Carl Hiaasen was born and raised in Florida, where he still lives.
A graduate of the University of Florida, at age 23 he joined The Miami Herald as a general assignment reporter and went on to work for the newspaper’s weekly magazine and prize-winning investigations team. Since 1985 Hiaasen has been writing a regular column, which at one time or another has pissed off just about everybody in South Florida, including his own bosses.
Today his column appears on most Sundays in The Herald’s opinion-and-editorial section, and may be viewed online at www.miamiherald.com.
Hiaasen began writing novels in early 1980s with his good friend and fellow journalist, William D. Montalbano. Together they wrote three mystery thrillers – Powder Burn, Trap Line and Death in China – which borrowed heavily from their reporting experiences.
Tourist Season, published in 1986, was Hiaasen’s first solo novel. GQ magazine called it “one of the 10 best destination reads of all time,” though it failed to frighten a single tourist away from Florida. His next effort, Double Whammy, was the first (and possibly only) novel ever written about sex, murder and corruption on the professional bass-fishing tour.
Since then, Hiaasen has published Skin Tight, Native Tongue and eleven national bestsellers – Strip Tease, Stormy Weather, Lucky You, Sick Puppy, Basket Case, Skinny Dip, Nature Girl, Star Island, Bad Monkey Razor Girl, and his latest, Squeeze Me. All the novels are set in Florida, for obvious reasons.
Hiaasen has also written several popular novels for young readers: His first, Hoot, won a Newbery Honor and was made into a feature film starring Brie Larson, Luke Wilson and Logan Lerman. It was directed by Wil Shriner, and produced by Jimmy Buffett and Frank Marshall. Buffett plays a teacher in the movie, while the author himself makes a forgettable cameo.
Hiaasen's other books for young readers include Flush, Scat and, most recently, Skink – No Surrender, which introduces one of the wildest characters in his adult books to a teen audience.
In addition to the novels, Hiaasen has written several nonfiction books. The first, Team Rodent, is a wry but unsparing rant against the Disney empire and its grip on American culture. In 2008 came The Downhill Lie, which chronicles Hiaasen’s ill-advised return to the sport of golf after a “much-needed” 32-year hiatus.
In 2018 he published Assume the Worst -- The Graduation Speech You'll Never Hear, which was illustrated the artist Roz Chast.
Together, Hiaasen's books have been published in 34 languages, which is 33 more than he can read or write. The London Observer has called him “America’s finest satirical novelist,” while Janet Maslin of the New York Times has compared him to Preston Sturges, Woody Allen and S.J. Perelman.