Author of eight nonfiction books, Richard Schweid was born in Nashville, Tennessee in 1946, and has lived in Barcelona, Spain since 1991. His parents owned bookstores, and books and writing have always been an integral part of his life. In 1968 he travelled abroad for the first time, participating in the May 1968 street actions in Paris. Later, he went to live on the Balearic island of Formentera, and spent three years there while Francisco Franco was still alive and tyrannizing Spain.

During the 1970s, driving a taxicab was his principal occupation, in both Boston and Portland, Oregon. He returned to Formentera in 1979, and in 1981 came back to the States and took a job at the Tennessean in Nashville, where he worked as a staff writer until 1991. He moved to Barcelona where he worked for a decade as a stringer for Associated Press, and in 1996 he co-founded a free monthly city magazine in English, Barcelona Metropolitan.

During his time in Barcelona, he also produced and/or reported more than twenty documentaries for public television. Among them was the Oscar nominated feature-length documentary, Balseros, and another named the best European documentary of 2004 about maquiladoras, or duty-free industrial zones in Latin America and Morocco.