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Michael Meyer

CL 609-B

Michael Meyer went to China in 1995 as one of its first Peace Corps volunteers. As the author of the acclaimed The Last Days of Old Beijing: Life in the Vanishing Backstreets of a City Transformed, he received a Whiting Writers’ Award for nonfiction, followed by a Guggenheim Fellowship. His second book, In Manchuria: A Village Called Wasteland and the Transformation of Rural China won a Lowell Thomas Award for Best Travel Book from the Society of American Travel Writers, as did the third book in his China trilogy, The Road to Sleeping Dragon: Learning China from the Ground Up. Meyer’s stories have appeared in the New York Times, the Wall Street Journal, Time, Smithsonian, Sports Illustrated, Slate, the Financial Times, Foreign Policy, Architectural Record, the Los Angeles Times, the Chicago Tribune, the Iowa Review, the Paris Review, and on National Public Radio’s This American Life. He has received a National Endowment for the Humanities Public Scholar award, the Berlin Prize, and residencies at MacDowell, the New York Public Library’s Cullman Center for Scholars and Writers, and the Rockefeller Foundation’s Bellagio Center in Italy. He is a fellow of the National Committee on United States-China Relations’ Public Intellectuals Program and is affiliated faculty with Pitt's Asian Studies Center

Prof. Meyer also created and teaches a popular travel writing course for Pitt@London each summer. In Fall 2021, he will be a U.S. Fulbright Scholar in Taiwan.

Meyer’s next book, the historical biography Benjamin Franklin’s Last Bet: The Favorite Founder’s Divisive Death, Enduring Afterlife, and Blueprint for American Prosperity, is slated to be published by Houghton Mifflin Harcourt in Spring 2022. He is working on a book about a scandalous trial in Victorian London.


In 2018, Meyer’s writing and teaching methods were profiled in the Association of Writing Programs Writer's Chronicle

Listen to an excerpt of In Manchuria on This American Life. And watch Meyer in conversation with historian Ian Buruma at the Asia Society in New York.


Revised 06/14/2022
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