Freelance Writer, Editor and Photographer and Lecturer
Michael Luongo, photo by Ingrid Breyer
From partying with bikini-clad models on South America's most glamorous beaches to visiting Bin Laden's Tora Bora caves with Afghan warlords who talk of opening amusement parks in the area, to poignant interviews in war-torn Baghdad, I can pretty much say my travel writing and photography career has been out of the ordinary.
My name is Michael Luongo. Thanks for visiting my website to learn more about me.
I am an award winning New York and Ann Arbor, Michigan based freelance writer, novelist, editor and photographer, concentrating on travel, culture, human rights and other topics. Click on the various pages in this website to learn more about my articles, books, classes, photography lectures and other projects....and where in the world I've been to lately. With experiences in nearly 100 countries and all 7 continents, well, I could be just about anywhere now.......
My Byline has appeared in numerous publications, including The New York Times, Penthouse, Smithsonian Magazine, CNN, Bloomberg News, National Geographic Traveler, Christian Science Monitor, Conde Nast Traveler, Travel+Leisure.com, Gay City News, Global Post, Out Traveler, Out, The Irish Times, The Nation, Saturday Evening Post, The Jewish Daily Forward, Perfil, The Daily Beast, The Arab-American Monitor, The New York Post, American Way, Xtra and many other publications and websites.
I am also the author or editor of 16 books, primarily on travel topics.
I have recently finished the Knight Wallace Journalism Fellowship at the University of Michigan, in the class of 2016, where my research focused on the role travel journalism plays in tourism redevelopment in conflict zones and urban areas in transition. After, I taught the undergraduate course Art of the Essay at the University of Michigan's English Department Writing Program. I am on my way now to teach English essay writing for the University of Michigan on our Shanghai, China Campus, where we run a joint program with Jiao Tong University. More details on the program are here. My University of Michigan email is firstname.lastname@example.org.
Events and classes and more.....
I will be running the Middle East and North Africa panel at the New York Times Travel Show at the Javits Center in New York, on Friday January 26 from 2:45pm to 3:45pm. Want to learn more about travel to the Middle East, with experts from the region? Here are more details!
During the show, I will also be speaking with YouTube personality Davey Wavey for the LGBT Travel panel, and giving out expert advice on Argentina and the Middle East during expert table sessions.
Here is my full New York Times Travel Show Schedule with links:
New York University Global Traveler Travel Writing Workshop
While I have been teaching in Michigan, my New York University class The Global Traveler has been on hiatus. Stay tuned for updates!
Speaking Engagements and Expertise
Looking for a travel expert? I am available for radio and television commentary, panel presentations, speeches, conducting photo lectures and presentations on a multitude of travel destinations. Peruse the pages of this website where my photos, links to articles, reviews and descriptions of my books, and other items will give you many ideas for conference speeches, media consultations, book editing consulting and idea gathering and other projects for which I may be of help.
I am also a frequent lecturer on the university circuit speaking on travel, human rights, LGBT issues and many other topics. How can I help your students be the best they can be, and engage them with topics important to today's world?
The Springsteen Paradox by Michael Luongo for CNN Opinion
The election of Donald Trump is a major news topic of today, and Michigan played an important role. Here for CNN Opinion, with my background as someone from Bruce Springsteen's town, Freehold, NJ, is a piece looking at a variety of underreported issues today for the working class and how those played into the November surprise.
Some of my recent and most popular books:
The controversial Gay Travels in the Muslim World, released by Haworth Press in 2007 and now published by Routledge/Taylor Francis. It is the first gay American book ever translated into and published in Arabic.
One of my lectures was taped for airing on C-Span's BookTV. The one hour and seven minute program includes a Q&A with the audience. If you have been unable to catch me live, this is a good way to see what this controversial and thought provoking book is all about. It was also the first gay themed American book ever translated and published into Arabic.
