Eric Swanson trained as a classical singer from an early age. He was one of the first recipients of the prestigious Allen Award, presented by the Rochester Philharmonic League to promising male vocalists. Eric worked as a professional actor for more than fifteen years, appearing on Broadway in the world premiere of La Bête and in the acclaimed Circle in the Square production of You Never Can Tell, starring Uta Hagen and Philip Bosco. Off-Broadway and regionally, Eric has performed at Manhattan Theatre Club, Theatre for a New Audience, Yale Repertory Theatre, Long Wharf Theatre, Hartford Stage, Berkeley Repertory Theatre, The Repertory Theatre of St. Louis, and Cleveland Play House. Tours include The Lion in Winter starring George Peppard. Film credits include Under Heat, starring Lee Grant, and Edie and Pen with Stockard Channing and Scott Glen. He also appeared on television in the PBS miniseries Concealed Enemies and the acclaimed public television children’s series Ghostwriter.
Eric began his career as a writer in 1990 with the publication of his first novel, The Greenhouse Effect, followed by several non-fiction books about animals, which were published by St. Martin’s Press and Andrews McMeel Publishing. His second novel, The Boy in the Lake, was a New York Times Book Review New and Noteworthy novel. After formally adopting Buddhism in 1995, Eric was commissioned by His Eminence Tai Situ Rinpoche to co-author a history of the Karma Kagyu Lineage of Tibetan Buddhism: Karmapa, The Sacred Prophecy (1999). His second book on Buddhism, What the Lotus Said (St. Martin’s Press, 2002) is a graphic description of his journey to Tibet as a member of a volunteer team that developed schools and medical clinics in rural areas occupied predominantly by nomadic populations. Eric co-authored The New York Times bestseller The Joy of Living: Unlocking the Secret and Science of Happiness (Harmony Books, 2007) with world-renowned Buddhist teacher Yongey Mingyur Rinpoche, a practical exploration of Tibetan Buddhist philosophy and practices, and its follow-up edition, Joyful Wisdom: Embracing Change and Finding Freedom (Harmony Books, 2009). His most recent book, Open Heart, Open Mind: Awakening the Power of Essence Love (Harmony Books, 2012) was co-written with Tsoknyi Rinpoche, a Tibetan Buddhist meditation master, and was named one of the best Buddhist Books by Buddhadharma Quarterly in 2012.
Eric has recently turned to writing for theatre. He co-authored the lyrics for Songs for Then and Now with Jane Kosminsky with composer Marianna Rosett, which was released on CD and for download online. Eric graduated magna cum laude from Yale College with a B.A. in Theater Studies and attended the Drama Division of The Juilliard School.