||This biographical article needs additional citations for verification. (March 2007)|
|Born||Siddharth Pico Raghavan Iyer
1957 (age 55–56)
|Notable award(s)||Guggenheim Fellowship, 2005|
|Relative(s)||Raghavan N. Iyer (father, deceased); Nandini Iyer (mother); Hiroko Takeuchi (wife)|
Pico Iyer (born 1957) is a British-born essayist and novelist. He is the author of numerous books on crossing cultures including Video Night in Kathmandu, The Lady and the Monk and The Global Soul. An essayist for Time since 1986, he also publishes regularly in Harper's, The New York Review of Books, The New York Times, and many other publications.
Life and career 
Iyer was born in Oxford, England, the son of Raghavan N. Iyer, an Oxford philosopher and Theosophist, and the religious scholar Nandini Nanak Mehta. His unusual name is a combination of Budha's name- Sidhartha, an Italian Philosopher Giovanni Pico della Mirandola and his caste Iyer. When he was eight, his family moved to California, and for more than a decade he moved back and forth several times a year between schools and college in England and his parents' home in California. He won academic scholarships to Eton, Oxford University and Harvard — graduating with a Congratulatory Double First at Oxford, with the highest marks in the university [see official bio from Alfred A. Knopf publishers, or program for Dalai Lama appearance at New York Town Hall, May 2009]— and taught writing and literature at Harvard before joining Time in 1982 as a writer on world affairs. Since then he has traveled widely, from North Korea to Easter Island, and from Paraguay to Ethiopia, while writing eight works of non-fiction and two novels, and basing himself in Japan, where he lives with his Japanese wife, Hiroko Takeuchi, the "Lady" of his third book, and her two children from an earlier marriage.
Asked if he feels rooted and accepted as a foreigner (regarding his current life in Japan) Iyer replies:
"Japan is therefore an ideal place because I never will be a true citizen here, and will always be an outsider, however long I live here and however well I speak the language. And the society around me is as comfortable with that as I am… I am not rooted in a place, I think, so much as in certain values and affiliations and friendships that I carry everywhere I go; my home is both invisible and portable. But I would gladly stay in this physical location for the rest of my life, and there is nothing in life that I want that it doesn’t have."
In his essay on dreaming in the New York Review of Books (21 March 2013) he also comments (regarding Paris):
"I went there in life not long ago, to try to chase the connection down, but of course my search yielded nothing. Why, as I keep revisiting Paris in the night hours, do I very rarely see Santa Barbara, where I’ve been officially resident for almost fifty years? In my dreams, when it does appear, it’s simply a wilderness, a blank space in the hills next to which I stay, through which some cars are edging, tentative and lost."
Having grown up a part of — and apart from — English, American and Indian cultures, he became one of the first writers to take the international airport itself as his subject, along with the associated jet lag, displacement and cultural minglings. He writes often of his delight in living between the cracks and outside fixed categories. Most of his books have been about trying to see from within some society or way of life — revolutionary Cuba, Sufism, Buddhist Kyoto, even global disorientation — but from the larger perspective an outsider can sometimes bring. "I am simply a fairly typical product of a movable sensibility," he wrote in 1993 in Harper's, "living and working in a world that is itself increasingly small and increasingly mongrel. I am a multinational soul on a multinational globe on which more and more countries are as polyglot and restless as airports. Taking planes seems as natural to me as picking up the phone or going to school; I fold up my self and carry it around as if it were an overnight bag."
Iyer has written numerous pieces on world affairs for Time, including 10 cover stories, and the "Woman of the Year" story on Corazon Aquino in 1986. He has written on literature for The New York Review of Books; on globalism for Harper's; on travel for the Financial Times; and on many other themes for The New York Times, National Geographic, The Times Literary Supplement, contributing up to a hundred articles a year to various publications. He has contributed liner-notes for four Leonard Cohen albums. His books have appeared in languages such as Turkish, Russian, and Indonesian, and he has written introductions to more than 40 books, including works by Somerset Maugham, Graham Greene, Michael Ondaatje, Peter Matthiessen, and Isamu Noguchi. He also writes regularly on sport, film, and religion — and especially on the places where mysticism and globalism converge. He is also well versed in Japanese culture, language and poetry, as is evident from his book "Lady and The Monk".
He has appeared seven times in the annual Best Spiritual Writing anthology, and three times in the annual Best American Travel Writing anthology, and has served as guest-editor for both. He has also appeared in the Best American Essays anthology.
Iyer's writing goes back and forth between the monastery and the airport — "Thomas Merton on a frequent flier pass," as the Indian writer Pradeep Sebastian has written — and aims, perhaps, to bring new global energies and possibilities into non-fiction. The Utne Reader named him in 1995 as one of 100 Visionaries worldwide who could change your life, while the New Yorker observed that "As a guide to far-flung places, Pico Iyer can hardly be surpassed."
