Chris Offutt was born in Lexington, Kentucky. The family moved to the eastern hills of rural Rowan County where Offutt grew up on a hill in Haldeman, a former mining community of 200 people. He dropped out of high school to join the army but failed the physical. He attended Morehead State University sporadically and graduated with a B.A. in Theatre.
Nearly all of his work is set in Kentucky. The rest is about people in the hills. His books include two collections of stories (Kentucky Straight and Out of the Woods) and a novel (The Good Brother). He has published three memoirs: The Same River Twice, No Heroes, and My Father, the Pornographer. Out of economic necessity, he turned to screenwriting for several years. He wrote and produced scripts for True Blood, Weeds, and Treme, and several pilots.
His work has been supported by a Guggenheim Fellowship, a Whiting Writers Award, a fellowship from the Lannan Foundation, and a grant from the National Endowment for the Arts. He was selected as one of the Best Young American Writers by Granta magazine. He received the Jean Stein Award from the American Academy of Arts and Letters for “prose that takes risks.” His work is reprinted in more than 40 textbooks and anthologies, including Best American Short Stories, and Best American Essays.