With Michael Shapiro

“I’ve never thought of us so-called travel writers as forming a comradeship, but in this innovative book, Shapiro brings our motley crew into a single focus by surveying eighteen of us, as writers and as people, through a single pair of perceptive, generous, and imaginative eyes.”
—Jan Morris

A Sense of Place: Great Travel Writers Talk About Their Craft, Lives, and Inspiration is a gathering of fascinating conversations with the world’s great travel writers. From attitudes about writing, to favorite foods, books, and places, these eighteen celebrated writers share the secrets of their lives and craft. The collection includes interviews with Isabel Allende, Bill Bryson, Tim Cahill, Arthur Frommer, Jeff Greenwald, Pico Iyer, Peter Matthiessen, Frances Mayes, Tom Miller, Jan Morris, Eric Newby, Brad Newsham, Redmond O’Hanlon, Jonathan Raban, Rick Steves, Paul Theroux, Sara Wheeler, and Simon Winchester. Ride over dusty Montana roads to Tim Cahill’s writing cabin, step into the Dickensian clutter of Redmond O’Hanlon’s house in Oxford, gaze at Peter Matthiessen’s rustic zendo on Long Island, visit Jan Morris and her cat Ibsen in the Welsh village where they make their home, and empty a bottle of wine with Jonathan Raban in a Seattle study that feels like a ship’s cabin. For two years, Michael Shapiro, an award-winning travel journalist roamed the world interviewing the leading travel writers where they live. The result is a fascinating collection of conversations that cover the ways travel has deepened each writer’s understanding of the world and how these authors developed the skills and discipline to succeed as writers. Destined to take a treasured place on the bookshelves of travelers, and aspiring writers, A Sense of Place serves as an invaluable window into the lives and minds of great travel writers. Among the unexpected insights the writers share…

  • Isabel Allende says she lost her innocence on September 11, but the year was not 2001; it was 1973 in Chile.
  • Bill Bryson left the United States in the 1970s as a St. Louis Cardinals’ fan and became a Red Sox fan when he returned two decades later.
  • The first guidebook Arthur Frommer wrote didn’t include addresses or phone numbers.
  • Pico Iyer carries Van Morrison in his mind wherever he goes.
  • Frances Mayes climbed out of a window when she was four and believes this led to her buying an ancient house in Tuscany and writing Under the Tuscan Sun.
  • Rick Steves dreaded his first trip to Europe.
  • Tim Cahill joined his school’s swim team so he could travel beyond his hometown in Wisconsin.
  • Paul Theroux considers himself “good-tempered and optimistic” and says that when traveling he’s “usually just grinning like a dog.”
  • Jan Morris feels it may be high time that the world come to an end.

About Michael Shapiro

Michael Shapiro has written for The Washington Post, San Francisco Chronicle, Los Angeles Times, and The Dallas Morning News. He is the author of three books about using the Internet for travel, including Internet Travel Planner, and maintains NetTravel.com, a list of top travel sites alongside some of his travel stories. He received the Lowell Thomas award from the Society of American Travel Writers for a 1998 story in the San Francisco Examiner travel section.

About Travelers’ Tales

Travelers’ Tales is currently marking ten years of excellence in travel publishing with the publication of The Best Travelers’ Tales 2004. By publishing the best travel writing from world-famous authors and emerging writers, the editors’ goal is to inspire and enlighten readers through true stories by travelers who have explored the depths of their experiences. The award-winning series includes: country and regional guides; books which explore the themes of women’s travel, spirituality, food, humor, and adventure; travel advice books; Footsteps: The Soul of ravel, a series of single-author travel narratives; and Travelers’ Tales Classics, a series which introduces out-of-print favorites of travel literature to a new audience.

Travelers’ Tales…the Power of a Good Story. TM

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A Sense of Place: Great Travel Writers Talk About Their Craft, Lives, and Inspiration
With Michael Shapiro
Travelers’ Tales, September 2004
$18.95 Trade Paperback
392 pages, 5 1/8″ x 8″
ISBN: 1-932361-08-1