Tony Horwitz is a native of Washington, D.C., and a graduate of Brown University and Columbia University's Graduate School of Journalism. He worked for many years as a reporter, first in Indiana and then during a decade overseas in Australia, Europe, Africa, and the Middle East, mostly covering wars and conflicts as a foreign correspondent for The Wall Street Journal. After returning to the States, he won the Pulitzer Prize for national reporting and worked as a staff writer for The New Yorker before becoming a full-time author.
His books include Midnight Rising, A Voyage Long and Strange, Blue Latitudes, a national and New York Times bestseller about the Pacific voyages of Captain James Cook, Baghdad Without a Map, a national bestseller about the Middle East, and Confederates in the Attic, a national and New York Times bestseller about the Civil War.
Horwitz has been a fellow at the Radcliffe Institute for Advanced Study at Harvard University and a visiting scholar at the John Carter Brown Library at Brown University. He lives with his wife, Geraldine Brooks, and their son, Nathaniel, on the island of Martha's Vineyard in Massachusetts.
Explorer's Take NYC - A Voyage Long and Strange
What happened in North America between Columbus's sail in 1492 and the Pilgrims' arrival in 1620? We followed two explorers as they searched for answers on the streets on NYC for Tony Horwitz's A Voyage Long and Strange.Share This
More Media Access more related media on the webTony Horwitz Interview With The Wall Street Journal Listen to Tony Horwitz on NPR's All Things Considered
Where are you from?
Who are your favorite writers?
Fiction: Russell Banks, Geraldine Brooks, Christopher Buckley, Ian McEwan Nonfiction: Annie Dillard, Jill Lepore, Jonathan Raban.
Which book/books have had the biggest influence on your writing?
Jonathan Raban, Old Glory, about his journey along the Mississippi, most of it spent in seedy taverns and has-been river towns. It turned me onto travel writing and showed me that you can find great stories anywhere, and tell a serious tale with a lot of humor. Anne Lamott, Bird by Bird, and Annie Dillard, The Writing Life. I think they're the only books I've ever read about writing. The message of both is basically to stop kvetching or taking yourself too seriously, and get back to work.
What are your hobbies and outside interests?
To be honest, not a lot. I love my job and work hard at it, and spend most of the rest of my time hanging out with my wife, boys, and dogs on Martha's Vineyard. If walking, reading, collecting beach glass, and playing catch count as hobbies, those would be mine.
What is the single best piece of advice anyone ever gave you?
To ignore all the advice you're given and trust your own instincts. Also, from a blocked writer, "When there's no wind, row."What is your favorite quote?Hard to pick one, so here's three:Mark Twain: "History may not repeat itself, but it does rhyme a lot." Samuel Beckett, on writing: "Try again. Fail Again. Fail better."Winston Churchill to Lady Astor. She said, "If you were my husband I'd give you poison." He replied: "If you were my wife, I'd drink it."
What is the question most commonly asked by your readers? What is the answer?
Q: What advice do you have for a wannabe writer?A: Get your bum in the seat and stay there as long as I can. What inspired you to write your first book?
The offer of $1000 (Australian) by a publisher in Sydney. I was hitchhiking across the outback and writing about it for a Sydney newspaper. She thought I should keep going and write a book. So I did: One for the Road. The publishing house died the week it came out.
Where do you write?
In the attic of an old house by the harbor where my family has lived for five years. However, we're now moving to the next town and my wife and teenage son have already claimed the workspace in our new digs. So I'll keep writing here until I'm evicted.