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. He has written and published three books in this genre since 2015. His latest work is Kid on the Go! Memoir of My Childhood and Youth, a humorous and poignant account of his growing up in an industrially-polluted town in Ontario, Canada, and his university years. This memoir is a stand-alone prequel to his first travel memoir Finding Myself in Borneo: Sojourns in Sabah (2019) on 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. This book won the 2019 New Mexico/Arizona Book Award for Biography–Other (than a New Mexico/Arizona subject) and a Bronze Medal in the 2020 Independent Publisher Book Awards (Ippy Awards).
In late 2020, McKee also released Guns and Gods in my Genes: A 15,000-mile North American search through four centuries of history, to the Mayflower—an entertaining account of how he searched for his roots in Canada and the US, in which he employs vivid descriptions, dialog, poetic prose, analytical opinion, photos and illustrations. In this work, McKee slowly uncovers his American grandmother’s lineage—ancestors who were involved in almost every major war on North American soil and others, including a passenger on the Mayflower, as well as heroes, villains, rascals, and ordinary godly folk. Through his search, McKee exposes myths and uncovers facts about the true founding of America.
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 and directed/produced a number of award-winning documentary films/videos, and wrote many articles and books in the field. McKee is now busy writing another travel memoir on his career. He does readings/book signings and presentations with or without photos. He prefers lively interactive sessions.
See interviews, presentations and listen to the podcasts here: https://www.neillmckeeauthor.com/blog.
Title: My University of the World: Adventures of an International Film & Media Maker
Publisher: NBFS Creations, LLC (August 2023)
Neill McKee takes us on an entertaining journey through the developing world from 1970 to 2012. His memoir is filled with compelling dialog, humorous and poignant incidents, thoughts on world development, vivid descriptions of people and places he visited and worked in, and over 200 images (ebook and hardcover in color), all of which bring readers into his “University of the World.” The story starts when he becomes a “one-man film crew,” documenting the lives of Canadian CUSO volunteers working in Asia and Africa as teachers, medical doctors, nurses, engineers, agriculturalists, foresters, technicians, and a biologist.
In 1990, McKee joins UNICEF in Bangladesh, and later in Africa, where he initiates long-lasting multimedia programs for child health, with a focus on empowering girls. In 2001, he moves to Johns Hopkins University, Baltimore, USA, and then to Moscow, Russia, where he oversees similar initiatives. That experience leads him to a memorable last post in Washington, D.C. as director of a large and complex global communication project.
Throughout the short chapters and in a brief epilogue, McKee reflects on the long-term impact of the projects he documented and of his media creations. This is a book for anyone interested in world affairs and development, film and multimedia production, the use of media for behavior and social change, exotic travel, and interesting career choices.
Available for Sale
Title: Kid on the Go!: Memoir of My Childhood and Youth
Publisher: NBFS Creations, LLC (August 16, 2021)
Kid on the Go! is Neill McKee’s third work of creative nonfiction. It’s a standalone prequel to his award-winning Finding Myself in Borneo. In this new book, McKee takes readers on a journey through his childhood, adolescence, and teenage years from the mid-40s to the mid-60s, in the small, then industrially-polluted town of Elmira, Ontario, Canada—one of the centers of production for Agent Orange during the Vietnam War. McKee’s vivid descriptions, dialog, and self-drawn illustrations are a study of how a young boy learned to play and work, fish and hunt, avoid dangers, cope with death, deal with bullies, and to build or restore “escape” vehicles. You may laugh out loud as the author recalls his exploding hormones, attraction to girls, rebellion against authority, and survival of 1960s’ “rock & roll” culture, emerging on the other side as a youth leader. After leaving Elmira, McKee describes his intensely searching university years, trying to decide which career path to follow. Except for a revealing postscript, the story ends when he accepts a volunteer teaching position on the island of Borneo, in Southeast Asia.
Available for Sale
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
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
“Unpacking the Batik Painting” ♦ Ekphrastic Review, 2018