The son of a lawyer and a teacher, Carl Hiaasen was born and raised in south Florida. Having received his first typewriter at an early age, he forged a satirical voice by publishing an underground newsletter in high school. Hiaasen married Connie Lyford in 1970, attended Emory University, where he submitted satiric pieces to the school newspaper, and then transferred to the University of Florida, graduating with a journalism degree in 1974. After beginning his writing career at Cocoa Today (now Florida Today), he joined the Miami Herald in 1976 and gained recognition as an investigative reporter. As a reporter, he has focused on developments and projects that threaten Florida’s ecology and natural beauty for the sake of profit. He became a Pulitzer Prize finalist for a series on doctors committing malpractice in 1980 and for a series on drug smuggling in 1981. Since 1985 Hiaasen has been writing a weekly column that has been known to irritate regional developers and bureaucrats, who blame him for discouraging tourism. For his journalism and commentary advocating the preservation of Florida’s ecology, Hiaasen received the Damon Runyon Award from the Denver Press Club in 2003-2004, the Newspaper Guild’s Heywood Broun Award, and honors from the Florida Society of Newspaper Editors.
Hiaasen began writing fiction in 1981, when he and William D. Montalbano (a former Miami Herald editor) collaborated to write three...
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