Mark Haskell Smith


MARK HASKELL SMITH is the author of six novels with one-word titles including MoistSalty, and Blown; as well as the non-fiction books Heart of Dankness: Underground Botanists, Outlaw Farmers, and the Race for the Cannabis Cup and Naked at Lunch: A Reluctant Nudist’s Adventures in the Clothing-Optional World. His work has appeared in the Los Angeles Times, the Los Angeles Review of Books, Salon, Vulture, Alta, and Literary Hub. He is an associate professor in the MFA program for Writing and Writing for the Performing Arts at the University of California Riverside, Palm Desert Graduate Center.

Photo Credit: Martin Rusch

Books by Mark Haskell Smith

Rude Talk in Athens: Ancient Rivals, the Birth of Comedy, and a Writer's Journey through Greece

In the 5thCentury BCE, the city-state of Athens gave every male citizen the right to voice their opinions and participate in civic life, but this first blush of democracy resulted in a mob of drunken Athenians parading gigantic phalli through the streets as they gleefully hurled insults at each other.  It was from this wine-sodden revel that comedy was born—a complicated and messy origin that grows only more relevant in light of our democracy's current struggles.  Twice a year, thousands of Athenians would attend festivals that turned comedic writing into a fierce battle for fame, money, and laughably large trophies.  While the tragedies earned artistic respect, it was the comedies—the raunchy jokes, vulgar innuendo, outrageous invention, and barbed political commentary—that captured the imagination of the city. Read more...

This book will be available for purchase on 08/17/2021.