Back to Global Conversations 3.14: Maggie Shipstead, author of Great Circle and Astonish Me

Author Maggie Shipstead talks with Melissa about some of her most memorable travel adventures, why she is drawn to “windswept wastelands,” the importance of protecting wild places, solo travel, going remote, the destinations on her wish list (from Central Asia to Africa), life lessons learned from being a wanderer at heart and more.

Episode Guide

Our guest today, Maggie Shipstead, is both a travel writer’s travel writer and a writer’s writer.  In a relatively short time, she’s had major success, both literary and commercial, in both nonfiction — for travel stories in publications including Travel & Leisure, Conde Nast Traveler, the Atlantic, and the New York Times — and in fiction. 

Her latest novel, her third, came out this past spring, and it’s called Great Circle. It’s the tale of two women, a century apart, one a daredevil aviatrix who travels the globe and the other an actress who portrays her much later. One review, in the New York Times, said “Great Circle starts high and maintains altitude. One might say it soars….Here we have an action-packed book rich with character. But it’s at the level of the sentence and the scene, the small but unforgettable salient detail, that books finally succeed or fail. In that, Great Circle is consistently, often breathtakingly, sound.”  Not bad for a review, right?

Unlike her literally high-flying heroine, Maggie herself is very down-to-earth, but like her she is wildly talented. Through her life and her stories, Shipstead has learned very well that travel can be an adventure that pushes you, expands you, electrifies you. We’ll talk with Maggie about the power of seeing the world, and what she sees in the world—and we know you’ll come away being as glad as we are that she’s writing what she’s writing. 

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