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Mark was born in Los Angeles on February 5, 1957, graduated from the University of California, Berkeley in 1979, and received a fellowship to Worcester College, Oxford, the following year, with an M.A. in English Literature from the UCLA in 1981.
After graduation, he moved to New York, where he worked as a stringer for Reuters, International, then in Newsweek Magazine’s letter department, before being hired as a proofreader at Andy Warhol’s Interview Magazine. He was the magazine’s first staff writer, and became senior editor the following year, conducting hundreds of interviews with figures well known in film, television, books, fine art, politics, design and science. In 1985, he quit his job and spent most of following decade as an itinerant dharma bum and freelance journalist, traveling between Europe, India, and the United States. Shifting professional gears from pop culture to psychology, philosophy and religion, he was a contributing editor to Common Boundary Magazine, where my back page column, The Naked Eye, appeared from 1994-1999. I received a National Magazine Award nomination for “America’s Darkest Secret” (about the epidemic of incest in the U.S.) and published essays in numerous magazines, including The New Yorker, Details, O: The Oprah Magazine, Tricycle, The Utne Reader, AARP Magazine, Out, Good Housekeeping, and Harper’s Bazaar.
After working with Sogyal Rimpoche on The Tibetan Book of Living and Dying, he collaborated with religious writer Andrew Harvey on Dialogues With A Modern Mystic (interviewing Harvey for Britain’s Channel One documentary of the same name). His first book, Sex Death Enlightenment: A True Story (1996) became an international bestseller published in ten countries and nominated for two Books for a Better Life Awards. Having served as co-editor on Ram Dass’s book, Still Here, he published his second memoir in 2000, The Boy He Left Behind: A Man’s Search for His Lost Father (Los Angeles Times Discovery Book, Randy Shilts Award, excerpted in the Sunday supplement of the London Guardian). He’s taught creative non-fiction writing at Manhattanville College and published essays in numerous anthologies, including Wrestling With the Angel, Voices of the Millenium, A Memory, A Monologue, a Rant and a Prayer, Oprah’s Best Life. He is also a contributing editor to O: The Oprah Magazine, Tricycle: The Buddhist Review and a frequent blogger for The Huffington Post. My most recent book is When You’re Falling, Dive: Lessons in the Art of Living (2008). Also, he’s collaborating with Eve Ensler as the Creative Director of V-Men (the male arm of VDay, Ensler’s organization for ending violence against women and girls) and curate their online essay series (www.vday.com). Currently, he is at work on a performance piece called “Ten Ways To Be a Man,” which will serve as V-Men’s artistic vehicle and will premier in September, 2011.
Ethical Wisdom: What Makes Us Good will be published this spring by Doubleday.