Carl Hiaasen (/ˈhaɪ.əsɛn/; born March 12, 1953) is an American writer. A long-time columnist for the Miami Herald, Hiaasen has also written more than 20 novels which can generally be classified as humorous crime fiction and often feature themes of environmentalism and political corruption in his native Florida.
March 12, 1953|
Fort Lauderdale, Florida
|Genre||Crime fiction, thrillers, satirical fiction|
|Subject||Environmentalism, political corruption, fraudsters, Florida|
Fenia Clizer (1999–present)|
Connie Lyford (1970–1996)
|Relatives||Rob Hiaasen (brother)|
Carl Hiaasen was born in 1953 and raised in Plantation, Florida, then a rural suburb of Fort Lauderdale. He was the first of four children born to Odel and Patricia Hiaasen. He has Norwegian and Irish ancestry. He started writing at age six when his father bought him a typewriter for Christmas  After graduating from Plantation High School in 1970, he entered Emory University, where he contributed satirical humor columns to the student-run newspaper The Emory Wheel. In 1972, he transferred to the University of Florida, where he wrote for The Independent Florida Alligator. Hiaasen graduated in 1974 with a degree in journalism.
He was a reporter at Cocoa Today (Cocoa, Florida) for two years before being hired in 1976 by the Miami Herald, where he worked for the city desk, Sunday magazine and investigative team. Since 1985 Hiaasen has been a regular columnist for the newspaper. His columns have been collected in three published volumes, Kick Ass (1999), Paradise Screwed (2001) and Dance of the Reptiles (2014), all edited by Diane Stevenson.
His brother Rob Hiaasen, a managing editor and columnist at The Capital newspaper in Annapolis, Maryland, was shot and killed in a mass shooting at the newspaper's office on June 28, 2018. The dedication page of Carl Hiaasen's novel NATIVE TONGUE (1991) reads in toto "For My Brother Rob". On p.18 of the same work: ["We are all doomed," said Joe Winder, "if you really think about it." Which he tried not to.]
After becoming an investigative reporter, Hiaasen began writing novels in his spare time. The first three were co-authored with his friend and fellow journalist William Montalbano: Powder Burn (1981), Trap Line (1982), and A Death in China (1984). His first solo novel, Tourist Season (1986), featured a group of ragged eco-warriors who kidnap the Orange Bowl Queen in Miami. The book's main character was whimsically memorialized by Jimmy Buffett in a song called "The Ballad of Skip Wiley," which appeared on his Barometer Soup album.
In all, eighteen of Hiaasen's novels and nonfiction books have been on the New York Times Best Seller lists. His work has been translated into 34 languages.
His first venture into writing for children was the 2002 novel Hoot, which was named a Newbery Medal honor book. It was adapted as a 2006 film of the same name (starring Logan Lerman, Brie Larson and Luke Wilson). The movie was written and directed by Wil Shriner. Jimmy Buffett provided songs for the soundtrack, and appeared in the role of Mr. Ryan, a middle-school teacher.
Hiaasen's subsequent children's novels were Flush, Scat; Chomp and, most recently, Skink-- No Surrender, which introduces one of his most popular adult characters to teen readers. In 2014, Skink was long-listed for a National Book Award in Young People's Literature. All of Hiaasen's books for young readers feature environmental themes, eccentric casts and adventure-filled plots.
His most recent novel for adults, Razor Girl, was published by Alfred A. Knopf in September 2016, and opened at #2 on the New York Times bestseller list. In England it was short-listed for the Bollinger Everyman Wodehouse award for comic fiction.
Hiaasen's newest nonfiction work is Assume the Worst: The Graduation Speech You'll Never Hear, which was published in April 2018 and illustrated by Roz Chast, who is well-known for her cartoons in the New Yorker magazine.
During the 1990s Hiaasen co-wrote the lyrics of three songs with his good friend and famed L.A. rocker, the late Warren Zevon. "Rottweiler Blues" and "Seminole Bingo" appeared on Zevon's Mutineer album in 1995. The third song they wrote together, "Basket Case," was done in conjunction with Hiaasen's novel of the same name, and appeared in 2001 on Zevon's album My Ride's Here.
With William Montalbano
Scroll down to 'View online' to hear the audio of the interview.