Roy Alton Blount Jr. (/ˈblʌnt/; born October 4, 1941) is an American writer, speaker, reporter, and humorist.
Life and career
Blount was born in Indianapolis, Indiana, and grew up in Decatur, Georgia. He attended Ponce de Leon Elementary School and graduated from Decatur High School, where he was class president and editor of the school newspaper, The Scribbler. He received the Grantland Rice Journalism Scholarship to study journalism at Vanderbilt University where he distinguished himself and was Phi Beta Kappa and graduated magna cum laude. He went on to Harvard University, where he received his MA degree. Blount is married to painter Joan Griswold; they reside in New Orleans and western Massachusetts.
Blount was a staff writer and associate editor with Sports Illustrated magazine from 1968 to 1975, and has continued to contribute to the magazine thereafter.
In 2002, he narrated The Main Stream, a PBS documentary about the Mississippi River. As of 2011, he is featured regularly as a panelist on the NPR news/comedy quiz show, Wait Wait... Don't Tell Me! He was also a recurring guest on A Prairie Home Companion. In May 2010, he made a cameo appearance on HBO's series Treme about post-Katrina New Orleans.
Blount performs with the Rock Bottom Remainders, a rock band composed entirely of writers.
Blount is also a former president of the Authors Guild. On February 24, 2009, he wrote an op-ed article for The New York Times explaining the Authors Guild's position demanding extra royalties from the text-to-speech functionality of the Amazon Kindle 2. To criticism from the American National Federation of the Blind, he replied that free audio availability of copyright works to the blind is provided for automatically by American copyright laws. To the criticism that the Kindle's functionality is equivalent to parents reading aloud to their children, he said, "the Authors Guild does not expect royalties from anybody doing non-commercial performances of Goodnight Moon. If parents want to send their children off to bed with the voice of Kindle 2, however, it’s another matter."