Michael Pearson teaches creative writing and literature at Old Dominion University in Norfolk, Virginia. He’s published essays and stories in The Boston Globe, The Atlanta Journal and Constitution, The New York Times, The Washington Post, The Southern Literary Journal, Shenandoah Review, Chautauqua, The Morning News, Creative Nonfiction, and many others.
He’s the author of seven books – among them Imagined Places: Journeys into Literary America (1991 – listed as a notable book by The New York Times Book Review), Dreaming of Columbus: A Boyhood in the Bronx (1999), Innocents Abroad Too (2008 – a narrative about two journeys around the world with Semester at Sea), and, most recently, Reading Life – On Books, Memory, and Travel (2015). Pearson has also written Shohola Falls (2003 – a coming-of-age novel that imagines the hidden life of Mark Twain and the journal of Thomas Blankenship, the real-life Huck Finn). Willie Morris, the renowned former editor of Harper’s, said, “Michael Pearson is one of our nation’s finest memoirists.”
Professor Pearson has led eight Study Abroad programs to England, France, Spain, and Ireland. Along with his wife, Jo-Ellen, he has sailed on three Semester at Sea voyages – 2002, 2006, and 2009 – and those were among the most profound experiences of his life. On those voyages, he made friendships with faculty and students that have lasted two decades. He enjoys hiking, swimming, biking, and crossing new borders. He’s looking forward to the adventure of 2020.