Bob Shacochis at


This month at the Travel Writers page I interview Bob Shacochis, a contributing editor for both Outside and Harper’s, and the author of books such as Swimming in the Volcano, Easy in the Islands, and The Immaculate Invasion. Here are some of the highlights from our Q&A:

  • “The biggest challenge in the research process is to let go, to stop, to say enough, and then to reduce all of that beloved labor down to a few succinct paragraphs that shape the background to your narrative. I love research — that’s all the fun, especially in the field. To write, however, is to suffer, and my pieces usually come in thousands of words over the assigned length. That’s a serious flaw in my writing process — shaping and disciplining the footlockers of material one has so happily gathered.”
  • “Iowa [Writing Workshop] was my first big break. Worked with great teachers — Barry Hannah, James Alan McPherson — caught the eye of a few literary lions like Robert Stone and John Irving, got an agent, started publishing short stories in the New York mags by my third semester. When my first book, Easy In The Islands, came out in 1985, I began to get calls from editors at all the big mags asking if I was interested in nonfiction assignments overseas. The surfer in me immediately responded — Are you shitting me? Send a plane ticket!
  • “I’ve worked with three or four editors I adore but most of them couldn’t teach a freshmen English class.”
  • “Read every travel book you can get your hands on, starting with Homer and Virgil and the Bible, working your way through the centuries to Rory Stewart. Everything you read is, finally, influential.”
  • “Love humanity, cultivate tolerance, hate injustice. Serve language, not word counts, and don’t just skate around on the glossy surface of things. Say yes to everything but hookers and drugs. To hookers and drugs say…maybe. If an editor tells you the audience you are writing for is composed of idiots who need every little obvious thing spelled out endlessly, tell the editor to go fuck himself/herself.”

Full Bob Shacochis interview online here.

Posted by | Comments (4)  | April 30, 2007
Category: Travel News

4 Responses to “Bob Shacochis at”

  1. Amy L Jenkins Says:

    Thanks for a hit of Bob. I’m one of hundreds of scads of reader/writers awaiting his next book. He manages to avoid every PC trend and produce evocative prose which reveal a lovely soul disguised as a rapscallion.

  2. Wendi Nolan Says:

    Dear Bob Shakochis,
    I loved Easy In The Islands, which I read in the mid-eighties, and still re read it! For twenty years since, I’ve tried to learn of anything else you may have published? Alas… in this country (Australia) bookshops are not familiar with your name- Perhaps you should inform your agent or publisher about that.
    Do you give lessons by the Internet? If so, then I might be a potential pupil (if you will accept me). I try to write offbeat short stories about eccentrics and misfits.
    Regards from, Wendi Nolan

  3. paula Says:

    Is there anyone who knows how I get in touch with Bob Shacochis! Anyone know an email address?


  4. Wendi Nolan Says:

    I am the same person listed as number 2 (above) under Responses for “Bob Shacochis at” My previous email address: is no longer valid. I would like to hear from Bob Shacochis re writing tuition via the Internet. I live in Sydney, Australia, and I am an avid fan of Bob’s work. One year has passed and I still hope for a reply.
    Yours sincerely,
    Wendi Nolan