Pico Iyer is a Distinguished Presidential Fellow at Chapman University. Since 1986, he has been an essayist for Time magazine. He has been a frequent contributor to The New York Review of Books since 1995, for which he has written on literature, global culture, religion, China, and Tibet. He is also a contributor to The New York Times, Harper&rdsq;s Magazine, the Financial Times, and National Geographic, among others.

Iyer is the author of ten books, including The Open Road (Alfred A. Knopf, 2008), an examination of the XIVth Dalai Lama that draws upon thirty-four years of talks and travels; and The Man Within My Head (Alfred A. Knopf, 2012), on Graham Greene, hauntedness, and fatherhood.

Iyer studied at Eton, Oxford, and Harvard. He was born in Oxford, England to parents from India and grew up in England and California. For the past twenty years, he has been based in rural Japan.

Last Updated: April 3, 2014

On the Sacred Mountain

Pico Iyer from New York Review of Books
A powerful, unexpected scene suddenly surfaces near the beginning of Colin Thubron’s characteristically beautiful, though uncharacteristically haunted, new book of travel. As he walks through the mountains of Nepal, toward the holy peak of Mount...

‘A Hell on Earth’

Pico Iyer from New York Review of Books
“The situation inside Tibet is almost like a military occupation,” I heard the Dalai Lama tell an interviewer last November, when I spent a week traveling with him across Japan. “Everywhere. Everywhere, fear, terror. I cannot remain indifferent.”...

On the Road

Pico Iyer from New York Review of Books
Books that “follow in the steps of” a well-known traveler are more and more ubiquitous these days, but many of them are slightly suspect. Following in the footsteps of some distinguished predecessor can look a little like a gesture of defeat,...

Room at the Top

Pico Iyer from New York Review of Books
The last time I was in the Himalayas, I met a young, highly Westernized Tibetan who, misled perhaps by my Indian features (born in England, I’ve never lived in the subcontinent), started talking to me about the strange ways of the exotic foreigners...

Lost Horizons

Pico Iyer from New York Review of Books
Tibet has always cast a dangerously strong spell upon visitors from abroad. When the first major European expedition marched on Lhasa in 1904, led by Colonel Younghusband at the behest of his old friend Lord Curzon, it ended up slaughtering in just...