Carl Hiaasen

Carl Hiaasen (/ˈhaɪ.əsɛn/; born March 12, 1953) is an American writer. A long-time columnist for the Miami Herald and Tribune Content Agency,[1] 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.

Carl Hiaasen
Carl Hiaasen at the 2016 National Book Festival
Carl Hiaasen at the 2016 National Book Festival
BornMarch 12, 1953 (age 66)
Fort Lauderdale, Florida
OccupationAuthor and journalist
GenreCrime fiction, thrillers, satirical fiction
SubjectEnvironmentalism, political corruption, fraudsters, Florida
SpouseFenia Clizer (1999–present)
Connie Lyford (1970–1996)
RelativesRob Hiaasen (brother)

Early life and education

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 [2] 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.[3] 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 award-winning 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 only brother Rob Hiaasen, an editor and columnist at The Capital newspaper in Annapolis, Maryland, was killed in a mass shooting at the newspaper's office on June 28, 2018.[4] Carl Hiaasen's 1991 novel Native Tongue bears the dedication "For My Brother Rob."


After becoming a 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, nineteen 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 younger readers 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, 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 newest, Squirm, which is set in Florida and Montana, was published in the fall of 2018 and opened at #4 on the New York Times bestseller list for middle-grade novels.

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.



Adult fiction

With William Montalbano

  • Powder Burn (1981)
  • Trap Line (1982)
  • A Death in China (1984)

Fiction for young readers

Short stories


  • Assume the Worst: The Graduation Speech You'll Never Hear (2018)
  • Team Rodent: How Disney Devours the World (1998)
  • Kick Ass: Selected Columns (1999)
  • Paradise Screwed: Selected Columns (2001)
  • The Downhill Lie (2008)
  • Dance of the Reptiles: Selected Columns (2014)


Awards and achievements

  • 1980: National Headliners Award from Sigma Delta Chi.[7]
  • 1980: Heywood Broun Award from Newspaper Guild.[8]
  • 2004 : Damon Runyon Award from the Denver Press Club.
  • 2010 : Ernie Pyle Lifetime Achievement Award from the National Society of Newspaper Columnists.[9]
  • 2003 : Newbery Honor from the Association for Library Service to Children, for Hoot.
  • 2005 : Rebecca Caudill Young Readers' Book Award, for Hoot.
  • 2005 : Dagger Awards Nominee - Best Novel, for Skinny Dip.
  • 2009 : Sélection prix Nouvel Obs et BibliObs du roman noir, for Croco-deal (Nature Girl).
  • 2011 : Prix du Livre Environnement de la Fondation Veolia Environnement - Mention jeunesse, for Panthère (Scat).
  • 2011 : Prix Enfantaisie du meilleur roman, for Panthère (Scat).
  • 2012 : Prix Barnes & Noble du meilleur roman jeunesse, for Chomp.
  • 2013 : Prix Science en toutes lettres from The Académie de Rouen, for Panthère (Scat).
  • 2014 : National Book Award Longlist Selection - Young People's Literature, for Skink : No Surrender.


  1. ^ "Carl Hiaasen articles". Tribune Content Agency. Retrieved 9 October 2018.
  2. ^ "Biography: Carl Hiaasen". Scholastic. c. 2013. Retrieved March 17, 2013.
  3. ^ Parvin, Paige. "We Knew Them When". Emory Magazine. Emory University (Winter 2013). Retrieved March 17, 2013.
  4. ^ Alanez, Tonya. "South Florida's Rob Hiaasen, novelist Carl Hiaasen's brother, killed in newsroom shooting". Retrieved 29 June 2018.
  5. ^ a b "Biography". Carl Hiaasen's Official Website. Archived from the original on 2008-10-11. Retrieved 2008-10-08.
  6. ^ Carl Hiaasen (2003-02-18). "A crazed photographer has kidnapped a beautiful model and - 02.18.03 - SI Vault". Archived from the original on 2009-03-04. Retrieved 2012-10-22.
  7. ^ Carl Hiaasen. Detroit: Contemporary Authors Online. 2014 – via Biography in Context.
  8. ^ . Ed. Dave Mote. "Carl Hiaasen". Contemporary Popular Writers. St. James Press. 1997.
  9. ^ "Fresh Air with Terry Gross, June 13, 2013: Interview with Carl Hiaasen; Review of Slaid Cleaves' album "Still Fighting the War"; Obituary for Yoram Kaniuk". Fresh Air with Terry Gross. National Public Radio (U.S.) WHYY, Inc. June 13, 2013. Scroll down to 'View online' to hear the audio of the interview.

External links

Bad Monkey (novel)

Bad Monkey is a 2013 novel by Carl Hiaasen.

Chomp (novel)

Chomp is a young adult novel by Carl Hiaasen first published in 2012, and set in Hiaasen's native Florida. It is his fourth young adult novel. His previous three, also about Florida wildlife, are Hoot, Flush and Scat.

Clinton Tyree

Clinton Tyree, a.k.a. Skink, is a fictional character who has appeared in several novels by Carl Hiaasen, beginning with Double Whammy in 1987. He is an opponent of sprawl and development, and partakes of roadkill cuisine.

Double Whammy (novel)

Double Whammy is a 1987 novel by Carl Hiaasen. The protagonist, a private investigator, is hired to expose a celebrity bass fisherman as a cheat and is drawn into a frame-up for murder. The book introduced the character of "Skink" (Clinton Tyree), who becomes a recurring character in Hiaasen's subsequent novels.

