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Steve Luxenberg


Steve Luxenberg

Steve Luxenberg is an associate editor at The Washington Post and an award-winning author. During his 40 years as a newspaper editor and reporter, Steve has overseen reporting that has earned many national honors, including two Pulitzer Prizes.

His new nonfiction book is SEPARATE: The Story of Plessy v. Ferguson, and America’s Journey from Slavery to Segregation. As a work in progress, SEPARATE won the 2016 J. Anthony Lukas Award for excellence in nonfiction writing.

The prize jury said, “Steve Luxenberg’s interwoven narrative takes the story in a new direction, providing illuminating answers to fundamental questions...a rich, complex and all too human story, replete with ironies and unintended consequences. This is ‘big history,’ deeply researched and well told.”

His first book was the critically acclaimed ANNIE'S GHOSTS: A Journey into a Family Secret, honored as a Michigan Notable Book and selected as the 2013-2014 Great Michigan Read. During that year, ANNIE'S GHOSTS was the focus of a state-wide series of events and discussions. It was featured on NPR’s "All Things Considered" and on the "Diane Rehm Show." Other media coverage included articles or reviews in Parade, The Washington Post, The Baltimore Sun, The Detroit Free Press, The Detroit News, the Buffalo News and many others.

Kirkus Reviews praised ANNIE'S GHOSTS as “beautifully complex, raw, and revealing.” Noted biographer Walter Isaacson described it as “a gripping detective story and a haunting will leave you breathless.” Bestselling author Melissa Fay Greene called Steve a “gifted storyteller in possession of the full arsenal of journalistic tools.”

Steve also has a TV “credit.” Look carefully, and you’ll see him as an extra in the fifth and final season of HBO’s dramatic series, “The Wire,” which aired in 2008. (Hint: Episode three.)

A frequent speaker, Steve has given talks and participated in conversations about his books, journalism and nonfiction writing at conferences, universities and book festivals, and has made occasional guest appearances on radio and television. After the publication of ANNIE'S GHOSTS, Steve was chosen to deliver the 2010 Horace W. Davenport lecture at the University of Michigan. He was also the keynote speaker at the following events: the National Alliance on Mental Illness’s annual Washington gala “Unmasking Mental Illness”; the annual meeting of the Fellows in Mental Health Journalism at the Carter Center in Atlanta; and the Issues on Aging conference at Wayne State University.

His talks about his research methods have become popular among audiences at genealogy and family history conferences.

Steve’s journalistic career began at The Baltimore Sun, where he worked for 11 years. He joined The Post in 1985 as deputy editor of the investigative/special projects staff, headed by assistant managing editor Bob Woodward. In 1991, Steve succeeded Woodward as head of the investigative staff. From 1996 to 2006, Steve was the editor of The Post’s Sunday Outlook section, which publishes original reporting and provocative commentary on a broad spectrum of political, historical and cultural issues.

In his current role as a Post associate editor focusing on special projects, Steve supervised investigative stories on the causes and consequences of the financial crisis that unfolded in 2008. One of those projects, on the rise and fall of insurance giant AIG, was a 2009 Pulitzer Prize finalist.

Steve is a graduate of Harvard College. He grew up in Detroit, where ANNIE'S GHOSTS primarily takes place. He and his wife, Mary Jo Kirschman, a former school librarian, live in Baltimore. They have two grown children, Josh and Jill.

Steve Luxenberg

Books by Steve Luxenberg

by Steve Luxenberg - History, Nonfiction

Award-winning author Steve Luxenberg draws from letters, diaries and archival collections to tell the story of Plessy v. Ferguson through the eyes of the people caught up in the case.