Bio — Pierette Simpson | Author, Speaker, Voyager …Survivor of the Andrea Doria

Pierette Simpson as a young girl

Pierette Simpson


In 1956, Piera Domenica Burzio and her grandparents left their village of Pranzalito, near Torino, Italy, to begin a new life in America. They made their journey on the last voyage of the Andrea Doria. The family settled in Detroit, where Pierette attended Wayne State University. Later she did graduate work in France.

Pierette pursued her love of foreign languages by teaching all levels of French and Spanish in the Farmington Public Schools and Detroit Country Day Schools.

For many years, Pierette played the violin and performed with several local symphony orchestras and chamber groups. She also has traveled extensively to foreign lands, with an annual trek to Italy, where half of her family resides.

The Author and Speaker:

In her chronicle, ALIVE ON THE ANDREA DORIA! THE GREATEST SEA RESCUE IN HISTORY, Pierette becomes the first woman to publish an all-inclusive book about one’s  shipwreck, recounting both the human and scientist aspects of the Andrea Doria-Stockholm collision and sinking of the Italian luxury liner. Her publication also garnered the title “award-winning and best-selling author.” Moreover, Pierette has become the first shipwreck survivor to collaborate with a naval architect in writing a complete technical report of the account.

The author speaks to varied audiences about the human and scientific aspects of the Andrea Doria-Stockholm shipwreck, and her gratitude for life lessons learned from her personal experience.

As an authority on her shipwreck, Pierette has appeared on American and Italian documentaries and newsmagazine features inspired by her books. She is interviewed frequently on radio, cable, podcasts, and for periodicals.

In Italy, the prestigious publishing house of Sperling & Kupfer published her book as L’ULTIMA NOTTE DELL’ ANDREA DORIA.

Current Involvement:

>> Writing a young adult novel about the Andrea Doria to inspire awareness in marine sciences.
>> Serving on the steering committee for the First International Marine Forensics Symposium in D.C., 2012.   Also, serving as co-organizer of the Student Program.
>> Preparing presentations for the Marine Forensics symposium:

  • “The Loss of the Andrea Doria”, a technical paper co-authored with William Garzke, chairman of marine forensics for the Society of Naval Architects and Marine Engineers.
  • The new young adult novel the to be launched in the spring of 2012

>> Collaborating with marine scientists and divers in the field of marine forensics and archeology
>> Collaborating with maritime museums and exhibitors to create exhibits based on shipwreck artifacts and other memorabilia
>> Publishing a monthly newsletter, SOS: Survival on Our Seas
>> Publishing a blog, SOS: Survival on Our Seas
>> Continuing the Andrea Doria legacy by speaking about her experiences to national audiences
>> Continuing her mission to be the gatekeeper of Andrea Doria survivor stories.


  • “Thank God I survived the Andrea Doria shipwreck”, short story for the Thank God I… Stories of Inspiration book series
  • “Andrea Doria”, as short story in The Titanic Diaries (UK)
  • THE MOMENT IT ALL CHANGED, short story of transformation
  • Articles for periodicals


  • Alive on the Andrea Doria received Honorable Mention from the New England Book Festival and the Hollywood Book Festivals for the print and audio versions respectively.
  • has rated Pierette as a best-selling author in three categories: maritime science, ships and shipwrecks, and admiralty law.
  • Appointed member of the Marine Forensics Committee of the Society of Naval Architects and Marine Engineers.
  • Nominated for honorary membership to the Society of Naval Architects And Marine Engineers (pending).
  • Michigan Foreign Language Teacher of the Year (1994-95) by the Michigan Foreign Language Association.
  • Induction in the Farmington Public Schools Teachers’ Hall of Fame.
  • “The Collegian Award” from her alma mater, Wayne State University.
  • “Piemontese Protagonista”, from Pierette’s native Italian region for her leadership and patriotism.

For additional information, contact the author via her website: or

Phone: 248-349-8557