Who am I?

I woke up to discover that my first book had been reviewed in The Wall ST Journal in print and online!

I am a successful freelance science, technology, aviation and history journalist and author based in Oxford, UK, and whose first book, the critically acclaimed N-4 DOWN: The Hunt for the Arctic Airship Italia, was published by Custom House now Mariner Books/HarperCollins in August 2021.  Actor Matt Jamie narrates the excellent audiobook. The Italian edition is due to be published in 2023 by Corbaccio, an imprint of one of Italy’s largest publishers. The Russian rights have just been sold to Alpina non-fiction, the leading Russian popular science publisher. My monthly N-4 DOWN newsletter full of exclusive subscriber only content from the N-4 DOWN universe has been well received by fans of the book, shows high engagement and is growing in subscriber numbers.

My journalism appears in publications like  BBC Future, The Smithsonian’s Air and Space magazine, The Guardian, the i paper/IndependentWired, and The Economist. I also write about publishing for outlets such as the New York based, and Frankfurt Book Fair owned, Publishing Perspectives and now The Bookseller.

Some of the latest examples of my journalism include

  • Remote Controlled: In the unforgiving Antarctic, drones are revolutionizing exploration and science for The Smithsonian’s Air and Space Magazine which comes from a series of the interviews I conducted with scientists-explorers who fly drones in Antarctica. It covers four doubles pages of the magazine.
  • The giant hangar poised for an aviation revolution for BBC Future that included exclusive content.
  • The epic attempts to power planes with hydrogen for BBC Future was described as “science writing as its best.” 
  • The aircraft that will never fly on Earth for BBC Future on how drones will revolutionize the exploration of other planets, including exclusive interviews with NASA scientists.
  • My first piece for the Smithsonian’s Air and Space Magazine: Across the channel in a Nazi Helicopter, which covered four double pages of the magazine and included new research from German archives and today’s engineers’ views of Nazi technology.

Over the last year I have been a guest on over 10 podcasts and radio shows in America, Australia, Ireland, and the United Kingdom to talk about my book N-4 DOWN and to promote my journalism. These include ABC Radio’s Nightlife, ABC Radio’s Future Tense, BBC RadioCBS Eye on the World with John BatchelorComfortable Spot Podcast, the award winning Get Lost Podcast, and Kansas Public Radio.

I love speaking at and moderating events, and these include a Zoom lecture for The Explorer’s Club, New York, on N-4 DOWN: the search for the Arctic airship Italia, two further talks in Oxford about N-4 DOWN, interviewing leading British edtech entrepreneur George Burgess, live on stage at the Frankfurt Book Fair for Publishing Perspective, chairing a panel discussion for Byte the Book on New Writing: What Opportunities Are There For Authors On Today’s Platforms?, chairing a panel discussion for Byte the Book on Machine Thinking: How is AI impacting the creative industries.

I am currently working on feature articles for BBC Future, The Smithsonian’s Air and Space magazine, and the British Council. I am about to start work on two narrative history scripts for award winning – and highly regarded – podcast production company Noiser’s Great Dictator series narrated by Paul McGann. I will be talking virtually at The New York Club on March 20 about N-4 DOWN and LIVE at the Royal Greenwich Museums on June 13 on Amundsen’s death. I will appear shortly on The Hipstorians podcast talking about my book N-4 DOWN.

The final edit of my new book proposal is with my agent Erin Cox at Rob Weisbach Creative Management and is due to be submitted to publishers shortly.

I have a passion for aviation, history, innovation, and exploration. I have explored Britain’s Area 51, searched for lost World War Two airfields in the New Forest, found the last surviving Nazi helicopter, and flown drones inside a fusion reactor, a world first. I have been driven by an autonomous car, flown in Britain’s flying laboratory, gone underground at CERN, and dug up the skeletons of gladiators in a lost Roman city in Spain. For my first first book, N-4 DOWN: The Hunt for the Arctic Airship Italia, I traveled to frozen Svalbard and the Arctic Circle, found forgotten manuscripts in an overlooked archive in Tromsø, and tracked one of the last people still alive who knew Umberto Nobile, the protagonist, down to a Copenhagen.

If you want to contact me, my email is mpiesing at gmail.com.

I am @MarkPiesing on Twitter. DM me.

You can also message me on LinkedIn.


  1. Dear Mark, I’ve just read your article “Inside the Classroom of the Future” on Publishing Perspectives. It was very interesting and I would like to invite you to write in our academic blog “Waiting for an echo” (from Universidad Cooperativa de Colombia Press) a short article about what you call “hybrid textbooks” to delve a bit more into it, if possible. We would appreciate it if you could send us your email address where we can send you the Guidelines to publish in our blog: http://esperandoeleco.ucc.edu.co/en/. Looking forward to your reply.

  2. Mark, Hi. I enjoyed your article ‘Fuel of the Future’ in Tuesday’s ‘i’ (20.12.2016) – about Biofuels as a possible, if controversial, replacement for aircraft fuels. Since then I read some of your other pieces with interest – while looking for your email address – this is as close as I could get. Good luck with your popular tech book – I was recently at Radical Technology Revisited – 40th anniversary of a book by the editors of Undercurrents magazine. In their review of 40 years they mentioned that they had failed to predict solar photovoltaics – and they had predicted the hydrogen economy but it had not yet materialised. Fair game – at the time a solar PV roof might have cost quarter of a million pounds, while I bought a 3 bedroom flat in London in 1976 for £14,000. And a hydrogen economy requires cheap solar energy. The convergence of these is best described in John Bockris’s visionary 1975 book ‘Energy, the Solar Hydrogen Alternative’. He foresees a time when low surplus cost solar electricity will be used to make cheap hydrogen, and that – inter alia – this will replace ‘natural gas’ (methane) for winter heat. And it becomes an aircraft fuel – the biggest thing is that hydrogen has three times the energy density of aircraft fuel – extending range and payloads while eliminating pollution. He proposes a slurry of liquid / solid hydrogen stored in the wings, and as it evaporates it can cool the wings, allowing faster speeds (including supersonic) with cheaper wings (aluminium vs. titanium). The development of composites and aerogels (super insulators) would make all this more feasible and likely. Biofuels for aircraft are a first step to sustainable air travel – but messy for all the reasons you give. Hydrogen requires new designs, by may be the answer in the long haul.

  3. Dan Akroyd did a film on the Arrow fighter. i thought it was fictional until I saw your article. The US aircraft industry has a hand in the cancellation. But why destroy the prototypes, the blue prints, etc? the destruction of knowledge may be one of the worst things we do.

  4. Nice article on the Avro Arrow. You must be a closet Canadian or serious aerospace buff. Hard to say if Dan Aykroyd’s portrayal of Crawford Gordon was accurate. He was portrayed as being very closely allied with the Liberal government of the day. My take is that if Gordon had done a bit of ass kissing & told Diefenbaker history would remember him as visionary & patriot, yada, yada, it might have gone the other way. Had we not given our resources away for the last 150 years, we might even have been able to afford it.

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