-listed for France's FNAC Prix. In 2017, he published The Hearts of Men (Ecco), which was short-listed for two of France's most prestigious literary prizes even before its American publishing. His fourth novel, Little Faith (Ecco) debuted in March of 2019.

Butler has published articles, reviews, short stories, and poetry in publications such as: PloughsharesNarrative, and The New York Times Book Review, to name a few. Prior to publishing Shotgun Lovesongs, Butler worked a long list of jobs including: coffee roaster, liquor store clerk, office manager, hot-dog vendor, author escort, meat-packer, bed-and-breakfast manager, telemarketer, and Burger King maintenance man.

Butler is married and lives with his wife and two children on sixteen acres of land adjacent to a buffalo farm in rural Wisconsin. He is already at work on another novel, this one set in the mountains of the American West.

Praise for The Hearts of Men:

“Gut-punch of a novel...I keep coming back to Nelson, Butler’s great creation. He is a character of such vivid goodness, such moving and precise sorrow, I don’t think I’ll ever forget him. And in the end isn’t that what we ask of a novel, that it be unforgettable?”
-- New York Times Book Review

“Butler captures the rites and rhythms of young manhood in intimate, clear-eyed detail, shifting nimbly between multiple perspectives, several generations, and two wars overseas...a potent exploration of friendship, betrayal, and all the markers of masculinity that can’t be measured by badges and trust falls.”
-- Entertainment Weekly

“[A] beautiful story of love and courage...Butler’s storytelling is hypnotizing. Yet every time we’re about to get too comfortable, he reminds us of his powerful talent to cause “the feels” when he lays tiny tragedies at our feet.”
-- Milwaukee Journal Sentinel

“A multi-layered, multi-generational mini-epic...Butler delves into a dark, Midwestern, middle-class suburban mentality in the same neighborhood as John Cheever’s Shady Hill and Richard Yates’s Revolutionary Hill Estates.”
-- USA Today

“Across three generations and as many wars, this earnest novel explores the ways boys become men and how even flawed men may stand as models for the young... A well-paced, affecting read.”
-- Kirkus Reviews (starred review)

’Butler achieves a rare triple play here of brilliant characterizations, a riveting story line, and superlatively measured prose, putting him in the front ranks of contemporary American writers of literary fiction.”
-- Booklist

“Butler’s latest delves into the meaning of loyalty and friendship, how some rise to life’s challenges while others fail... Fans of Butler’s award-winning Shotgun Lovesongs will welcome this impressive work with an outstanding ensemble cast. Top of the class for Butler on this one.”
-- Library Journal (starred review)

“Like a great campfire story, The Hearts of Men is epic and hushed in the right places, simultaneously local and universal, and brilliantly, beautifully unspooled. It’s both a love letter to good men of the past and a hopeful cheer for the good men to come.”
-- J. Ryan Stradal, author of Kitchens of the Great Midwest

“How Nickolas Butler spans the gaps across several generations of sons and fathers (and mothers) is nothing short of a marvel of storytelling…The Hearts of Men is full of pain, joy, longing, redemption, disappointment, and beauty--in short, all the qualities that distinguish the very best novels on our shelves.”
-- David Abrams, author of Fobbit

“The Hearts of Men is a winning second novel, by turns wistful and wise, sad and funny, eminently readable, and always atmospheric. Without a doubt, Nickolas Butler is a young writer to watch.”
-- Jonathan Evison, author of West of Here and The Revised Fundamentals of Caregiving

“A wry, tender-hearted novel about men: their families and friendships, their vulnerabilities and foibles, their secrets and lies. Part coming-of-age narrative, part meditation on masculinity, part war story, this novel had me spellbound all the way to its riveting conclusion.”
-- Christina Baker Kline, New York Times bestselling author of Orphan Train and Sweet Water

Praise for Little Faith:

“A powerful story filled with deep emotion, no matter your religious proclivities.... [A] stark and honest discussion of faith and doubt.”
-- Volume One

“Breathtaking yet devastating.... Butler weaves questions surrounding faith, regret, and whether it’s possible to love unconditionally into every page of this potent book.... This is storytelling at its finest.”
-- Publishers Weekly (starred review)

“Powerful.... [Butler] skillfully handles the complicated—and heartbreaking—psychological and emotional complexities of this story, crafting a deeply moving novel about love, faith, and loss.... A beautifully realized meditation on the nature of parenting and living in a perplexing (and often cruel) world.”
--Library Journal (starred review)

“A heartland novel that evokes the possibility of everyday miracles.... Like a favorite flannel shirt, relaxed and comfortable, well-crafted even as it deals with issues of life and death, faith and doubt.... The novelist loves this land and these characters, with their enduring values.”
-- Kirkus Reviews

“Exploring the complexities of faith and family, Butler...also tackles the power and pitfalls of devout Christianity. Fans of Richard Russo and Jan Karon will appreciate Butler’s sense of place, which lets seasonal shifts and harvest cycles propel the novel forward. Little Faith is quietly and deeply moving.”

“A novel as tender and generous as any I’ve read. It’s a three a.m. I gotta get some sleep but can’t stop reading sorta book. Heart stoppingly good.”
--Willy Vlautin, author of Lean on Pete and Don’t Skip Out on Me