- The Recovery of Innocence. (London: Concord Grove Press, July 1984. ISBN 0-88695-019-8) A collection of essays about American literature, described on its cover as offering "Literary glimpses of the American dream". The lists of publications in Iyer's later books do not mention this book, which is not common; the Library of Congress has a copy.
- Video Night in Kathmandu: And Other Reports from the Not-so-Far East (April 1988, hardback, July 1989; paperback) / ISBN 0-679-72216-5
- The Lady and the Monk: Four Seasons in Kyoto (August 1991 / ISBN 0-679-40308-6; September 1991, hardback, October 1992; paperback / ISBN 0-679-73834-7)
- Falling off the Map: Some Lonely Places of the World (April 1993 hardback, May 1994 paperback / ISBN 0-679-74612-9)
- Cuba and the Night (April 1995 hardback, April 1996 paperback / ISBN 0-517-17267-4)
- Tropical Classical: Essays From Several Directions. (New York: Knopf, May 1997. ISBN 0-679-45432-2 (hardback). Penguin, 1997. ISBN 0-14-027119-8 (paperback). Vintage, June 1998. ISBN 0-679-77610-9 (paperback)) - Book reviews and essays on places, people, and other matters.
- The Global Soul: Jet Lag, Shopping Malls, & the Search for Home (February 2000 hardback, April 2001 paperback / ISBN 0-679-45433-0)
- Imagining Canada: An Outsider's Hope for a Global Future (January 2001 / ISBN 0-9694382-1-4) - First Hart House lecture: full transcript
- Abandon: A Romance (February 2003 hardback, April 2004 paperback / ISBN 1-4000-3085-4)
- Sun after Dark: Flights into the Foreign (April 2004 paperback, April 2005 hardback / ISBN 0-375-41506-8)
- The Open Road: The Global Journey of the Fourteenth Dalai Lama (March 2008 hardback / ISBN 0-307-26760-1)
- The Man Within My Head (January 2012 hardback / ISBN 978-0-307-26761-0)
Selected introductions 
- Graham Greene, The Complete Stories
- Peter Matthiessen, The Snow Leopard
- Somerset Maugham, The Skeptical Romancer (editor/writer of introduction)
- R.K. Narayan, A Tiger for Malgudi and The Man-Eater of Malgudi
- Michael Ondaatje, The English Patient
- Hermann Hesse, Siddhartha. (Peter Owen Publishers in London brought this out in August 2012)
- Arto Paasilinna, The Year of the Hare
- Frederick Prokosch, The Asiatics
- Donald Richie, The Inland Sea
- Nicolas Rothwell, Wings of the Kite-Hawk
- Huston Smith, Tales of Wonder
- Lawrence Weschler, A Wanderer in the Perfect City
- Natsume Soseki, The Gate
- University of California: In Memoriam, Raghavan Iyer, 1995
- Rukun Advani, "Mahatma for Sale", The Hindu, 27 April 2003
- Iyer 2008, pg. 274
- Brenner, Angie; "Global Writer, Heart & Soul - Interview with Pico Iyer", Wild River Review, November 19, 2007.
- April 1993 issue of Harper's.
- List of articles in Time
- Pico Iyer (1987-01-05). "Corazon Aquino". Time Magazine. Retrieved 2008-03-26.
- program for Dalai Lama appearance at New York Town Hall, May 2009
- Full listing at picoiyerjourneys.com - about
- volumes for 1999, 2000, 2004, 2006, 2008, 2010, 2011, 2012
- volumes for 2001, 2006, 2012
- Best American Travel Writing 2004; Best Spiritual Writing 2010
- 2011 edition
- The Hindu, 7 November 2006.
- Utne Reader, January/February 1995.
- The New Yorker, May 1997 issue on Indian writing, "Briefly Noted".[page needed]
- Hertzberg, Andrew; "The Greene Album: A Review of The Man Within My Head", Frontier Psychiatrist, 8 May 2012.
- Iyer, Pico. The Open Road: The Global Journey of the Fourteenth Dalai Lama (2008) Bloomsbury. ISBN 978-0-307-26760-3
- Time Article: Sounds of Silence
- "Writing Undoes Me" - Article in Shambhala Sun Magazine
- "No Escape, Not Even to Kyoto" Published in The Walrus magazine
- Iyer author page and archive from The New York Review of Books
- "Why We Travel" a travel essay published in 2000 at Salon.com
- "Singapore lets its hair down" published in 2011 for The Australian
- Interview with Charlie Rose. Author Pico Iyer on his book about Graham Greene called "The Man Within My Head" 8 February 2012
- An interview with Pico Iyer at Notebook on Cities and Culture
- Video Interview: The Global Journey of the Fourteenth Dalai Lama at LIVE from the New York Public Library, 11 April 2008
- scottlondon.com: interview and audio clip
- rolfpotts.com: interview
- powells.com: interview
- salon.com: interview
- "Global Imagination" an interview with ascent magazine.
- "The Kamla Show" an interview with Kamla Bhatt.
- 2009 Half-Hour TV Interview on The Creative Community
- Audio interview with Pico Iyer on The Man Within My Head, February 2012