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Jason Schoonover—writer, adventurer, expedition leader, ethnologist, archaeologist, paleontologist, geologist, canoeist, naturalist, photographer and Fellow Emeritus, Stefansson Medalist, Citation of Merit awardee, and on the Honor Roll of The Explorers Club—was brought up on farms, villages and towns in Saskatchewan, Canada, and cities like Saskatoon and Vancouver. This explains why he feels equally at home canoeing in the remote north of his homeland, one of his passions, and living in mega-cities like Bangkok.
Following university (Simon Fraser, English and History, 1970, Vancouver), he launched a multi-media career as a disk jockey, and expanded into writing, directing and producing in radio, TV, stage, newspapers and magazines, including stints as a columnist. His largest stage production was writing, directing and producing Prime Minister John Diefenbaker’s 80th birthday party gala in 1975, an extravaganza involving over 300 performers and personnel. He founded Schoonover Properties and invested everything in Saskatoon real estate. Since 1977, he’s been gainfully unemployed and began traveling in earnest.
On his first solo around the world, stringing travel as a photo-journalist to Canadian and U.S. dailies, he discovered a new and fascinating career in Asia—anthropological collecting for museums internationally. He moved to Bangkok in 1982. This exciting lifestyle led to the publication in 1988 of his first adventure novel, The Bangkok Collection, which became the Bantam international paperback bestseller Thai Gold the following year. All his books, fiction and non-fiction, are in the adventure field.
He’s been Team Leader on over 40 expeditions, including several 18-member dinosaur bone hunting forays in Alberta with renowned paleontologist Phil Currie as his Field Leader—which resulted in a major find; explored Asian jungles and the Himalaya piecing together ethnographic collections for museums; excavated caves in Thailand for Paleolithic finds resulting in the building of a museum; fixed the opening episode for Les Survivorman Stroud’s Beyond Survival in Sri Lanka; led numerous canoe expeditions with Capt. Norm Baker, Thor Heyerdahl’s First Mate on the Ra voyages across the Atlantic, as his own First Mate; and explored Thailand’s abandoned WW-II River Kwai Death Railway with Sir Rodney Beattie. He’s also been charged by a bull elephant, dived on shipwrecks and been around the world several times.
He was profiled in Jerry’s Hopkins’ Bangkok Babylon: The Real-Life Exploits of Bangkok’s Legendary Expatriates is often Stranger than Fiction, and featured in Jim McCormick and Maryann Karinch’s Business Lessons from the Edge: Learn How Extreme Athletes Use Intelligent Risk Taking to Succeed in Business.
Jason splits his year between Thailand and Canada. You can guess which seasons he spends where. His consort, the Imperial Dragon Lady Madame Su Hattori, has kindly been enduring the unendurable since 1988.
“A major writer of the Southeast Asian scene.” Bangkok POST
“Jason Schoonover is among a small handful of authors who inspired me to become a writer.” Jack DuBrul, co-author with Clive Cussler of six novels and of his own Philip Mercer series.