Biography of Simon Winchester

British author and journalist Simon Winchester has a knack for finding fascinating people and events to write about. Fueled by curiosity, passion, and a journalist’s instinct for what makes “good copy,” Winchester has explored the obscure, arcane, and idiosyncratic, resulting in bestselling books that have been called “extraordinary,” “mesmerizing” and “both epic and intimate.”

His subjects range from a criminally insane American locked up in an English asylum for murder who was instrumental in compiling the Oxford English Dictionary (The Professor and the Madman) to a freethinking, married Englishman who followed his mistress to China to bolster his conviction that the Chinese were responsible for hundreds of mankind’s most familiar innovations (The Man Who Loved China).

Winchester’s other books include the New York Times bestsellers A Crack in The Edge of the World, about the 1906 San Francisco earthquake, and The Map That Changed The World, about an orphaned son of an English country blacksmith, who became obsessed with creating the world’s first geological map and ultimately became the father of modern geology.

His latest book, Atlantic: Great Sea Battles, Heroic Discoveries, Titanic Storms, and a Vast Ocean of a Million Stories, tells the breathtaking story of the magnificent Atlantic Ocean, setting it against the backdrop of mankind’s intellectual evolution.

Winchester’s own life is as fascinating as that of his subjects. After graduating from Oxford with a degree in geology, he spent a year working as a geologist in the Ruwenzori Mountains in western Uganda and on oil rigs in the North Sea. As a foreign correspondent, Winchester was based in Belfast; Washington, D.C.; New Delhi; New York; London; and Hong Kong, where he covered such stories as Bloody Sunday, Watergate, the fall of President Marcos, the Jonestown Massacre, the assassination of Egypt’s President Sadat, and the 1982 Falklands War. During the Falklands conflict, he was arrested and spent three months in prison in Tierra del Fuego, on spying charges.

He also served as Asia-Pacific Editor for Conde Nast Traveler, and contributed to a number of travel publications including National Geographic and Smithsonian magazine.

Winchester writes and presents television films on a variety of historical topics and is a frequent contributor to BBC radio.