Thrilled to be interviewed by Jonathan Capehart at WNYC

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 AntarcticaShe 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

Excited to be interviewed at Shelf Awareness, one of my favorite literary online sites

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

So honored and thrilled an excerpt of The Stowaway was chosen by Outside Magazine


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



THE STOWAWAY on display at Rockefeller Center


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.

My New Essay on

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

A Spread on THE STOWAWAY in the New York Post

How a Jersey teen stowaway became an international celebrity

A few minutes past 4 a.m. on Aug. 25, 1928, 17-year-old Billy Gawronski dove into the Hudson River and swam out to board a ship called the City of New York, which was sailing to Antarctica the next day.

Gawronski had no experience at sea or as an adventurer. But he had a desire to live a more exciting life than the one he was born into.

Read the full article by Larry Getlen on New York Post

Read a Second Excerpt from THE STOWAWAY on Mental Floss

The Plucky Teenage Stowaway Aboard the First American Expedition to Antarctica

As night dropped on September 15, Billy jumped out of his second-floor window and onto the garden, a fall softened by potatoes and cabbage plants and proudly photographed sunflowers. You would think that the boy had learned from his previous stowaway attempt to bring more food or a change of dry clothes. Not the case.

Read the excerpt from chapter four on Mental Floss

Read an Excerpt from THE STOWAWAY on Longreads

Determined to Hitch a Ride on the Greatest Rig in America

With his back against the sunset, a seventeen-year-old boy lingered on the docks along the Hudson River. By his calculations, it was a ten-minute swim from where he stood to the ship.

The new high school graduate waited, his soft grey eyes fixed on the City of New York, moored and heavily guarded on the Hoboken piers. The sun went down at six forty-five this day—August 24, 1928—but still he fought back his adrenaline. He wanted true darkness before carrying out his plan. At noon the next day, the ship would leave New York Harbor and sail nine thousand miles to the frozen continent of Antarctica, the last frontier on Earth left to explore. He intended to be aboard.

Read the full excerpt on

Everything Looks Better in Print – A Spread on THE STOWAWAY in the Sunday Daily News


Failed Queens teen ‘Stowaway’ uses his moxie to join Admiral Richard Byrd’s historic Antarctic voyage

When Admiral Richard Byrd’s ships set sail from New York to Antarctica in 1928, one carried some unexpected cargo: William Gawronski.

The life of the then-17-year-old is recounted in “The Stowaway: A Young Man’s Extraordinary Adventure to Antarctica” by Laurie Gwen Shapiro.

Read the full piece on NY Daily News