“Writer, editor, book and film critic, foodie, traveler – Bill Thompson is a Renaissance man. Thompson has harnessed his many talents to write a book that inspires the reader to make the time to travel. To open one’s mind and soul to new ideas and experiences. Why Travel? includes descriptions, history, advice, wisdom, and most of all, the voice of experience. It’s not merely a travel guide—it’s a guide to life. A must read – even if you’re an armchair traveler.”
—Mary Alice Monroe, best-selling author of “The Beach House” series and “The Book Club.”
Photograph by Jonathan Boncek
Book cover by Keith McGraw
"Bill Thompson has an insatiable wanderlust. He has traveled to near and mostly far-away places with some strange-sounding names and written about them. Charlestonians learned the art of travel from Bill long before there were bucket lists to fulfill and multiple travel offers to consider. Bill is motivated by curiosity and driven by wonder and is able to turn those impulses into words and photographs that sent Charlestonians, who are notably loathe to believe there is anywhere else but their Holy City worth seeing, out into the world for the first time. His new book Why Travel? answers itself. And it also leads readers of this world traveler into his world. It is a fascinating place." -- Robert Cox, former editor-in-chief of the Buenos Aires Herald.
“As an arts and travel writer, book review editor and author, Bill Thompson’s experience and range of expertise is invaluable to me. He writes with verve, clear authority and knowledge.” – Nathalie Dupree, James Beard Award-winning author and TV host.
“The wider the puddle of commentary, blogging and tweeting spreads across the American mediascape, the shallower grows the insight from which all worthy writing springs. Me? I’ll put my money on Bill Thompson’s bucket, drawing from a well saturated by his decades of curiosity, research and critical thinking on literature, cinema, culture, sports and world travel.” – Gary Smith, author of Beyond the Game and retired senior writer with Sports Illustrated.
“Travel is always something we've wanted to do more of … when the children are older, when we retire, etc. But Bill Thompson's Why Travel? makes me feel a sense of urgency. It’s not just a want; travel is a need for adventurous, contemplative or creative spirits. Bill’s photographs alone have me packing our bags.” – Nicole Seitz, author of The Cage-maker.
“Bill Thompson is a thoughtful and insightful writer. Whether it’s a review or a travel piece, his writing is always informative, engaging and thought provoking. Readers learn a lot reading Bill’s work, but they are so entertained in the process that they don't even realize it!” – Marjory Wentworth, author and South Carolina Poet Laureate.
“Bill Thompson’s passion for travel and his love of good books are matched, thankfully, by his ability to express that enthusiasm in well-crafted paragraphs that bring his subjects to sparkling life. Read a book review by Thompson and try to keep away from the bookstore. Read a travel story and try to avoid a series of quick Google entries. You can’t do it.” – Adam Parker, Arts & Culture editor, Book Page Editor of The Post and Courier of Charleston.
The Art of Travel
"Art and Craft: Thirty Years on the Literary Beat"
By Bill Thompson
Foreword by Josephine Humphreys
"…Thompson's own literary style is as smooth and inviting as that of many of the authors he has written about."—Free Times
"These hand-picked essays… are literary gems in their own right."—Charleston Style & Design Magazine
"Taken one by one, the pieces in Bill Thompson's first collection spotlight his matchless gifts: an active, fluent intelligence; a talent for listening and taking artists on their own terms; and a scope that honors both the local and far-flung. Together, they conjure up the Thompson era, a golden thirty-year span when each week brought a fresh bulletin from the cultural front."—Catherine Holmes, College of Charleston
"Bill Thompson has for what seems forever been the Lowcountry's chronicler of books, good and bad, big and small, and this book bears testament to the great good work on behalf of the word he's been doing all these decades. This is a terrific compendium of publishing history and criticism, not to mention a joy to read!"—Bret Lott, College of Charleston
"From fiction and biography to books about travel, history, crime, television, the Charleston Renaissance, the environment—his range is wide. What's more, the essays are just plain fun to read. Bookstores may have come and gone, and the publishing industry is in a state of panic. But we are a strong writing community today, thanks in no small measure to the Thompson era."—Josephine Humphreys, from the foreword
Consider this an Online Media Kit, of sorts. After 45 years of writing about other people, here are a few people writing about me, along with some radio and TV interviews. It's been quite a different sensation going from observer to observed.
Also included among the links is a recent interview on the podcast Literary Latte and a Facebook video of a recent interview I conducted with novelist Nicole Seitz at the Pat Conroy Literary Center in Beaufort, S.C.
Literary Latte with Lynda Bouchard (podcast)
Walter Edgar's Journal (National Public Radio)
The Charlotte Observer
The Free Times
The Post and Courier
The Charleston City Paper
Charleston Style & Design
Zsa Zsa Bellagio (blog)
Video interview with novelist Nichole Seitz
I have always yearned to discover
what was around the next corner,
over the next rise or across a great
expanse of sea. It is a passion for
travel that has never dimmed,
embracing 40 years of experiences
domestic and far-flung. And it is
through travel – in its varied forms –
that I feed my other passions: urban
adventuring, mountain hiking, art, film,
books, music and international cuisines.
Professionally, I am a free-lance writer
and author, with more than 70
published travel articles to my credit.
I also contribute reviews and articles to
the national publications Kirkus Reviews
and Charleston Style and Design as
well as other periodicals and newspapers.
From 1980 to 2012, I worked variously
as a travel writer and editor, film critic
and columnist, book review editor and
arts writer for The Post and Courier of
Charleston, S.C. A North Carolina native
and graduate of the University of North
Carolina at Chapel Hill, I spent my first
nine years in journalism as a sportswriter
and music columnist. Apart from travel,
my interests are wide-ranging, from
landscape and architectural photography
to found-object sculpture, snorkeling,
museum crawling and arts festivals.