For two years, Michael Shapiro roamed the world interviewing leading travel writers where they live. He met Jan Morris in Wales, Tim Cahill in Montana, Frances Mayes in Tuscany, and Peter Matthiessen at the east end of Long Island. He caught up with
Pico Iyer in California and met Bill Bryson in New Hampshire just before Bryson moved back to England. The result is “A Sense of Place: Great Travel Writers Talk About Their Craft, Lives and Inspiration,” a fascinating collection of conversations ranging from how travel has deepened each writer’s understanding of the world to how these authors developed the skills and discipline to succeed as writers. Shapiro also interviewed Paul Theroux, Isabel Allende, Simon Winchester, Arthur Frommer, Redmond O’Hanlon, Jonathan Raban, Rick Steves, and others.
Michael Shapiro has biked through Cuba for the Washington Post, celebrated Holy Week in Guatemala for the Dallas Morning News, and floated down the Mekong River on a Laotian cargo barge for an online travel magazine. His work also appears in the Los Angeles Times, San Francisco Chronicle and several national magazines. He has been researching online travel since 1994, when he joined an early Net directory called Global Network Navigator. His first book on Net-travel topics appeared in 1997 — subsequent editions appeared in 2000 and 2002. Shapiro spent a year working for CNET, an online tech-news site, before embarking on a freelance career.
Shapiro won a 1998 Lowell Thomas award from the Society of American Travel Writers in the category of “Travel News / Investigative Reporting” for a story on frequent flier programs. He has appeared on national television networks, including CNN and PBS, as well as on radio shows ranging KGO’s On the Go to listener-sponsored KPFA. He lives in Sonoma County, spending his free time cycling, river rafting, seakayaking and rooting for the Giants at San Francisco’s beautiful ballpark by the Bay.