IGLTA International Gay and Lesbian Travel Association
2012 Travel Writer Award
The IGLTA gave me the Travel Writer award at its annual convention in Florianopolis, Brazil in April 2012. This is the first time in its decades long history that the organization ever gave an award to a writer or journalist. The award was bestowed based on my pioneering work looking at LGBT travel and LGBT human rights issues largely in the Middle East and Latin America, beginning at a time long before others had been looking at the region.
ASJA American Society of Journalists and Authors 2011 (given in 2012) Honorable Mention: Investigative Award
I received honorable mention in the Investigative Article category from the ASJA for my New York Times article "At a Hotel on Business? Be on Alert, Too" The article examined safety for business travelers, particularly women travelers, using the Dominique Strauss Kahn incident as a starting talking point. It looked at historical rapes and other violence which caused changes in the hotel industry.
I myself was surprised when I received these awards in early 2011, and it was largely for looking at tourism in conflict zones - Iraq and other parts of the Middle East, including Syria, Palestine and Lebanon especially for material written for Bloomberg's no longer existing Muse division where I could bridge the worlds of tourism, economics and current events in a way no other publication has ever allowed me to do. These are places I have long recommended travelers visit. It is nice to see the work recognized, even if to so many editors out there it still remains a verboten topic for articles, in spite of clear reader interest. This work became a major reason why I ultimately researched tourism redevelopment in conflict zones at the University of Michigan Knight Wallace Journalism Fellowship.
SATW - Society of American Travel Writers - Thomas Lowell Bronze Award for Investigative Travel Journalism My New York Times article "Carrying Several Passports? It's Not Just For Spies," from January 2009 won the Bronze Thomas Lowell Award of the SATW for investigative travel journalism. The article looks at dual nationals who travel with multiple passports as a safety precaution in an age of terrorism and to facilitate business travel. Here's the link to the article: http://www.nytimes.com/2009/01/20/business/20dual.html
SPJ - Society of Professional Journalists - Award New York Chapter Deadline Club
NLGJA - National Lesbian and Gay Journalists Award (2008) Feature Writing - 1st Place
In a ceremony on May 15, my writing received an award from the Society of Professional Journalists - New York Deadline Club in the category "Reporting, Circulation Under 100,000" for my November 2007 article for Gay City News on gay life in Iraq.
From the judges' decision......"The judges called "Our Man in Baghdad" a riveting read, saying the story details the harrowing task of survival, not only in a war zone but also as an outsider in one's own culture. A thorough, well-researched and compelling article on a most timely topic."
Travel Talk Radio with Sandy Dhuyvetter Here's a link to a talk I gave with Sandy Dhuyvetter of Travel Talk Radio, talking about my recent NATJA awards, the current uprisings in the Middle East and their impact on tourism, and what it is like to live in Argentina.
City Traveler with Robert DiGiacomo Here's a link to a profile and Q&A with Robert DiGiacomo interviewing me about living in Buenos Aires, my Evita fetish, tango, and whether Buenos Aires is really a bargain anymore for travelers.
Frommer's Buenos Aires Fourth Edition Book Party - A Night of Wine and Tango On Wednesday, December 7, 2011, the Argentine Consulate in New York hosted a party for the Frommer's Buenos Aires, Fourth Edition. Nearly 300 people attended this glamorous gala, traditionally among the largest book parties ever held in New York City. The crowd drank Argentine wine and watched tango couples perform during the 3 hour event. This book party, the fourth time we held it, has been covered by media as diverse as New York Post's Page 6 gossip pages, Publisher's Weekly, Travel Weekly, Media Bistro and other publications as one of the most important travel media events in New York's busy holiday season. It has sometimes had over 500 people in attendance!
