Stuart Archer Cohen biography

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Stuart Archer Cohen
Photo: Clay Good

Stuart Archer Cohen

Stuart Archer Cohen Biography

Stuart Archer Cohen was born in Cincinnati, Ohio in 1958. After graduating from high school he spent a year hitchhiking around the United States, hopping freight trains and traveling with a circus as a prop man, then attended Johns Hopkins University and Columbia University, where he won the Bennett Cerf Prize for fiction. He failed racquetball his senior year and moved to Alaska without receiving his diploma in 1981.

In 1983 Cohen self-published Naughty Logs, a pornographic satire about the logging industry in Southeast Alaska. Cohen sold the book from a booth on the street during the summer of that year, "The government was subsidizing multinational corporations $40,000,000 a year to clear cut ancient forests. I thought: that's pornographic. Naughty Logs was my way of bringing some attention to the issue."

Cohen began traveling to South America in 1984 and began an import company. On a trip to Inner Mongolia in 1992 he began writing a short story about going to Inner Mongolia in the dead of winter, which became Invisible World (Reganbooks, 1998) a novel translated into six languages. Much of the book was written in hotel rooms in China and South America, and is about antique textiles, smuggling, and the invisible world of the imagination.

On the publication of Invisible World, encouraged by two-book contracts in the United States and Germany, Cohen closed his store to devote himself to writing. He spent three years writing his second novel, The Book of Rumor.

Cohen went to Buenos Aires to research petty criminals and corrupt police, and wrote 17 Stone Angels, (Orion, 2003) about a corrupt police chief in Buenos Aires who is assigned to investigate a murder he committed. The book was translated into 8 languages and optioned by Paramount Studios.

In 2008, Cohen published The Army of the Republic (St. Martin's Press), a novel about insurgency set in the United States. Cohen drew on his extensive knowledge of Argentine guerilla groups as background. The book was optioned for film by Oliver Stone.

After that, Cohen wrote a children's book about dinosaurs on a crime spree, then began the writing his fifth novel, This Is How It Really Sounds, published by St. Martin's Press in April 2015.

Doing business in Suzhou, Cohen became fascinated with the philosophy and aesthetics of Chinese water gardens, which figure in two of his novels. Other influences include the Confucian and Taoist philosophers, Confucius, Mencius and Lao Tzu.

Cohen is a long-time martial artist. He has studied Tang Soo Do for over thirty years and has a 4th Dan ranking. He continues to teach and train. He is also an avid snowboarder, a theme with comes to the fore in his latest novel.

Cohen continues to import alpaca silk and cashmere from South America and Asia through his business, Invisible World. He is bilingual (Spanish) and has extensive knowledge of South American and Chinese history and culture. In recognition of his years as a martial arts instructor, Columbia University finally granted him his Bachelor of Arts with the class of 2013. He was the only class member to have two teenage children.

Stuart Archer Cohen's website

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This Is How It Really Sounds jacket
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  • Nickolas Butler

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