Alec Wilkinson (b. 1952 - ) is a writer who has been on the staff of The New Yorker since 1980. According to The Philadelphia Inquirer he is among the "first rank of" contemporary American (20th and early 21st century) "literary journalists...(reminiscent) of Naipaul, Norman Mailer and Agee." He is the author of ten books: "Midnights," (1982), "Moonshine," (1985), "Big Sugar," (1989), "The Riverkeeper," (1981), "A Violent Act, (1993), "My Mentor," (2002), "Mr. Apology," (2003), "The Happiest Man in the World," (2007), the latter about Poppa Neutrino, the only man to cross the Atlantic in a raft made of trash, and "The Protest Singer: An Intimate Portrait of Pete Seeger," (2009). His most recent book is "The Ice Balloon," (2012), the account of the Swedish visionary aeronaut S.A. Andree's attempt, in 1897, to discover the North Pole by flying to it in a hydrogen balloon. Before Wilkinson was a writer, he was a policeman in Wellfleet, Massachusetts, on Cape Cod, which is the subject of "Midnights," and before that he was a rock and roll musician, playing in a number of bands, including one in Berkeley, California with Tony Garnier, Bob Dylan's longtime bass player and bandleader. Wilkinson began writing when he was twenty-four, showing work to William Maxwell, his father's friend, who in addition to being a novelist and short-story writer, had for forty years been an editor of fiction at The New Yorker. They worked together closely for years. Maxwell died in July 2000. "My Mentor" describes their friendship. Wilkinson's honors include a Lyndhurst Prize, a Robert F. Kennedy Book Award and a Guggenheim fellowship. He is married, has a son, and lives in New York City. He is also the brother of Leland Wilkinson.