Peter Catapano was born in Brooklyn, NY. After college he studied graduate creative writing at Brooklyn College with fiction writer Jonathan Baumbach and poetry with Allen Ginsberg. He was an adjunct writing instructor at Brooklyn College and has taught Philosophy and the Media with the philosopher Simon Critchley at The New School’s Eugene Lang College of Liberal Arts, and A Course for Aspiring Philosophers at The School of the New York Times in 2017. He appears frequently as a speaker and guest lecturer at schools and universities to share his insights on writing, editing and the media landscape.
Catapano began his career at The Times as an assistant to The Times Editorial Board in 1998. He became a copy editor in 2000 for The New York Times News Service and joined the Opinion section as an editor in 2005, where he began developing projects specifically for the web. Since then, Catapano has created and edited some of the most popular New York Times online series — The Stone (on philosophy), Anxiety (worry and mental health), Happy Days (contentment), Menagerie (animals), Home Fires (veteran voices) and Disability (voices of authors with disabilities) — some of which helped launch the careers of several writers. He received a Publisher’s Award in 2008 for his work in pioneering the online series.
Catapano has edited and published roughly 1,500 pieces in The Times, where he has worked directly with both beginners and highly accomplished thinkers and writers. These include Arthur Danto, E.O. Wilson, Errol Morris, Alan Gurganis, Annette Gordon-Reed, Frans de Waal, Peter Singer, Simon Critchley, Thomas Nagel, Laszlo Krasznahorkai, Pico Iyer, Brian Turner, Phil Klay, Roy Scranton, Steven Pinker, Siri Hustvedt and Oliver Sacks. In 2015, Catapano was asked by Dr. Sacks to edit his final essays in The Times chronicling his illness and death, which were later collected in “Gratitude” — now a best-selling book by Knopf.
The Stone, the philosophy series established by Catapano and the philosopher Simon Critchley, was the longest-running online series in Opinion (2010-2021). It attracted millions of readers each year and won numerous Best Philosophical Op-Ed awards during its run. The series has also resulted in three anthologies published by Liveright Books: “The Stone Reader: Modern Philosophy in 133 Arguments,” “Modern Ethics in 77 Arguments” and the forthcoming “Question Everything.” The series has helped bring philosophical thought back into the national conversation. In addition, his groundbreaking Disability series (2016-2020) was the first platform in the mainstream media by and about people with disabilities. That series also resulted in a book, “About Us: Essays from the Disability Series of the New York Times.”
Catapano has also written and published more than a dozen essays in various publications, including The Times, Salon, Killing the Buddha and The Los Angeles Review of Books. He lives in Manhattan with his wife, the poet Joanna Sit.
- B.A., History, Cornell University