Phil Hagen
Writer, Editor, Consultant
   Phil Hagen is a longtime writer and editor who helped launch, develop and edit numerous award-winning magazines in Las Vegas, including:
  • Las Vegas Life (Silver Medal, General Excellence, National City & Regional Magazine Association, 2003).
  • Architecture Las Vegas (Maggie Award, Best Annual Publication in the West, 2004).
  • Desert Companion (Maggie Award, Best Quarterly Publication in the West, 2009).
  • Vurb (a bimonthly magazine about the urban movement and lifestyle in Las Vegas, 2007).
  • Vegas Seven (Best Weekly Publication, Nevada Press Association, 2014).
   Most recently he served as editorial director for WENDOH Media, where he oversaw a variety of publications and websites. In 2009, he wrote a book about The Meadows School, a nationally acclaimed private institution founded by Las Vegas Mayor Carolyn Goodman.

The Nevada Lean

Hagen's first novel was a semifinalist in two 2016 novel-writing contests (Black Lawrence Press and Leapfrog Press)

   Twelve-year-old J.J. DuMond lands in Las Vegas in 1991 and promptly sees his family and city blow up on him. After dealing with a bitter divorce, a first crush lost to relocation, an eighth-grade bully terrorizing his school and the fall of his adopted Runnin’ Rebel heroes, he spends the next 15 years trying to find his footing on shifting sands. With each misstep, though, comes an opportunity for redemption from unlikely sources: the heroic Air Force pilot who marries his mother; J.J.’s estranged father, a celebrated music critic who finally uses some of his genius to help his son; and his offbeat passion for music, which keeps him moving forward when nothing else will. 
   The setting has multiple roles—from ruthless, implosion-happy Sin City to keeper of metaphysical secrets—but ultimately it's used to help navigate J.J. through the forces of nature, nurture and luck. As one of 

the characters says in The Nevada Lean,  "Las Vegas is either the new epicenter of the American Dream or its crash site. I’m fascinated to find out which.” 

Red Flag

His second novel was a finalist in the 2019 Faulkner novel-writing contest.

   It’s Fourth of July weekend in Flagstaff, Arizona, and Bob Butters senses something tragic is about to happen. It could be from the inexorable encroachment of an unstable world—one of suspicion and intolerance—upon his once-free-spirited mountain town. Or perhaps it’s his role in that world, of small-market newspaperman, a job teetering between anachronism and “Enemy of the People.”
   Ultimately the two specters collide when his young, aggressive reporter investigates a militia that’s risen in secret with a vague purpose and stockpile of weapons. Against a backdrop of drought-ravaged forest and red-flag warnings, her Independence Day exposé turns the town into a figurative tinderbox as well.
   After a run of fateful coincidences, “Bad News Bob” finds himself holding the match.
  Along the way, the main character passionately and often humorously carries the narrative with his ruminating editor’s mind, which obsessively roams through not only his own perilous situation but that of America’s, from its darkening mind-set to its Walt Whitman ideals.
  1. 2010-2013
    Editorial director, WENDOH Media
    Launched Vegas Seven magazine, a partnership between WENDOH and the New York Observer. Led a team of 20-plus writers, editors and designers in producing a variety of magazines and websites, including,, Vegas Rated, and custom publications for the Hard Rock Hotel and Crystals Shopping Center.
  2. 2004-2010
    Owner, Vegas Ink
    Ran a business that focused on freelance writing, editing and publication project management. During this time, developed Desert Companion magazine for the local public radio station, edited Architecture Las Vegas magazine for the AIA and developed and operated Vurb magazine as an owner of Urban Village Publishing.
  3. 1997-2004
    Editorial director, Greenspun Media
    Oversaw editorial teams that produced Las Vegas Life, a monthly city magazine, and Las Vegas Weekly. Also led several custom projects, including Architecture Las Vegas for the AIA.
  1. The purpose of life is not to be happy. It is to be useful, to be honorable, to be compassionate, to have it make some difference that you have lived and lived well.


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