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Michael Meyer

Professor
CL 609-B

Michael's Affiliations: Asian Sudies Center, University Honors College

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, the Rockefeller Foundation’s Bellagio Center in Italy, and the University of Oxford's Center for Life-Writing. 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. In 2022, he was a U.S. Fullbright Scholar in Taiwan.

Prof. Meyer also created and teaches a popular travel writing course for Pitt@London each summer. Starting in 2022, he is a Faculty Electus member of the University Honors College.

Meyer’s latest book is the historical biography Benjamin Franklin’s Last Bet: The Favorite Founder’s Divisive Death, Enduring Afterlife, and Blueprint for American Prosperity, published by Mariner/HarperColllins in 2022. His next project, A Dirty, Filthy Book, details a scandalous trial in Victorian London over the publication of an American birth control pamphlet, and the activist who defended herself before the Crown. It is slated to be published by PenguinRandomHouse UK and Harvard University Press in 2023.

Web Presence 

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.

Meyer’s website, which includes links to reviews, interviews, and his journalism is www.inmanchuria.com. Among his favorite stories is this interview with the legendary literary agent Georges Borchardt.

 

Revised 09/21/2022
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