Photo by Stephen Alvarez.
Neil Shea grew up near Boston and worked as a wilderness guide before becoming a writer. He is an editor-at-large for the Virginia Quarterly Review, and a regular contributor to National Geographic Magazine and The American Scholar. He is also an adjunct professor of journalism at Boston University; a visiting professor at Sewanee, the University of the South; and he has 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.
Neil regularly appears on radio and television to speak about his stories. He has been invited to teach or speak at universities including Furman, UVA, and UNC, Chapel Hill, and he has been a featured speaker at several events, including the Power of Narrative Conference in Boston; the L.Ink. Festival in Bari, Italy; and the Art of Social Justice festival at The American University of Sulaimani, Iraq.