Mike Sager is a bestselling author and award-winning reporter. He’s been called “the Beat poet of American journalism.” For more than nineteen years he has worked as a Writer-at-Large for Esquire magazine. In 2010 he won the American Society of Magazine Editors National Magazine award for profile writing. Eight of his articles have been optioned for or have inspired Hollywood feature films, including Boogie Nights. The author of more than a dozen books and eBooks, Sager is also the editor and publisher of The Sager Group LLC, a consortium of multi-media artists and writers. For more info, please see www.TheSagerGroup.net
Sager’s career in journalism began in 1978, when he quit law school after three weeks to take a job on the graveyard shift as a copy boy at the Washington Post. Eleven months later, he was promoted to staff writer by Metro Editor Bob Woodward, of Watergate fame. Sager left the Post after six years to pursue a career in books and magazines. His work includes six collections of stories, a journalism textbook, two novels, several eBooks, and a biography.
A former Contributing Editor of Rolling Stone and Writer-at-Large for GQ, Sager has also written for Vibe, Spy, Outside, Columbia Journalism Review, Interview, Playboy, Washingtonian, InStyle, and Regardies. He is proud to have been Editor-at-Large for WordsETC, the first black-owned literary magazine of South Africa.
For his stories, Sager has lived with a crack gang in Los Angeles; ex-pat Vietnam veterans in Thailand; a 625 pound man in El Monte,CA; teenage pitbull fighters in the Philadelphia barrio; Palestinians in the Gaza Strip; heroin addicts on the Lower East Side; Aryan Nations troopers in Idaho; U.S. Marines at Camp Pendleton; Tupperware saleswomen in suburban Maryland; high school boys in Orange County; a Mormon family in Snowflake, Arizona. Eight of his articles have been optioned for or have inspired documentaries or films, including Boogie Nights, Veronica Guerin, and The Marinovich Project.
Sager has read and lectured at the schools of journalism at Columbia University, New York University, the University of Illinois, the University of Missouri, and the University of California, Irvine, where he served as a Periera Visiting Writer for four years. His work is included in textbooks presently in use in college classrooms. He frequently skypes into classrooms across the country. For the past five years he has served as an adjunct professor in Goucher College’s low-residence MFA/Creative Nonfiction Program.
Born August 17, 1956, Sager is a Phi Beta Kappa graduate of Emory University and a former intern at the pioneering Atlanta alt-weekly Creative Loafing. He lives in La Jolla, California. He is a past recipient of La Jolla Youth Soccer’s “Competitive Manager of the Year” award. He has one son, an aspiring filmmaker, trained at the Academy of Art University in San Francisco.
- Esquire Classic posts pod cast of “Old,” April, 2016. http://classic.esquire.com/editors-notes/podcast/
- Stoned Again: The High Life and Strange Times of a Drugs Correspondent, is published by Byliner Selects in April, 2015.
- Harvard University’s Nieman Storyboard annotates “The Devil and John Holmes,” December, 2014. http://niemanstoryboard.org/stories/annotation-tuesday-the-porn-star-and-mike-sager/
- The Devil and John Holmes-25th Anniversary Author’s Editon, is published in December 2014.
- Go Ask Sager, a twice-monthly column for Playboy, appears 8/13-4/14. http://playboysfw.kinja.com/tag/go-ask-sager
- High Tolerance: A Novel is published in May, 2013.
- The Someone You’re Not, a collection of non-fiction stories, is published in October, 2012.
- Next Wave: America’s New Generation of Great Literary Journalists, edited with Walt Harrington, is published in October, 2012.
- The Marinovich Project, an Emmy-nominated documentary, airs on ESPN’s 30 for 30 series in 2012. Inspired by Sager’s ASME winning story, “The Man Who Never Was.” It features Sager as a principle narrator.
- Eat Like a Man, published by Chronicle Books in May, 2011, contains several essays about food and foodies.
