William Finnegan: Barbarian Days: A Surfing Life | Los Angeles Public Library

All library facilities will be closed Monday, March 26, for César Chávez Day.

Print this page

William Finnegan: Barbarian Days: A Surfing Life

In conversation with author David Rensin
Thursday, May 19, 2016
Episode Summary


New Yorker writer William Finnegan leads a counter life as an excessively compulsive surfer. In his deeply lyrical self-portrait Barbarian Days, Finnegan chronicles his lifelong adventures from a young man chasing waves all over the world to becoming a distinguished writer and war reporter. Part coming-of-age story, part thriller, part cultural study, Finnegan’s vivid memoir explores the gradual mastering of a little understood art. Join Finnegan as he returns to the Pacific coast to discuss his revelatory pursuit of the perfect wave with David Rensin, author of ALL FOR A FEW PERFECT WAVES: The Audacious Life and Legend of Rebel Surfer Miki Dora.
Click here for photos from the program. 

Participant(s) Bio


William Finnegan is the author of Cold New World, A Complicated War, Dateline Soweto, and Crossing the Line. He has twice been a National Magazine Award finalist and has won numerous journalism awards, including two Overseas Press Club awards since 2009. A staff writer at the New Yorker since 1987, he lives in Manhattan.

David Rensin has written or co-written 17 books, seven of them NY Times bestsellers. They include All for a Few Perfect Waves, an oral/narrative biography of rebel surfing icon Miki Dora; The Mailroom, an oral history of what it’s like to start at the bottom dreaming of the top in Hollywood; and Devil at My Heels, the autobiography of WWII/Olympian Louis Zamperini. He lives and surfs in Ventura, California.