Kent Black

AFAR Contributor

The first real piece of journalism I wrote was about a group of downtown LA artists who created the Nihilistic Olympics in response to the 1984 Olympics. The story hooked me and started me down my professional path (though I was in grad school at the time in Theater) because it involved several things I loved but had previously thought mutually exclusive: sports, art, and the absurd. Since then, there has been few subjects I have not worked on as either a writer or editor, but my love has always been for the slightly off-kilter, such as the time I found myself involved with graverobbers in Peru for a story for Men’s Journal, or going to Bounty Hunter school for Rolling Stone, or skiing down an active volcano in Nicaragua for Outside. I stopped counting the number of stories I’ve written long ago (though I can rattle off a good dozen of which I am exceedingly proud), but based on what it has taken to make a living over three decades, then well over a. thousand. In 2000, I was first lured to the editor’s side of the desk when Amy Spindler at the New York Times Magazine asked me to try out a few months as deputy editor of the style section. At the time, I was getting paid to write about tarpon fishing in the Florida Keys. I had no interest in going to New York to sit on my ass. But the photographer I was working with said, “Kent, the New York Yankees just asked you to play short stop .... you don’t turn down the Yankees.” It was good advice, and it led me to great positions as style editor of the LA Times Magazine, editor in chief of Outside’s Go (a travel magazine for Outside (2006-2012, RIP), and editor in chief of Palm Springs Life. For the last two years, my wife, author Emily Rapp Black, have been engaged in a manuscript consulting business that has brought us many high profile clients (whose names, unfortunately, we cannot divulge). It is very exciting to continue working with emerging writers who are passionate about their craft.

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