I was born in Henderson, Nevada in 1960, the youngest of Jan and Prince Smith’s six children. Our family’s Nevada roots reach back to 1881. I am married to the writer Sally Denton and the proud father of Amelia Smith, whose courageous cancer battle is the subject of my book Amelia's Long Journey.
A longtime columnist for the Las Vegas Review-Journal, I left the newspaper in 2016 and today work as a freelance writer. My stories have appeared in a variety of publications and wire services. To name a few: The Daily Beast, Desert Companion, The Nevada Independent, The New York Daily News, Pasatiempo magazine, Readers Digest, Reuters, Ruralite, Searchlight New Mexico, and Time. I also give weekly commentary on Nevada Public Radio station KNPR.
In March 2021 I published Saints, Sinners, and Sovereign Citizens: The Endless War over the West’s Public Lands. Published by the University of Nevada Press, it’s an in-depth study of the battle over control of a land rich in natural resources at a time of the rise of the far-right in American politics.
In the fall of 2020 I published two books for young readers, Sarah Winnemucca: A Princess for the People and Snowshoe Thompson: Sierra Mailman. They are published through Keystone Canyon Press and available at www.keystonecanyon.com. In 2021, I added Ben Palmer: Black Pioneers on the Frontier and Anne Martin: The March for Suffrage. They are part of a series we are calling “Fields of Silver and Gold.” Two new books are coming in 2022.
In January 2019, I published a biography of iconic Nevada civil rights and political leader, Joe Neal. Westside Slugger: Joe Neal’s Lifelong Fight for Social Justice is published by University of Nevada Press and it’s available at Amazon.com.
In all, I have published more than 20 books and am a credited contributor in many others. Other recent titles include Vegas Voices: Conversations with Great Las Vegas Characters and a short story collection, Even a Street Dog. Both are available through my NevadaSmith Press imprint and on Amazon.com. In 2016 I published a short history book for the Las Vegas Springs Preserve, Open For Business. I have appeared in many documentaries, including “The American Experience: Las Vegas; An Unconventional History” from Stephen Ives.
My chapbook of poetry, Card Trick, was published in 2018.
Battles with Vegas Titans
National media attention to my battles with Las Vegas billionaire titans, Steve Wynn and Sheldon Adelson, that resulted in my leaving the Las Vegas Review-Journal after more than 30 years as a columnist.
‘Nobody Speak’: Inside Chilling New Free Press Documentary — Rolling Stone Magazine
Another Journalist Quits Las Vegas Newspaper Bought by Sheldon Adelson — The New York Times
RECENT AWARDS AND HONORS
2021 — Nevada Press Association, third place, non-staff general interest column, The Nevada Independent
2020 — Nevada Press Association, first place, non-staff general interest column, The Nevada Independent
2019 — Nevada Press Association, first place, non-staff general interest column, The Nevada Independent
2018 — Nevada Press Association, second place, non-staff general interest column, The Nevada Independent
2017 —Nevada Press Association, first place, non-staff general interest column, The Nevada Independent
2016 —University of Oregon, Ancil Payne Award for Ethics
2016 —Northwestern University, Foley-Medill Medal for Courage
2016 —National Society of Professional Journalists, Ethics Award
2013 —Best of the West, first place, daily column
2013 —Nevada Press Association, first place, daily column
2012 — Best of the West, third place, daily column
2012 —Nevada Press Association, first place, general interest column
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