Nicholas Austin 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 was born in New Orleans, Louisiana. He is of Italian descent. Pizzolatto grew up poor in a working-class Catholic family in New Orleans. At age five, he and his family moved to a rural area of Lake Charles, Louisiana.
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.