Maker We Love: Brian O'Neill

Meet the author who captured the essence of Pittsburgh in his book, The Paris of Appalachia.  Learn more about Brian and how Pittsburgh inspired him to share his account of the city where he enjoyed a long career in journalism.

Maker:

Brian O’Neill is the author of “The Paris of Appalachia: Pittsburgh in the Twenty-first Century,’’ and a retired columnist for the Pittsburgh Post-Gazette and The Pittsburgh Press.

Neighborhood:

I live on the North Side, more specifically Allegheny West. It’s Pittsburgh’s smallest neighborhood. We really ought to call it Over By The Community College because that’s what we inevitably say when people ask us where it is.

 

Tell us about your brand and why it’s the best:

“The Paris of Appalachia’’ is more a biography of a place than a history. It gets to Pittsburgh’s singular personality.  I tell its story from the ground up, talking to the people of this small town that plays a big city on TV. “Paris’’ is now in its sixth or seventh printing since 2009, so I believe I found the right people to tell our story.


What is your background and the story behind why you started creating?

I grew up on Long Island and, after graduating from Syracuse University with a degree in English and journalism, spent a decade with Virginia newspapers, mostly in the Appalachian foothills around Roanoke. When I moved to Pittsburgh in 1988, I found all that I missed about New York – professionals sports, live theater, corner bars and people who understand that St. Patrick’s Day is a holiday – coupled with the same sort of easy, sensible pace of life that I enjoyed in Roanoke. I wrote the book to celebrate this third bear of cities: not too hard, not too soft, not too big, not too small – just right.


What one product do we need to know about and why?

The Paris of Appalachia book.


In three words, why do you love Pittsburgh?

Well “cookie table’” and “parking chair’’ already have me at four words so that won’t work. Let’s go with characters, rivers and hills.


How can people find out more about you?

The best way to know more is to read the book, and here’s what’s been said by some people who have done that. https://www.goodreads.com/en/book/show/6868002-the-paris-of-appalachia


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