Back in 1988? (I believe the year) I was a high school volunteer for the first Pen World Voices festival held in NYC and had the great thrill to get Kurt Vonnegut a sandwich and Norman Mailer a coffee! Moving on up! Very honored and thrilled to be moderating a panel for PEN America and PEN World Voices Festival of International Literature on the theme of persistence! April 21 5pm-630 at Dixon Place – I hope you will come – PLEASE COME! This is my favorite festival of the year – and the rest of the line up is really superb.
April 21, 2018
5:00 PM-6:30 PM
161A Chrystie Street, New York, NY 10002
Where do people find the inner resources, the determination, the doggedness and the sheer physical wherewithal to keep going in the face of adversity and torment? Each of these writers tells compelling stories of epic feats of persistence. Sharon Bala’s boatload of Sri Lankan refugees lands in Canada but instead of receiving sanctuary, they are imprisoned because of fears that their group includes terrorists; their quest for freedom moves to the courts. In Without a Country, Ayse Kulin’s characters flee Nazi Germany and find safe haven in Turkey. But that safety evaporates for their descendants as military coups and encroaching anti-Semitism threaten their future in the place they call home. Marcos Aguinis tells the extraordinary story of the Jewish intellectual who resisted the tortures of the Spanish Inquisitors in 17th-century South America and fought to retain his faith. The common theme is the almost superhuman effort of individuals to persist in the face of danger and death. They talk to Laurie Gwen Shapiro, author of The Stowaway: A Young Man’s Extraordinary Adventure to Antarctica about the almost superhuman effort of individuals to persist in the face of danger and death.
The Man Who Made Violins Out of New York City Buildings
In the 1940s, luthier Samuel Stochek created stunning instruments from the wood of demolished houses.
Read the full article at Atlas Obscura
How a teenage stowaway made it to Antarctica 90 years ago
On August 24th, 1928, a 17-year-old high school kid jumped into the Hudson River and snuck inside a ship that was soon headed to Antarctica. Billy Gawronski, the son of Polish immigrants, wanted nothing more than to go to the ice continent with his hero, explorer Richard Byrd. But he was caught — and sent back home.
Read the interview at the verge.com
How A Teenage ‘Shabbos Goy’ Stowed Away On America’s First Antarctic Exploration
Teenagers dream about running away. They always have; they likely always will; often, when they do, the results are decidedly weird. (See: Haight-Ashbury circa the 1960s.)
But there’s packing a knapsack and setting out for the Summer of Love, and then there’s swimming across a major river intending to hitch a ride on a boat to Antarctica. In August of 1928, Billy Gawronski, the son of Polish Catholic immigrants, a Yiddish-speaking former “Shabbos goy” and a library-frequenting fan of adventure tales, did just that.
Read the interview at the Forward
One Teenager’s Adventure from Queens to Antarctica in 1928
Laurie Gwen Shapiro talks about her new book The Stowaway: A Young Man’s Extraordinary Adventure to Antarctica. She tells the story of Billy Gawronski, a first generation New York City high schooler in 1928 desperate to escape a dreary future in the family upholstery business, who jumped into the Hudson River and stowed away on a ship bound for an expedition to Antarctica.
Hear the interview at WNYC.org
Laurie Gwen Shapiro: An Antarctic Adventure
Laurie Gwen Shapiro is a fiction writer, award-winning documentary filmmaker and journalist whose writing has appeared in New York magazine, Slate, the Forward and the Los Angeles Review of Books, among others. In The Stowaway: A Young Man’s Extraordinary Adventure to Antarctica (just published by Simon & Schuster), her first foray into book-length nonfiction, Shapiro recounts the true story of Billy Gawronski, a scrappy and determined teenager growing up in 1920s New York who sneaks onto a ship bound for the southernmost continent.
Read the full interview at shelf-awareness.com
Hear it! Laurie Gwen Shapiro dives into the Hudson River and sneaks aboard Richard E. Byrd’s flagship with Billy Gawronski, a plucky New York City teen bent on reaching the South Pole.
Listen now on History Author Show
When Teens Just…Snuck onto Antarctic Expeditions
In 1928, 17-year-old Billy Gawronski decided it wasn’t enough to dream about going to Antarctica, so he set out to secretly join an outgoing ship. In an excerpt from Laurie Gwen Shapiro’s forthcoming book about Gawronski’s adventures, The Stowaway, we find Billy at a crucial moment in his plan.
Read the full excerpt at Outside Magazine
My beloved editor Megan Hogan at SimonBooks just sent me a photo of a new “The Stowaway” display in the lobby of Simon & Schuster at Rockefeller Center – 1230 Avenue of the Americas. I’m going up there later this morning to take a photo with her! SO amazed- had zero idea this was going up! — feeling thankful.
How I Found the Boy Who Stowed Away to Antarctica
Finding just the right story for a book was my New Year’s resolution in 2013. I just didn’t know where to look. But I’ve always loved writing about my neighborhood — Manhattan’s historic Lower East Side, where I grew up and still live — and so I was happy to be assigned a small magazine piece on Polish classes at St. Stanislaus, a local Roman Catholic church.
Read the full essay on Powells.com