Mark Binder attended Columbia University with Barack Obama, where he studied mythology with T.E. Gaster and Storytelling with Spalding Gray. He graduated from the Trinity Rep Conservatory and Rhode Island College with an MA in Theater and English. He has practiced dance and Decroux Mime with the Adaptors, Yoga with Tom Gillette and holds a third degree black belt in Aikido, the martial art for peace. He has taught “Telling Lies” at the Rhode Island School of Design, where he was nominated for the John R. Frazier Award for Excellence in Teaching. He has twice run for public office, challenging both a Kennedy for voting for the Iraq war and the disgraced Rhode Island Speaker of the House. He has written and performed countless books and short stories that have won many awards and been published in print, book, magazine, newspaper, standardized tests, audio CD and of course the Internet. His hobbies are reading and baking bread and pizza. He lives in Providence with his wife and children.
Author, Story Performer, Dad
I dedicated my first collection, The Bed Time Story Book, “To Max and the players to be named later.” Now I have a blended family with five children, and somehow we manage not to be completely overwhelmed (all the time). If my body of work seems somewhat diverse, it’s probably a function of the chaos.
Work for families
I write and perform stories for all ages — kids and adults and mixed audiences alike. Sometimes my stories are traditional or for young kids (like the Three Pigs). Some are original and outrageous and for older groups (like The Brothers Schlemiel or 317 Watermelons). Some are a blend, lke Cinderella Spinderella or Every Hero Has a Story.
I love working with listeners of all ages: Adults, Children, Teens, Seniors — and mixed age groups. I’m always amazed at the power spoken and written words have to connect diverse groups with each other.
Writing vs. Storytelling (or Story Performing)
I began performing stories while working on my novel, The Brothers Schlemiel. A friend invited me to a storytelling group and I would read them excerpts. They suggested that I try “telling” instead, and when I finally did I fell in love. In my live events and spoken-word albums, I try to be immediate — so it’s not old-fashioned or dated. If you’ve never seen one of my “comedy story concerts,” listen to the audio, check out the videos and come and see me on tour. (For more info: http://storyamonth.com/)
Over the years I’ve studied playwrighting at the Trinity Rep Conservatory, mythology at Columbia University, dance with the Adaptors Movement Theater, storytelling with Spalding Gray, Aikido (I have a third degree blackbelt in this martial art for peace), and Yoga. In my spare time I like to bake bread and pizza and most recently garden.
Fiction for adults
Like many young writers I set out to write the great American novel. At the time, I didn’t know that Phillip Roth had already written it. I’ve written a vast reservoir of fictions for adults, ranging from The Brothers Schlemiel to The Buddha Who Wore Keds. My first book, “The Rationalization Diet” was a humorous anti-diet book for adults. It’s recently been re-released in an expanded ebook. Other works of fiction and nonfiction are in the pipeline.
From time to time I’ve run for office. I ran for the US House of Representatives (26% of the vote!) and more recently for the RI House of Representatives, nearly defeating the Speaker of the House (43% of the vote!), and helping to bring about his recent downfall. I sometimes get political, but not usually in performance or in my fictions. For more info on that: markbinder.org
The “Official” Brief Bio
Mark Binder writes and tells stories for a living.
He is the author who knows how to tell the right story for readers and listeners of any age.
He has an eclectic collection of styles and interests, ranging from modern takes on traditional stories to bedtime favorites and even some autobiographical tall tales.
Mark was born in Newton, MA, grew up in Bethesda, MD, has lived in New York, Cambridge and London and lives with his family in Providence RI. He performs all around the world.
His collections of classic stories for all ages include The Bed Time Story Book, Kings, Wolves, Princesses and Lions, and Genies, Giants and a Walrus. Together, they have sold more than 60,000 copies in a dozen editions.
Other favorites include: It Ate My Sister, and Stories for Peace — resolving conflict / handling bullies, a collection for change.
His novel for adults, The Brothers Schlemiel was recently released in an unabridged edition. Its companion volumes include A Hanukkah Present (finalist for the national Jewish Book Award for family literature) and Matzah Mishugas.
As an author, his work falls into three categories: original and traditional folk-style tales, the “Chelm” series of books and stories, and autobiographical whoppers and lies.
He is an award-winning recording artist, the founder of the American Story Theater, and from time to time teaches a college course in “Telling Lies.” He holds a third-degree black belt in Aikido, the martial art for peace, and promises not to throw anybody across the room. He has run for the RI House of Representatives and the US House of Representatives and promises only to tell lies when performing, not being political.
Mark was born in Newton, MA, grew up in Bethesda, MD, has lived in New York, Cambridge and London and lives with his family in Providence RI.
Books (and ebooks)
Every Hero Has a Story (2015)
Cinderella Spinderella (2014)
The Brothers Schlemiel—unabridged (2013)
Genies, Giants and a Walrus (2012)
Kings, Wolves, Princesses and Lions (2012)
Stories for Peace (2011)
Matzah Mishugas (2009)
The Bed Time Story Book (2008)
It Ate My Sister (September, 2008)
A Hanukkah Present (*Finalist for the National Jewish Book Award for Family Literature* 2007)
The Everything Bedtime Story Book (2001)
Crumbs Don’t Count — The Rationalization Diet (1994)
Cinderella Spinderella (ep)
Fat Charlie and the Witch (ep)
A Holiday Present
It Was a Dark and Stormy Night…
Classic Stories for Boys and Girls (*Children’s Music Web and iParenting Media Awards)
Tall Tales, Whoppers and Lies
The Brothers Schlemiel from Birth to Bar Mitzvah (*Storytelling World Honor)
A Hanukkah Present
More than 200 stories published in magazines including Cricket, The Forward, The Family, Bostonia, Conjure, and Pizza Today .
Awards and Grants
Cinderella Spinderella: Kickstarter funding; RISCA Project Grant, Digital Book Award Finalist, QED Award, Mom’s Choice Silver, Benjamin Franklin Silver
A Hanukkah Present: Finalist/Runner-Up National Jewish Book Award for Family Literature
A Hanukkah Present (audio) Storytelling World Honor Award
Classic Stories for Boys and Girls: Children’s Music Web Award, iParenting Media Award
US Department of Education Grant to Train School Librarians
Rhode Island State Council on the Arts Literature
RI Department of Education Innovative Project Grant