Michael Austin’s writing has appeared in some of the country’s most prestigious consumer magazines and literary journals, including Esquire, GQ, Puerto del Sol, Outside, The Madison Review, Printers Row Journal and the Chicago Tribune Magazine. His poem “Hancock O’Hare” was included in City of the Big Shoulders: An Anthology of Chicago Poetry (University of Iowa Press). A national James Beard Award finalist for magazine feature writing, he is a former nationally syndicated columnist for the Chicago Tribune. He collaborated with Oprah Winfrey's personal chef, Art Smith, on the cooking and lifestyle book Back to the Family, which won the Special Award of the Jury at the Gourmand World Cookbook Awards in Beijing; and with Bay Area cardiologist and New York Times best-selling author Dr. Dean Ornish on The Spectrum. For the Chicago Public Schools, Austin co-authored The Chicago Guide for Teaching and Learning in the Arts. He also has edited and contributed to travel guides published by Frommer's, Fodor's and Time Out.
In addition to being a writer, Austin is a musician and a faculty member of Chicago's esteemed Old Town School of Folk Music, where he teaches bodhran, the Irish traditional drum. He has been a featured performer at several major music festivals, including the Ennis Traditional Music Festival in County Clare, Ireland; Celtic Fest Chicago; Taste of Chicago and Milwaukee Irish Fest. He has recorded and performed in venues large and small--from cozy pubs to Chicago's Orchestra Hall at Symphony Center--with some of the world’s most renowned Irish musicians, including Liz Carroll, Laurence Nugent, Maurice Lennon (Stockton's Wing), Deirdre Scanlan (Solas), John Williams (Solas), Jimmy Keane (Green Field of America, Bohola), Dennis Cahill (Hayes & Cahill), Kathleen Keane (Gaelic Storm), Liz Knowles (Riverdance), and Carlos Nunez, "the 7th Chieftain." A founding member of the Irish traditional band The Boils, he is a two-time finalist in the senior bodhran competition of the Fleadh Cheoil na hÉireann, and a former adjudicator of the Midwest Fleadh Cheoil. He is single and lives in Chicago.