Mara Altman

Author of Narrative Nonfiction
Humor & Comedy
Travels from: San Diego, CA

“An honest, often hilarious look at women’s bodies, how we think of them, our practices, questions, embarrassments. It’s all on display, and Mara Altman is not shy about any of it.” – NPR’s All Things Considered

Mara Altman writes about issues that embarrass her (i.e. chin hair), because she has found that putting shame on the page diffuses the stigma, leaving her with a sense of empowerment and freedom. Her favorite thing is when a reader writes to her and says something like, “I have chin hair, too!” or “Hemorrhoids!”

Mara has published eight best-selling Kindle Singles. Thanks for Coming, her first book, follows her on an adventure to find her orgasm, and has been translated into three languages – German, Spanish and Portuguese. The book was also optioned by HBO.

Gross Anatomy: Dispatches From the Front (and Back), her newest book, was released by Putnam in August 2018. With a combination of personal anecdotes and fascinating research, Gross Anatomy holds up a magnifying glass to our beliefs, practices, biases, and body parts and shows us the naked truth: that there is greatness in our grossness.

Her latest Audible Original, A Short Drink of Water, was released in December, 2021.

Mara has written for publications such as The New York Times, Salon, New York Magazine and McSweeney’s Internet Tendency. Before going freelance, she worked as a staff writer for the Village Voice and daily newspapers in India and Thailand. Mara has a masters from Columbia Graduate School of Journalism and lives in San Diego with a few other hairy beings.

Prepare an Invitation for:

Gross Anatomy

GP Putnam’s Sons |
Narrative Nonfiction

An honest, funny, neurotic, and totally gross love child of Mindy Kaling and Mary Roach.

Mara Altman’s volatile and apprehensive relationship with her body has led her to wonder about a lot of stuff over the years. Like, who decided that women shouldn’t have body hair? And how sweaty is too sweaty? Also, why is breast cleavage sexy but camel toe revolting? Isn’t it all just cleavage? These questions and others like them have led to the comforting and sometimes smelly revelations that constitute Gross Anatomy, an essay collection about what it’s like to operate the bags of meat we call our bodies.

Divided into two sections, “The Top Half” and “The Bottom Half,” with cartoons scattered throughout, Altman’s book takes the reader on a wild and relatable journey from head to toe–as she attempts to strike up a peace accord with our grody bits.

With a combination of personal anecdotes and fascinating research, Gross Anatomy holds up a magnifying glass to our beliefs, practices, biases, and body parts and shows us the naked truth: that there is greatness in our grossness.

Thanks for Coming: One Young Woman’s Quest for an Orgasm

Harper Perennial |
Narrative Nonfiction

By turns uproarious and touching, the memoir of a young woman’s search for an orgasm—and for the elusive connections between sex and love

Twenty-six-year-old Mara Altman wanted to know what all the screaming was about. She’d lost her virginity at seventeen; grown up in southern California with sexually free parents; had lovers in India, Burma, and Peru; and spent a year in Bangkok observing all manner of depravity. And yet she was an attractive, successful, single woman in New York who’d never had an orgasm.

And so she embarked on a wildly funny, emotionally resonant odyssey—a journey both inside and outside herself—only to discover that, for Mara, orgasm was connected to a part of her that no vibrator could reach. Thanks for Coming is one woman’s look at our obsession with and anxiety over the female orgasm. Her quest to get her own yields poignant results that will surprise even the sexually awakened among us. From sex shows to sex conventions, from a therapist’s couch to her own couch, from the bedroom to the bar, Mara Altman proves to be a guide as hilarious as she is investigative.

Coming Soon!

Mara Altman – GROSS ANATOMY – book trailer (The Brunch)

Mara Altman – GROSS ANATOMY – book trailer

The Bike Ride

Mara’s Upcoming Events

Book Trailers and Other Writing

Honors, Awards & Recognition

Mara has written for publications such as The New York Times, Salon, New York Magazine and McSweeney’s Internet Tendency. Before going freelance, she worked as a staff writer for the Village Voice and daily newspapers in India and Thailand. Mara has a masters from Columbia Graduate School of Journalism.

Media Kit

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