Neil Shea


Photo by Stephen Alvarez.


Neil Shea grew up near Boston and worked as a wilderness guide before becoming a writer. He is a contributing editor at The American Scholar and the Virginia Quarterly Review, and his work regularly appears in National Geographic Magazine. He has also written for many other publications including Foreign Policy, The Atlantic Monthly, The Christian Science Monitor, and Inversion Magazine. From 2004 to 2008 he was a staff writer for National Geographic; before joining the magazine he was a reporter for the Providence Journal. He has worked in Africa, the Middle East, Asia, Europe, and elsewhere.

Neil’s writing has been recognized nationally with gold and silver Lowell Thomas Awards for his stories on Ethiopia and Cuba, and an award for environmental reporting from the Society of Environmental Journalists. He has been a finalist for the National Magazine Award and the Overseas Press Club Award, and his story from subterranean Paris was recently listed in The Best American Travel Writing, 2012.

When he’s not in the field, Neil teaches at Boston University and Sewanee, the University of the South. He regularly presents storytelling workshops (most recently to Instagram’s editorial team in Palo Alto) and speaks about his work and storytelling at conferences and universities. Recently he’s been invited to speak at Furman University, UNC Chapel Hill, the Power of Narrative Conference in Boston, the Art of Social Justice festival at The American University of Sulaimani, Iraq, and the Festival in Bari, Italy.