Neill McKee


Memoir, Adventure Travel, History, International Themes, Asian Languages and Cultures, Volunteering, International Development, Film Making, Media Production, Ecology and Environment


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Neill McKee is a creative nonfiction writer based in Albuquerque, New Mexico. His first travel memoir Finding Myself in Borneo: Sojourns in Sabah won the 2019 New Mexico/Arizona Book Award for Biography–Other (than a New Mexico/Arizona subject), and also won an honorable mention in the Reader’s Favorite International Book Award Contest (2019). Finding Myself in Borneo went on to win a Bronze Medal in the 2020 Independent Publisher Book Awards (Ippy Awards) in the non-fiction regional category for the Pacific Rim, including Australia and New Zealand.

McKee’s book is about his first overseas adventures in Sabah, Malaysia (North Borneo), where he served as a Canadian volunteer teacher and program administrator during 1968-70 and 1973-74. McKee, who holds a B.A. Degree from the University of Calgary and a Masters in Communication from Florida State University, lived and worked in Asia, Africa, Russia and traveled to over 80 countries on assignments during his 45-year international career. He became an expert in communication for behavior and social change. McKee directed and produced a number of award-winning documentary films/videos, and animated films, and wrote a large number of articles, books, and manuals in the field of communication for international development.

McKee is busy creating two other memoirs, at present: a humorous and poignant one on his childhood and youth in a chemically-polluted Ontario, Canada small town, and another on a 13,000-mile, 400-year search for the stories of his ancestors in North America, during which he met distant cousins, historians, and interesting characters to discuss the times and conflicts through which his blood relatives lived. The journey ends at Plymouth Plantation and the Mayflower.

McKee does readings/book signings and presentations with or without photos. He prefers lively interactive sessions.

Listen to the podcast of a February 19, 2020 interview on KSJE 90.9 FM:


Title: Guns and Gods in My Genes: A 15,000-mile North American search through four centuries of history, to the Mayflower
Publisher: NBFS Creations, LLC (2020)
Genre: Travel Memoir

Neill McKee, author of the award-winning travel memoir Finding Myself in Borneo, takes the reader through 400 years and 15,000 miles of an on-the-road adventure, discovering stories of his Scots-Irish ancestors in Canada, while uncovering their attitudes towards religion and guns. His adventure turns south and west as he follows the trail of his maternal grandfather, a Canadian preacher who married an American woman in Wisconsin, and braved the American Wild West. Much to his surprise, McKee finds his American ancestors were involved in every major conflict on North American soil: the Civil War, the American Revolution, and the French and Indian War. In the last chapters, McKee discovers and documents his Pilgrim ancestors who arrived on the Mayflower, landing at Plymouth in 1620, and their Puritan descendants who fought in the early Indian Wars of New England. With the help of professional genealogical research, he tracks down and tells the stories of the heroes, villains, rascals, as well as, the godly and ordinary folk in his genes, discovering many facts and exposing myths. He also lets readers in on a personal struggle: whether to apply for Canadian-United States dual citizenship or remain only a Canadian.

Available for Sale

Organic Books

Title: Finding Myself in Borneo: Sojourns in Sabah
Publisher: NBFS Creations, LLC (2019)
Genre: Travel Memoir

An honest and buoyant chronicle of a young Canadian man’s adventures during 1968-70, while teaching secondary school as a volunteer in Sabah, Malaysia (North Borneo). Travel with Neill McKee on his unique journey through vibrant Asian cultures as he learns the craft of teaching, the Malay language and local customs, and gains many friends in his small community. He climbs the highest peak in Southeast Asia—Mount Kinabalu, has a love affair, and navigates Borneo’s backwaters to make his first of many documentary films. He takes hilarious motorcycle journeys in Sabah with his American Peace Corps buddy, making a hallucinogenic discovery—North Borneo is, indeed, J. R. R. Tolkien’s famed Middle-Earth of The Lord of the Rings! McKee’s many return trips to Sabah offer the reader the opportunity to match the early anecdotes to what in fact happened to the land and people who touched his life, and he theirs.

Available for Sale

Paperback & Ebook


Unpacking the Batik Painting” ♦ Ekphrastic Review, 2018

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