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

My 2018 Book is Named A Best Book of 2017 by Publishers Weekly

From Publishers Weekly:

The Stowaway tells the true story of 17 year-old Billy Gawronski, a young Polish boy growing up in New York City, who, dreaming of a life of adventure, sneaks aboard Rear Admiral Richard Byrd’s 1928 expedition to Antarctica. Deeply researched and tightly written, The Stowaway is nonfiction at its finest. Billy’s remarkable personal story and the details of Byrd’s incredible voyage are only part of what hooked me–the book also brilliantly evokes the immigrant experience in New York, as well as an extraordinary period in American history when much of the world was still undiscovered and explorers, armed with guile, grit, and crude technology, were our national heroes, often greeted with massive cheering crowds and ticker tape parades upon returning from their expeditions. I read nonfiction almost exclusively, it’s part of my job here at PW, and I’ll be blunt: this has been a depressing year, filled with political works and stories of America’s decline and social disintegration. But Laurie Gwen Shapiro’s fascinating book saved my reading year, offering an incredible story, and a reminder that American Exceptionalism once had real meaning. —Andrew R. Albanese, senior writer