At a National Committee public program on May 19, author Michael Meyer discussed living in one of Beijing’s oldest hutongs, a traditional alleyway neighborhood which defined the city’s layout for centuries. Mr. Meyer’s first book, The Last Days of Old Beijing, chronicles the destruction of many of these neighborhoods as the city was redesigned for the 2008 Summer Olympics.
Michael Meyer initially went to China in 1995 as a Peace Corps volunteer. His first book, The Last Days of Old Beijing: Life in the Vanishing Backstreets of a City Transformed, details the capital’s oldest neighborhood as the city remade itself for the 2008 Olympics. A Guggenheim Fellow and Lowell Thomas Award winner for travel writing, Mr. Meyer has published pieces in The New York Times Book Review, Time, Smithsonian, The Financial Times, Sports Illustrated, The Chicago Tribune, and The Los Angeles Times. In 2009, Mr. Meyer received the Whiting Writers’ Award. He is currently in residence at the New York Public Library’s Cullman Center for Scholars & Writers.