|Name Michael Maren|
Spouse Dani Shapiro (m. 1997)
|Movies A Short History of Decay|
|Books The Road to Hell, The land and people of Kenya|
Similar People Dani Shapiro, Linda Lavin, Harris Yulin, Benjamin King, Kathleen Rose Perkins
Michael maren on competition in the charity sector
Michael Maren (born November 15, 1955) spent his twenties and thirties as a foreign correspondent based in Africa, writing for The Village Voice, Newsweek, The Nation, The New Republic, Harper's, GQ, The New York Times Magazine, among others. His book, about his experiences in Somalia, The Road to Hell, was called "the seminal critique of foreign aid" by The New Yorker. He grew up in Andover, Massachusetts and graduated from Northfield Mt. Hermon in 1973. As an undergraduate he attended Hartwick College in Oneonta, NY.
Maren joined the Peace Corps after college and served for two years teaching at a secondary school in rural Kenya. He then spent a year with Catholic Relief Services in Kenya where he ran the organization's food-for-work program. In 1981, he worked for the United States Agency for International Development (USAID)in Somalia, serving as a food assessment specialist on the Somali border with Ethiopia.
Maren returned to the US in 1982 and attended Columbia University's School of International and Public Affairs, earning a master's degree in 1984. At the same time he worked for the now discontinued Africa Report Magazine as an assistant editor.
Maren published articles about Africa in The Nation, The New York Times, Harpers, the Village Voice, and other publications. His work centered on war and famine and the culpability of aid organizations. He was highly critical of journalists who took their world view of Africa from aid organizations. As he wrote in Harper's magazine,Because reporters are as dependent on aid organizations as the organizations are on them. It would have been impossible, for example, for the press to cover Somalia without the assistance of PVOs. There's no Hertz counter at the Mogadishu airport, and no road maps available at gas stations. If a journalist arrives in Africa from Europe or the United States and needs to get to the interior of the country, PVOs are the only ticket. journalists sleep and eat with PVO workers. When they want history and facts and figures, they turn to the PVOs. 
Since 1999, Maren worked as a screenwriter, writing scripts for HBO, Sony Pictures, Phoenix, and working with actors such as Chris Tucker and Reese Witherspoon.
Maren's film based on his own original script, which he also produced, "A Short History of Decay", marks his directorial debut. Shooting was completed in Wilmington, North Carolina in October, 2012 and New York City in November, 2012. The film stars Bryan Greenberg, Emmanuelle Chriqui, Linda Lavin, Harris Yulin, Kathleen Rose Perkins and Benjamin King. The film was released theatrically in May 2014.
He is married to writer Dani Shapiro and they have one child.