BOSTON - HARVARD UNIVERSITY - Tuesday, April 12, 2011 6:30pm to 8pm LGBTQ Human Rights in Iraq Human Rights and Social Movements Program Global Queer Series Carr Center for Human Rights Policy Allison Dining Room - Taubman Building, Floor 5 Harvard Kennedy School of Government 79 John F. Kennedy Street Cambridge, Massachusetts 02138 (+1-617-495-1100) http://www.hks.harvard.edu/cchrp/hrsm/programs/events/2011/QueerSeriesSched.php#mtg05 I will be discussing my writing on the killings of gay men in Baghdad and other parts of Iraq, along with how the gay community within Baghdad mobilizes in the face of adversity during the ongoing Iraq war and sectarian violence. The lecture will include slides from a gay safehouse, a gay cafe, Sadr City and other sites associated with gay life and gay death in Iraq, much of which was taken during my research for the 2010 Gay City News article "Return to Baghdad" based on 6 weeks within Iraq.
The New York Times Travel Section, quoted Sunday, August 2, 2009 It's no secret that I have been writing for the New York Times for more than 6 years, but for the very first time, I was recently interviewed and quoted as an editor/author. New York Times writer Patrick Healy recently returned from Beirut to write about the gay scene, and interviewed me for the article in reference to Gay Travels in the Muslim World and its recent translation into Arabic by Beirut publisher Arab Diffusion. read more here: http://travel.nytimes.com/2009/08/02/travel/02gaybeirut.html
The Travel with Rick Steve's Radio Show "Outsiders in the Muslim World" Originally aired Saturday, August 30, 2008 to be repeated September 19, 2009 as a Ramadan special http://www.ricksteves.com/radio/archive.htm#recent Travel guru Rick Steve recently interviewed me on his radio show. The show paired me talking about my book Gay Travels in the Muslim World with Maliha Masood who wrote Zataar Days, Henna Nights, her memoir of traveling as a woman through the Middle East. This show remains archived on the Rick Steve's website, and is to be repeated the weekend of September 19, 2009 as an end of Ramadan special.
NEW YORK CITY - QUEENS - Saturday April 9, 2011, 2pm-3pm Jewish Sites in the Middle East Photo Lecture - Iraq, Morocco, Lebanon, Afghanistan, Egypt and other countries. The Queens Public Library, Flushing Saturday April 9, 2011, 2:00pm
41-17 Main Street (between 41st Road and 41st Avenue, near Kissena Boulevard)
Flushing (Queens) New York 11355
phone: 718-661-1229 This Event is Free. I will be presenting a photo lecture on Jewish historical sites Middle Eastern countries. We'll look at synaogues, markets, schools and other sites throughout the region, touching on the complex history of Judaism, Islam, Christianity in the region.
NEW YORK CITY - QUEENS Middle East Photo Lecture - Iraq, Syria, Lebanon, Jordan and other destinations. The Queens Public Library, Flushing Saturday March 13, 2010, 2:30pm
41-17 Main Street (between 41st Road and 41st Avenue, near Kissena Boulevard) Flushing (Queens) New York 11355 phone: 718-661-1229 This Event is Free. Photo lecture on various Middle Eastern countries focusing on Hidden Middle East - the focus will be on sites in Iraq, Syria, and Lebanon, as well as touching on Jordan, Israel and Egypt. If you have ever been curious about what it is like to visit Babylon, Balbeck, Byblos or Palmyra, this will be an eye-opening lecture.
WASHINGTON DC The Smithsonian Institution Travel Photography Lecture Wednesday, November 18, 2009 7pm to 9pm The Smithsonian S. Dillon Ripley Center 1100 Jefferson Drive, SW (near 12th Street, SW) (this location is on the Mall next to the Smithsonian Castle) Metro: Smithsonian Mall Exit (Blue/Orange)
A fascinating look at how to be a better travel photographer, this was a sold out event at the Smithsonian.
Smithsonianian Institution Slideshow Lecture on Buenos Aires Thursday July 17, 2009
Harvard Club Photo Lecture on Iraq Recent speaking engagements and events have included a groundbreaking photo lecture on Kurdistan and Iraq held at the Harvard Club in New York City on January 29th, 2008. This was the first photo presentation ever to present Iraq's northern region as a viable tourism destination for Americans. More details are at http://hcny.com/cgis/ev_day.pl?Date=1/29/2008&Detail=1