The Hiaasen name has become, over the years, synonymous with opinionated prose. His editorial and investigative journalism exists side-by-side with crime fiction and thrillers, and his latest work, “The Downhill Lie: A Hacker’s Return to a Ruinous Sport,” even delves into self-deprecating, personal non-fiction. Not a fan of his sometimes snide look at life? Maybe you are and didn’t know it: Hiaasen is also responsible for the children’s books “Hoot,” “Flush” and “Scat.”
This Haitian-American author was born in New York but resides in Miami these days. She made an indelible impression with a trio of early books: “Krik? Krak!,” a National Book Award finalist; “The Farming of Bones,” an American Book Award winner; and “The Dew Breaker,” a PEN/Faulkner Award finalist and winner of the first Story Prize. But her most recent award, a genius grant from the John D. and Catherine T. MacArthur Foundation, gave her room to depart from her own fiction, giving rise to her forthcoming anthology, “Haiti Noir,” featuring 18 Haitian authors, and the book “Create Dangerously: The Immigrant Artist at Work.”
Syndicated humor columnist Dave Barry has written 30 books, two of which were the thesis for the sitcom “Dave’s World.” If you don’t know Barry’s work, pick up a copy of his latest, “I’ll Mature When I’m Dead: Dave Barry’s Amazing Tales of Adulthood,” and you’ll get the gist. But there’s more to Barry than meets the joke. He also writes adolescent fantasy/adventure novels with co-author Ridley Pearson, the most recent of which is “Peter and the Sword of Mercy,” described in typical Barry fashion as “the fourth book in the trilogy.”
Jordanian-American author Abu-Jaber writes ethnically and culturally sensitive material, such as “Arabian Jazz,” “Crescent” and “The Language of Baklava.” Throughout her novels and non-fiction, descriptions of food reign supreme. Her latest book, “Origin,” broke that mold, however, as only a beautifully written, poetic thriller can. What her forthcoming novel (fall 2011), tentatively titled “Birds of Paradise,” is about remains to be seen. But given her status as a half-time Miamian – she spends the other half teaching university classes in Portland, Oregon – one can imagine it might have something to do with the subtropics.