Education and career
Slouka was born to Czech immigrants, Olga and Zdenek Slouka. In 1987 he graduated with Ph.D. from Columbia University and became a teacher. From 1985 to 1989 he served as Teaching Fellow at Harvard University where he was giving courses in American literature. After a one-year interlude at the Pennsylvania State University, Slouka moved to the University of California, San Diego, where from 2005 to 2006 he was a chairman of the Division of Creative Writing and in 1999 was a professor at Writing Division of the Columbia University.
Slouka's first subject matter was the 1996 book War of the Worlds: Cyberspace and the Assault on Reality which encompasses the extent to which virtual reality and blurring of real life with corporate fantasy has become a "genuine cultural phenomenon". In 2003, Slouka's first novel God's Fool fictionalized the life of Siamese twins, Chang and Eng Bunker.
An essay of his entitled "Listening for Silence: Notes on the Aural Life" appeared in the 2004 anthology Audio Cultures. In this essay, Slouka inputs concepts and questions that pose a philosophical debate as to what silence is. Can silence really exist, or is it just what people decide to ignore that makes silence? Although people take notice of the visual landscape of our world, the change in aural landscape goes by seemingly unnoticed. Slouka views death as silence and, in some regards, it is because a human lacks the ability to hear any longer. Fear of silence is what creates the drive for noise and music. Slouka even says "fear forces our hand, inspires us, makes visible the things we love." Silence is an entity that brings out curiosity and there are other ways of describing it. Mainly, Slouka's contribution to the book made for some contrasting ideologies between musicians and authors such as Mark Slouka. In 2006 Slouka writes his short story "Dominion", originally published in TriQuarterly, was included within the anthology Best American Short Stories 2006. His short story "The Hare's Mask", originally published in Harper's, was included in the anthology The Best American Short Stories 2011.
His second novel, The Visible World, tells the story of a son uncovering his flawed parents' earlier life in the Czech resistance. It gained notability in the UK following its inclusion in the 2008 Richard & Judy Book Club list.
In his book Essays from the Nick of Time, Slouka argues that "The humanities are a superb delivery mechanism for what we might call democratic values"  In one of the essays, "Quitting the Paint Factory", he states, "Idleness is ... requisite to the construction of a complete human being; ... allowing us time to figure out who we are, and what we believe; by allowing us time to consider what is unjust, and what we might do about it."
In 2011, Slouka received the PEN/Diamonstein-Spielvogel Award for the Art of the Essay for Essays from the Nick of Time and a year later was awarded with the O. Henry Award.
|1996||War of the Worlds: Cyberspace and the High-tech Assault on Reality||Basic Books|
|1998||Lost Lake: Stories||Alfred A. Knopf|
|2002||God's Fool: A Novel||Alfred A. Knopf|
|2007||The Visible World: A Novel||Houghton Mifflin Harcourt|
|2010||Essays from the Nick of Time: Reflections and Refutations||Graywolf Press|
|2013||Brewster: A Novel||W. W. Norton & Company|
|2016||Nobody's Son: A Memoir||W. W. Norton & Company|
|2018||All That Is Left Is All That Matters: Stories||W. W. Norton & Company|
- Mark Slouka Random House Retrieved 2 June 2019.
- Ferrier, Morwenna. "Review: BOOKS: The Visible World Mark", The Observer, 8 July 2007
- "News of SVU Members". No. 2. Czechoslovak Society of Arts and Sciences. 2006. p. 6. Cite magazine requires
- Slouka, Mark: The illusion of life is bought dearly, New Statesman, 12 January 1996
- Dillon, Cathy, God's Fool Irish Times 13 September 2003
- Ferrier, Morwenna. Review: BOOKS: WAR: The Visible World, The Observer 8 July 2007
- Heitman, Danny. How can Obama save our economy and our democracy? Humanities education The Christian Science Monitor 18 February 2011
- "Brewster". W. W. Norton. Retrieved 2 June 2019. CS1 maint: discouraged parameter (link)
- "2011 Diamonstein-Spielvogel Award for the Art of the Essay". PEN American Center. 16 November 2012. Retrieved 2 June 2019. CS1 maint: discouraged parameter (link)
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