- By Mike Sager, a fortnightly column for SanDiego.com, is awarded first place for daily essay/commentary by the San Diego Press Club in 2010 and again in 2011.
- Tattoos & Tequila: To Hell and Back With One of Rock’s Greatest Frontmen, written with Motley Crue singer Vince Neil, is published by Grand Central Publishing in September, 2010. A New York Times Best Seller.
- “The Man Who Never Was,” originally published by Esquire, is awarded the 2010 National Magazine Award for Profile Writing from the American Society of Magazine Editors. It is featured in The Best American Sportswriting 2010, published by Houghton Mifflin Harcourt, and in The Best American Magazine Writing, published by Columbia University Press.
- Esquire: The Meaning of Life, published by Hearst in 2009, includes many of Sager’s celebrity interviews, including Jack Nicholson, Snoop Dogg, Kirk Douglas, Julia Child, Ray Charles, Fay Dunaway, Evel Knievel, Roseanne and Rod Steiger. Sager is credited with creating Esquire’s popular “What I’ve Learned” interview format. A similar book was published in 2004.
- ”Scito Hoc Super Omnia” is collected in The Best American Sports Writing 2008, published by Houghton Mifflin Books.
- Wounded Warriors, published in 2008, is awarded the Military Writers Society of America Founder’s Award and the American Author’s Association Golden Quill Award, both in 2008.
- “The Devil Gives You the First Time for Free” is collected in Drugs, Society, and Behavior, published by McGraw Hill in 2006 and in Addiction, published by Greenhaven Press in 2008.
- Revenge of the Donut Boys, published in 2007, is a Los Angeles Times bestseller.
- “Is Something Burning?” is awarded “Notable Essay” in Best American Essays, 2005.
- “Hunting Marlon Brando” is collected in The Beholder’s Eye: A Collection of America’s Finest Personal Journalism, published by Grove Press in 2005.
- “Travels with Bassem” is collected in Killed: Great Journalism Too Hot to Print, published by Nation Books in 2004.
- Scary Monsters and Super Freaks, published in 2003, is a Los Angeles Times bestseller.
- “Old” is a finalist for the ASME National Magazine Award for feature writing. It is collected in Esquire’s Big Book of Great Writing, published by Hearst Books in 2003, and also in Literary Nonfiction, published by Oxford University Press in 2001.
- Veronica Guerin, a feature film produced by Jerry Bruckheimer for Disney, directed by Joel Schumacher, starring Cate Blanchett, premiers in October, 2003.
- “Murder, My Sweet” is in development at Paramount Pictures as a USA Network movie.
- “The Marine” is collected in Semper Fi: Stories of the U.S. Marines from Boot Camp to Battle, published by Thunder’s Mouth Press in 2003, and also in Boots on the Ground: Stories of American Soldiers from Iraq and Afganistan, published in 2004 by Thunder’s Mouth.
- “The High Life and Strange Times of the Pope of Pot” is collected in Crimes of New York, published by Thunder’s Mouth Press in 2003.
- “Death in Venice” is collected in Gangs: Storys of Life and Death From the Streets, published by Thunder’s Mouth Press in 2002, and also in Intimate Journalism: The Art and Craft of Reporting Everyday Life, published by Sage in 1997.
- “Smoking: A Love Story” is awarded “Notable Essay” in Best American Essays, 1999.
- “Janet’s World” is purchased by TriStar, James L. Brooks and Douglas Wick, as a feature film.
- “A Journey to the Heart of Whiteness” is awarded “Notable Essay” in Best American Essays, 1997.
- “The Devil and John Holmes,” is collected in The Best of Rolling Stone: 25 Years of Journalism on the Edge, published by Doubleday. It served as inspiration for the films Boogie Nights and Wonderland.
- “Requiem for a Gangsta” receives ASCAP’s 1996 Deems Taylor Award for Distinguished Music Writing.
- Betrayed by Love, starring Patricia Arquette and Mare Winningham, premiers as a TV movie in January, 1994.