Nicholas Austin 'Nic' Pizzolatto (born October 18, 1975) is an American novelist, short story writer, screenwriter, and producer. He is best known for creating the HBO crime drama series True Detective.
Pizzolatto, one of the two middle children of four, was born in New Orleans, Louisiana, the son of Nick Pizzolatto, Jr., an attorney, and Sheila Pizzolatto (née Sierra), who was a schoolteacher until Pizzolatto was 6. He is of Italian descent. His brother, Nath Pizzolatto, was a professional online poker player. Pizzolatto grew up poor in a working-class Catholic family in New Orleans and at age 5, he and his family moved to the rural area of Lake Charles, Louisiana. He described his hometown in unflattering terms: "Lots of poor, stupid people there, lots of drinking and fighting and cheating. Also lots of fanatical religion and illiteracy. It’s a rough place, and you grow up fighting." Pizzolatto had an unhappy childhood and said, "where I grew up gave you violence as a common language, as much a part of daily life as the French Creole the Cajuns spoke. Violence as a legitimate rhetoric in daily life." He has since been estranged from his parents and never visited Lake Charles, explaining that "there's a certain amount of trauma tied to that, largely physical trauma." Growing up in a household that didn't have books or "any other kind of intellectual materials", he spent his free time in the woods and around nature. He became interested in art, and said he used it "to escape my surroundings."
He graduated from St. Louis Catholic High School in 1993 and left home when he was 17. He attended Louisiana State University on a visual arts scholarship. After he graduated from LSU with a B.A. in English and philosophy, his fiction professor and mentor died. Pizzolatto gave up writing and moved to Austin, Texas, where he worked as a bartender and technical writer for four years. He later enrolled in an MFA program in Creative Writing at the University of Arkansas, and received the Lily Peter Fellowship for poetry and Walton fellowship in 2003. He graduated in 2005...
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