Interviews

Michael Shapiro has interviewed music legends, film visionaries, and renowned authors. He’s also been interviewed by national TV and radio networks. Following are audio and video clips of his interviews as well as stories from some of his most memorable conversations; many of these appear in full in Shapiro’s book, The Creative Spark.

Michael Shapiro on KNBR with Murph and Mac

Dec. 17, 2019: I was on San Francisco’s KNBR-AM radio with Murph and Mac talking about The Creative Spark. We spoke about SF Giants announcer Mike Krukow who is profiled in the book as well as Smokey Robinson. It was just 5 minutes – the time flew by – fun to be on with Murph and Mac, the high-spirited hosts of the SF Bay Area’s top morning sports talk show.

Shapiro's BookTV panel discussion with Isabel Allende, Tim Cahill, Jan Morris and Jeff Greenwald

For the book launch of A Sense of Place, I set up a panel discussion with four of the leading literary lights of our time: Isabel Allende, Tim Cahill, Jan Morris, and Jeff Greenwald. The national cable network BookTV recorded and broadcast the 90-minute conversation, and you can see it here by clicking the link below. Here’s BookTV description of the event:
The panelists are featured in Shapiro’s latest book A Sense of Place, published by Travelers' Tales. The book includes conversations with these writers, including the details of their day-to-day lives, how they nurture their writing talents, and how they survive their adventures. All of the panelists answered questions from members of the audience following the discussion.

Morris spoke about why, in spite of and because of the fact that she is a travel writer, she always returns home to her native Wales. She also spoke about her experience as a reporter covering the first expedition to successfully climb Mt. Everest.

Allende spoke about her experience as a forced traveler and how her life as an emigrant shaped the way she has defined home. Forced to flee the military coup in Chile in which her father was killed, Allende discussed how her memory and concept of home has been centered on people rather than places and objects.

Cahill described his home in Montana and jokingly attributed his continued residence there to the fact that “they don’t have any warrants for my arrest.” He spoke about how the wisdom derived from travel is only gained through reflection afterward.

Greenwald talked about his love for his hometown of Oakland as well as his adoptive home in Katmandu. He spoke about how his travel writing has changed as he began to publish his work on the Internet rather than in print.

WATCH VIDEO HERE

Washington Post: Dylan Thomas’s Wales

Washington Post: Dylan Thomas’s Wales

I've long felt a kinship with Wales, perhaps because it's where one of my favorite writers, Jan Morris, lives. Recently I had the chance to stay overnight and tour Dylan Thomas's boyhood home in...

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Cowboy Junkies keep it fresh

Cowboy Junkies keep it fresh

In the early 1990s, Cowboy Junkies lead vocalist Margo Timmins performed just for me. I sat about 30 feet away from her and she sang one of her favorites, "Misguided Angel" to an audience of one....

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Anne Lamott on her baby having a baby

Anne Lamott on her baby having a baby

When my book A Sense of Place came out a few years ago I got compliments about being a good interviewer. But here's the secret: I interviewed people -- the world's leading travel writers -- who had...

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Lily Tomlin rocks the house

Lily Tomlin rocks the house

These days Lily Tomlin’s character Ernestine, the gossipy telephone operator who used to parody the AT&T monopoly, works for an insurance firm, “denying health care to everybody.” She told me...

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Leo Kottke: How the guitar saved my life

Leo Kottke: How the guitar saved my life

  Leo Kottke is a quirky and genuine as you'd guess from his music - here's an excerpt from our interview which ends with him talking about music being a type of home for him: Renowned acoustic...

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Joan Rivers: Let’s tawk

Joan Rivers: Let’s tawk

Can we talk? I must admit I've never been drawn to Joan Rivers as I have to comics like George Carlin or Richard Pryor. But after interviewing, I came to appreciate her fierce honesty and incisive...

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Interview with Beach Boys’ Brian Wilson

Interview with Beach Boys’ Brian Wilson

I spoke with the genius behind the Beach Boys, Brian Wilson, in August 2011. The man who penned hits such as "California Girls" and "Wouldn't It Be Nice" has suffered terribly from mental illness...

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Jane Goodall interview

Jane Goodall interview

In 2007 I had the privilege of interviewing Dr. Jane Goodall. Excerpts from that interview have appeared O (Oprah's magazine), The Explorer's Journal and Earth Island Journal. Here's the Goodall...

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David Sedaris’ subversive charm

David Sedaris’ subversive charm

David Sedaris is not a rock star. He's an author, radio contributor, humorist, playwright, and essayist. Yet when he walks onstage Saturday night , October 30, at the Wells Fargo Center, he'll be...

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