Biography

Laurie Gwen Shapiro

Writer and filmmaker Laurie Gwen Shapiro's childhood in Manhattan's Lower East Side colors everything she creates.

Despite its cheeky title, her first (and largely autobiographical) novel, written in her twenties, THE UNEXPECTED SALAMI (1998, Algonquin), was critically acclaimed, and was an American Library Association notable book. The book is currently in development as a major motion picture, to be directed by Alan White (Risk, Erskineville Kings).

THE MATZO BALL HEIRESS (2004) is Shapiro's first novel for Red Dress Ink.

Shapiro codirected and coproduced the 2001 theatrical documentary about octogenarian New Yorker Tobias Schneebaum, Keep the River on Your Right: A Modern Cannibal Tale, with her brother David Shapiro. Together they were the recipients of over 10 major awards, including the Independent Spirit Award for best new documentary directors.

With New York City sergeant Conor McCourt, she also coproduced two HBO/Cinemax documentaries about her former Stuyvesant High School English teacher Frank McCourt and his three brothers — The McCourts of Limerick (1999) and The McCourts of New York (2000).

Her first play, Inventing Color, premiered at the 2002 New York International Fringe Festival. It was awarded one of three "Best in Festival" citations by Stagepress.

She was recently a phone-a-friend on Who Wants to Be a Millionaire? and much to her relief, anted up the right answer for her best high-school pal.

A notorious klutz and recovering eBay-aholic, Shapiro's back again living in the Lower East Side with her Aussie post-college vacation fling, now her husband and father to her toddler girl.

Laurie Gwen Shapiro

Books by Laurie Gwen Shapiro

by Laurie Gwen Shapiro - Adventure, History, Nature, Nonfiction

It was 1928: a time of illicit booze, of Gatsby and Babe Ruth, of freewheeling fun. The Great War was over and American optimism was higher than the stock market. What better moment to launch an expedition to Antarctica, the planet’s final frontier? This was the moon landing before the 1960s. Everyone wanted to join the adventure. Rockefellers and Vanderbilts begged to be taken along as mess boys, and newspapers across the globe covered the planning’s every stage. The night before the expedition’s flagship launched, Billy Gawronski --- a skinny, first generation New York City high schooler desperate to escape a dreary future in the family upholstery business --- jumped into the Hudson River and snuck aboard. Could he get away with it?