Chip Brown was born in New York City and grew up in Old Greenwich, Connecticut. He graduated in 1976 from Hampshire College in Amherst, Massachusetts, where he studied biochemistry and literature.
A portion of his thesis on nature writing was published in the now defunct outdoor magazine Mountain Gazette. In 1977 he was employed as a writer in Washington D.C. for the Living Wilderness magazine, then moved to Alaska where he worked as the managing editor of the Homer Alaska News from 1978 to 1979.
From 1979 to 1985 he was a staff writer with the Washington Post, assigned variously to the Metro section, the Investigative desk and the Style section. In 1985 he moved to New York, and began a magazine freelance career. He has written for over forty national magazines, among them the New York Times Magazine, The New Yorker, Harper’s, Outside, Vanity Fair, Men’s Journal, Vogue, GQ, Conde Nast Traveler, Smithsonian and National Geographic Adventure.
He is a former contributing editor of Esquire, a correspondent for Outside, a contributing editor of Men’s Journal, a contributing writer for the New York Times Magazine and a contributing editor of National Geographic. He has won many journalism awards including the Pannell Kerr Forester Award in 1984 for financial writing, the 1992 Lowell Thomas award for travel writing, and the 1989 National Magazine Award for feature writing. He was also nominated as a National Magazine Award finalist in feature writing in 1990 and 1994.
His articles have been anthologized in “Out of the Noosphere” (1994), “The Best of Outside” (1997), “Wild Stories: The Best of Men’s Journal” (2002), “Paris Observed” (2002), “Esquire’s Big Book of Great Writing” (2003), “Best Food Writing” (2006), “Best American Sports Writing” (2008), “The New Age Adventure: National Geographic Adventure” (2009), He contributed a long article “Fear.com” to The Project for the State of the American Newspaper series which has been collected in “Breach of Faith, volume 2.” He is the author of two nonfiction books, “Afterwards, You’re a Genius: Faith, Medicine and the Metaphysics of Healing” (1998) and “Good Morning Midnight: Life and Death in the Wild” (2003) – both published by Riverhead Books.
He lives in New York City with his wife the writer & editor Kate Betts. They have two children, Oliver and India.