Miami Book Fair: Novelist Ben Greenman

Categories: Miami Book Fair
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Ben Greenman
Ben Greenman was a 20-year-old rookie scribe fresh out of Yale when he was hired to write for the Miami New Times in 1990. The Palmettto Senior High alum joined a rabble rousing crew of writers who included Greg Baker, Jim Defede, Sean Rowe and Steve Almond. They were the ones who laid the foundation for the alt weekly's muck-racking ways.

"It was the wild, wild west in those days," Greenman notes. "The paper gave us a lot of license to do creative work."

And Greenman certainly created some pretty freaking hilarious yarns for New Times like "Cracking Up," which chronicled an experiment in which he followed  the late mad scientist John Detrick around downtown Miami on a very hot summer day to see if eggs really would fry on sidewalks. 


In 1991, when violent criminals were targeting lost tourists in their rental cars, Greenman concocted the "New Times Rental Car Conversion Kit, a handy package of mail-order accessories tourists could use to give their rented vehicles a local look. "To be a journalist in Miami at the time you always knew something crazy would come up," he says. "The paper was fun in a very intense way."


Greenman has gone on to edit the extensive calendar section of the New Yorker magazine and in his free time he writes quirky, clever fiction tales that appear in the journal McSweeney's.


And like Defede, Rowe and Almond, Greenman is an accomplished book author. His latest literary work, Please Step Back (Melville, $16.95), is a novel that chornicles the life of Rock Foxx, a ficitional musician who makes the transition from soul to rock during the heady Sixties.


Catch Greenman at this year's Miami Book Fair when he joins fellow novelists Jonathan Lethem and Michael Thomas in Pavillion A at 3:30 p.m. on Sunday, November 15.



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