Flush (novel)

Flush is a young adult novel by Carl Hiaasen first published in 2005, and set in Hiaasen's native Florida. It is his second young adult novel, after Hoot. The plot is similar to that of Hoot but it doesn't have the same cast and is not a continuation/sequel. The plot centers around Noah Underwood, a boy whose father enlists his help to catch a repeat environmental offender in the act. Noah Underwood’s Dad failed to prove that the Coral Queen was dumping their waste in Thunder Beach. So Noah and his sister Abbey will find a way to tell the community about the Coral Queen's secret.

Hoot (novel)

Hoot is a 2002 mystery/suspense novel, recommended for ages 9-12, by Carl Hiaasen. The setting takes place in Florida, where new arrival Roy makes two oddball friends and a bad enemy, and joins an effort to stop construction of a pancake house which would destroy a colony of burrowing owls who live on the site. The book won a Newbery Honor award in 2003.

Kick Ass (Hiaasen book)

Kick Ass is the first of two books which highlight some of Carl Hiaasen's best columns in the newspaper Miami Herald. It was published in 1999, and followed by Paradise Screwed: Selected Columns (2001).

Lucky You (novel)

Lucky You is a 1997 novel by Carl Hiaasen. It is set in Florida, and recounts the story of JoLayne Lucks, a black woman who is one of two winners of a lottery.

The book parodies paranoid militia movement groups that believe in somewhat bizarre conspiracy theories. It also takes a satiric look at the fictional community of Grange, Florida, (based on the real community of Cassadaga) and its cottage tourist industry based on the "discovery" of various religious miracles.

A theatrical adaptation premiered in Edinburgh in 2008.

Naked Came the Manatee

Naked Came the Manatee (ISBN 978-0399141928) is a mystery thriller parody novel published in 1996. It is composed of thirteen chapters, each written by a different Miami-area writer. It was originally published as a serial in the Miami Herald's Tropic magazine, one chapter per issue, and later published as a single novel. Its title is a reference to the literary hoax Naked Came the Stranger. The book was conceived of and edited by Tom Shroder, then editor of Tropic. Dave Barry came up with the first chapter, which was then handed to the next writer, and so on until Carl Hiaasen had to tie all the loose threads together in the final chapter. Each chapter was written on deadline for publication in the magazine.

The plot involves three crime-fighting characters from three of the writers' previous, non-parody, mystery/thriller works coming together to help an elderly environmentalist and her granddaughter investigate the mystery behind a package delivered by a precocious Miami-area manatee named Booger. John Dufresne opens his chapter in a spoof on Moby-Dick, with the line "Call me Booger..."

All proceeds from the novel were donated to charity.

The writers of the different chapters are:

Dave Barry

Les Standiford

Paul Levine

Edna Buchanan

James W. Hall

Carolina Hospital

Evelyn Mayerson

Tananarive Due

Brian Antoni

Vicki Hendricks

John Dufresne

Elmore Leonard

Carl Hiaasen

Native Tongue (Carl Hiaasen novel)

Native Tongue is a novel by Carl Hiaasen, published in 1991. Like all his novels, it is set in Florida. The themes of the novel include corruption, environmentalism, exploitation of endangered species, and animal rights.

Nature Girl (novel)

Nature Girl is a caper drama satire by Carl Hiaasen first published in 2006.

Razor Girl (novel)

Razor Girl is a 2016 novel by Carl Hiaasen.

Scat (novel)

Scat is a teenage novel by Carl Hiaasen, published in 2009. Scat, Hiaassen's third young adult novel, tells the mystery of a missing teacher named Mrs. Bunny Starch, and how two of her students, Nick Waters and Marta Gonzalez, will do everything they can to find her. The book is available in over 1,000 libraries and was well-received when it came out, with a positive review in the New York Times.Carl Hiaasen is the author of other notable children's fiction novels, including Flush, in over 2,500 libraries. and Hoot, in over 3,200 libraries. He received the Newbery Honor for Hoot in 2003. Like Hoot and Flush, Scat takes place in Florida.

Sick Puppy

Sick Puppy is a 2000 novel by Carl Hiaasen.

Skin Tight (novel)

Skin Tight is a novel by Carl Hiaasen. It focuses on a former detective for the Florida State Attorney's office, who becomes the target of a murder plot by a corrupt, and egregiously incompetent, plastic surgeon.

Skink - No Surrender

Skink - No Surrender is a young adult novel by Carl Hiaasen, published on September 23, 2014. It is described as Hiaasen's first young adult novel. He has authored four previous novels for "young" readers. Like all of his novels, it is set in Hiaasen's native Florida.

Stormy Weather (novel)

Stormy Weather is a 1995 novel by Carl Hiaasen. It takes place in the chaotic aftermath of Hurricane Andrew in South Florida and concerns the tragic (though sometimes comic) effects of the disaster, including insurance scams, street fights, hunt for food and shelter, corrupt bureaucracy, a ravaged environment and disaster tourists.

Strip Tease (novel)

Strip Tease is a 1993 novel by Carl Hiaasen. Like most of his other novels, it is a crime novel set in Florida and features Hiaasen's characteristic black humor. The novel focuses on a single mother who has turned to exotic dancing to earn enough money to gain legal custody of her young daughter, and ends up matching wits with a lecherous United States Congressman and his powerful corporate backers.

Like many Hiaasen novels, the book's plot is set against a backdrop of a particular environmental crime or corruption issue that angers the author. In this case, it is the plutocracy of sugar growers in Florida, and the exorbitant subsidies regularly granted to them by the U.S. Congress.

Strip Tease was a New York Times bestseller in 1993.

Tourist Season (novel)

Tourist Season is a 1986 novel by Carl Hiaasen. It was his first solo novel, after co-writing several mystery/thriller novels with William Montalbano.

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