Bob Reiss is a bestselling New York based author and journalist, a former Chicago Tribune reporter and former correspondent for Outside Magazine. His work has also been published in The Washington Post Magazine, Smithsonian, Parade, Rolling Stone and other national publications, and has been featured in collections of the best of the Washington Post Magazine, and the best of Outside. He has appeared on Good Morning America, Morning Joe, CNN, Charlie Rose and Dan Rather Reports. In 2010 he co-produced his first investigative segment for national television, for PBS's "Need To Know." Bob has also worked as a consultant on Arctic issues for CBS "60 Minutes."
During summer 2012 Bob will be a regular guest on national TV and radio shows discussing the opening Arctic, the fight over offshore oil drilling there and the dangers and opportunities in warmer, newly accessible polar regions.
Bob's non-fiction books include "The Eskimo and The Oil Man," about the opening Arctic and battle over offshore oil there; "The Coming Storm", about climate change, and "The Road To Extrema", about the state and fate of the Amazon rainforest. He's published 14 novels including the Washington Post best-seller, "The Last Spy" and the European best seller, "Black Monday." Writing as Ethan Black, he is the author of the acclaimed Conrad Voort series, five novels about a New York City detective whose ancestors have worked law enforcement in the city since Colonial times.
Bob grew up in New York City and graduated from Northwestern University with a Bachelors degree in Journalism, and from the University of Oregon with an MFA. He says he knew he wanted to be a writer since age 13, when he finished his first novel. “It stank.” Over the next 13 years he papered his bedroom walls with rejection slips from publishers and magazines. His first successful novel, Summer Fires, was published by Simon & Schuster, in 1980. Called a "smashing first novel" by the New York Times, it was about the discovery of a gigantic oil field under the South Bronx.
Bob's journalistic experience began at the age of 19, when he was a copy boy for the Chicago Tribune. "I stole a press pass, made a copy, and put a photo of myself on it. The next summer I got a job in Europe, hitchhiked to Northern Ireland and told the occupying British Troops that I was the Chicago Tribune reporter. I'm not sure why they believed me."
Bob ended up interviewing the British commander, staying with a Bogside family, going out with commandos, being gassed in riots and getting a ride out of Londonderry from an IRA official. The article he wrote, and which ran in the Daily Northwestern, "stupidly ignored my personal experiences, but like perverse journalists everywhere I was hooked on the lifestyle. I'd always loved telling stories, and now I learned I loved travel too. I tried to figure out a way I could combine both for the rest of my life."
Reiss sold his first articles to The Chicago Tribune - a four part investigative series on abandoned housing - when he was a senior at Northwestern.
Reiss has traveled around the world since then and his experiences in places including Antarctica, Sudan, Somalia, South Africa, Alaska, the Amazon rainforest and numerous other remote locations inform both his fiction and non-fiction. He lives in New York City with television producer Wendy Roth.
Reiss says, "This will probably sound corny but if you can't be corny on your own website, where can you do it? I believe you should leave the world better than you found it, and I hope my travels and writing will draw attention to the similarities rather than the differences between people around the world. I hope my work will make readers think about issues and choices they face in everyday life. The more we can put ourselves in the shoes of others, the fewer mistakes we make as a nation, as a people, and as individuals."
Bob pushes the same message when teaching. He taught fiction writing at the Bread Loaf Writers’ Conference at Vermont's Middlebury College for seven years. He has also been a writer in residence at the University of North Carolina in Wilmington four times, and will return in October 2012 to teach creative non-fiction.