“Napoli’s engaging, keenly observed, and informative chronicle captures Bhutan mid-metamorphosis as it transforms itself into a democracy and as media and the Internet redefine the Bhutanese concept of contentment.”
“The author’s authentic voice and . . . cultural insights make for a refreshingly uplifting book. . . . Ex-journalist Napoli’s search for wholeness and spiritual renewal . . . ably avoids the first-person trap of self-absorption through memorable depictions of the people and places in her narrative.”
When Los Angeles–based public radio journalist Lisa Napoli found herself unhappy with her work in the fast-paced media world, a chance encounter led her to a tiny Himalayan kingdom half a world away, where she volunteered to help launch the country’s first youth-oriented radio station. In Radio Shangri-La: What I Learned in Bhutan, the Happiest Kingdom on Earth (on sale February 8), Lisa explains how her journey gave her much more than unprecedented access to a culture largely unknown to Westerners, ultimately proving to be personally transformative.
Lisa found Bhutan to be the kind of magical place she didn’t think existed anymore; shielded from the world, most Bhutanese are subsistence farmers who’ve never even seen an airplane, much less flown on one; television and Internet have only been allowed into the country for a decade now. But after a century of monarchy, Bhutan’s beloved king abdicated the throne and declared a transition to democracy; the creation of a free press was seen as an essential tool.
In an interview, Lisa can discuss:
• Her conflicting feelings about helping to bring the modern media world to a country that measures its success in terms of “Gross National Happiness” rather than in GDP
• The extensive changes that have occurred in Bhutan in the last few years, and if the country is better or worse for those changes
• The profound midlife crisis that motivated Lisa’s journey, and how the experience led to insights that have radically changed her outlook
• Some of her greatest experiences in Bhutan, and her ongoing commitment to help the Bhutanese
• Bhutan’s unique charms, including the colorful dress worn by the locals; the profusion of phalluses as decoration (to ward off envy!); and the Bhutanese love of spicy food
• The resistance the Bhutanese have to their country becoming a democracy, and how the transition is going thus far
Lisa will be touring nationwide; her schedule of events is enclosed. I look forward to speaking with you about an interview or review.