About the writer behind this blog site

SHAWN THOMPSON, a.k.a. the intimate ape

I am a 59-year-old writer, traveller and university professor. Since 2001, I have been travelling to Southeast Asia, tromping around the jungle, seeing wonderful sights, interviewing fascinating people. 

In 2010, I published some of that material in The Intimate Ape: Orangutans and the Secret Life of a Vanishing Species, my sixth book. I wrote an online column for Psychology Today magazine about people and apes, until the editors dismissed me for criticizing how they treat their bloggers. Now my interest in Southeast Asia continues, as a member of the board of Gary Shapiro's charitable foundation The Orang Utan Republik. which does grassroots work in Indonesia to change the understanding of orangutans in the country that has most of the wild orangutans. I am also working on more material about orangutans and apes and would like to publish another book on them.

I am also thinking of writing a book about China and its connections to the west, partly because China's new interest outside its borders is likely to become a dominant force in the world and partly for personal reasons, including a partner from Taiwan. I want to take Mandarin lessons and maybe teach in China. 

My background and interests are varied, as you might expect from a kind of mental traveller who worked for 17 years as a newspaper journalist before becoming a university professor (and there are only so many months in the year that I want to spend in the classroom.) My fifth book, from my time as a newspaper reporter, was about prisoners in Canada and the United States, called Letters From Prison: Felons Write about the Struggle for Life and Sanity Behind Bars. The issue of prisons and the creeping loss of freedom in society continues to be a haunting subject for me, a former prison reporter, along with issues of ethics, personal dynamics and introversion/extroversion. 

I teach journalism in British Columbia and live part of the year in Seattle with my girlfriend Wendy and her excellent dog Emo, who are teaching me new ways to appreciate life. 

Life is good, but we have to protect our freedom and our fellow apes.


email: intimateape@hotmail.com 

Facebook: find me and my ape/wildlife network through my email address 

twitter: intimateape 

YouTube: intimate ape